It was 1985. Dire Straits was getting their money for nothing, and Aerosmith was doing it with mirrors. 92.3 K-Rock in New York City became a new affiliate of Rockline, a live, weekly, call-in radio show that let the audience interview rock musicians. I thought it was pretty cool. It was Mark Knopfler's 36th birthday, and I was still in high school.
Unfortunately, since the show was live from Los Angeles, it was on late every Monday night on the east coast. Plus, the local station didn't always do a good job of promoting the artists who were coming up that week, and I couldn't stay up late every week just to find out who was going to be on the show. Remember, this was way before social media existed, and the Internet wasn't part of the public conscious. You had radio, TV, newspapers, and magazines. That's it.
However, when I got to college, I was able to listen every week, partly because staying up late was a requirement of being a college student, but mostly because Rockline was one of the few shows that featured current and classic rock artists. During that time, I became quite attached to the show. I even tried calling in when they had Melissa Etheridge, but I failed in the attempt.
It was at this point that I met Tom Calderone. In 1989, I was visiting 103.9 WRCN in Riverhead, and he was on his way out to... um... drive the prize van to a local mall. Yes, this is what he was doing, before he moved on to 92.7 WDRE, and became the host of Modern Rock Live. He certainly paid his dues, didn't he?
In 1990, I graduated from college and moved on to graduate school. It was there I discovered the Internet, and learned how to use email and Usenet (basically, network-wide discussion groups). The interface was command-line and text-only, but I thought it was a great way to communicate, collaborate, and share information (and to meet girls, but I digress). On Usenet, there were many music oriented discussion groups. People would talk about their favorite bands, and post news and rumors. There were some groups that had to do with radio and radio shows, but nobody was really posting about Rockline, unless a really big name was going to be on that week. I still had to rely on the local affiliate for that information (which was hit or miss, but a little more hit than miss).
A couple of years later, I was out of school, and found a mailing list where people posted about upcoming live radio performances, such as concerts and interviews. One guy was posting about upcoming guests on Modern Rock Live, but nobody was posting about Rockline. Both shows often had live performances in the studio. Since I was listening to Rockline weekly anyway, I started posting upcoming guest lists there. I also kept track of their affiliate list as well, simply from listening to the show. Mailing list members would ask me what station had the show, and I'd send the list. Sometimes I'd trade tapes of shows. It was fun posting on Tuesday what was just announced the previous night.