An Hour with /SCTV/'s Rick Moranis Page 7

Radio Request Line

As a former DJ, do you listen to much radio these days, or do you stick to CDs?Even though I have a lot of CDs, I tend to listen to the radio. All day long, the classical station WQXR in New York City is on in my house. The only problem is commercials, but whaddya gonna do?

Are you familiar with satellite radio? None of their music channels have commercials.Yeah, but I haven't gotten around to it. I like the intimacy of live community radio. The news comes on, the weather comes on, and the business updates are right there.

XM satellite radio, with Sirius soon to follow, is now offering instant traffic and weather updates for cities like Boston and New York.That's good. I actually still like radio. When I was a DJ, AM was still playing Top 40, and radio wasn't as fragmented as it is now. FM was really just starting to come on, and it would evolve into AOR, album-oriented rock. But in those days, they just called it FM radio.

Back in 1976, I had a conversation with a listener that taught me more about listeners and listening habits than anything else I came across in radio. The most requested song was "Stairway to Heaven." And every time I answered the request line, it seemed, the request would always be "Stairway to Heaven." [As a nod to this, Moranis had Catherine O'Hara's character request "Stairway" by videophone in the very first Gerry Todd sketch, in Episode 80.]

One day, I was actually playing it on the radio, and I picked up the request line and said, "CHUM-FM." And the guy on the line said, "Yeah, can you play 'Stairway to Heaven'?"

I said, "I'm playing it."

And he said, "I know. Can you play it again?"

[MM laughs]

I said, "Let me ask you a question. You love 'Stairway to Heaven,' right?"

"Yeah, it's my favorite song."

"And I bet you own a copy of it, don'tcha?" And he said, "Of course I own a copy."

So I said, "Well, why don't you just put it on and listen to it?"

And he said, "Because I want to hear it on the radio."

Now, what else do you have to know? I'm the same way. I like to listen to things on the radio. Maybe it's a way of feeling connected to community, maybe it's a sense that if you're listening to it in your own collection, you're missing something else on the radio. I've never completely figured it out, but I relate to it, and I think a lot of people do, too.