Saturday, October 20, 2007
I remember when and where I heard the news: leaving a parking garage in downtown Chicago - with a post-concert high after seeing Todd Rundgren and Utopia.
Punching in Bob Pittman's WKQX, I noticed an odd moment for the station: an apparent live voice sharing some breaking news on the otherwise automated and voice-tracked AOR station.
The voice on the air was Chicago legend Mitch Michaels - telling the city about the tragic news of a plane crash in Mississippi. Then a tearful segue into "Free Bird". The mood for everyone in the car shifting 180° in the course of a few minutes.
I'm reminded of that moment by a couple of radio stations saluting the memory of the band today and that awful night 30 years ago today.
Sharing memories with listeners - both the good and "not-so" - with the abililty to create an emotional bond - is something that makes the classic rock radio format very special.