Misty - Oct 12th , 1924 - Dec 27th,
The name sends shivers down the spine of anyone who was ever fortunate enough to listen to her. I'm talking about the legendary DJ, full name Misty Fincher, who broadcast in the Central Texas area for over 60 years.
Misty started DJing when she was 14 years old. She loved and owned the late night. The reason is evident when you listen to her work. She personifies the late night mood. That "in the mist" feeling of driving down the endless super slab in a semi. Or a steam enshrouded train station in the 50s. Close your eyes, listen to Misty and you're transported right back to the 50s. I can imagine myself in a first class sleeper bunk with my TransOceanic's WaveMagnet stuck to the window, listening to Misty as the steam engine pulls my train along. She's that good.
Misty mastered the art of talking to me personally. And to every other listener. It was just us two, with only inches and the radio between us. Hers was DJing at its penultimate best.
Misty had long retired when in 1998, a man named Bill Clement in Lubbock, TX bought a "Kilopopper" (1kw during the day, 200 watts at night) radio station, call sign KDAV. He had made his comfortable living with a salvage yard specializing in '57 Chevy parts. He had always wanted to own a station and when this opportunity presented itself, he grabbed it. He upgraded the transmitter to solid state and the studio, located in the Art District across the street from the Buddy Holly Theater, to digital. His old transmitter can be seen here.
He then took a page out of college radio and opened the studio up to anyone who who wanted to try his hand at DJing. The studio had all the modern digital accoutrements including the hard-drive-based music store but DJs were welcome to bring their own materials.
That was his first stroke of genius. His second was putting KDAV on the internet. Now remember that this was at the tail end of the century when most folks were on dial-up and broadband (which fortunately I had) was 1.4mbps. Suddenly his little Kilopopper became an internationally known station.
This was enough to bring Misty out of retirement and at the age of 75, she went back on the air. KDAV installed an old analog studio just for her. Turntables, tape deck, big chrome microphone on a stand, etc.
Misty has what might be the largest collection of vinyl and shellac in the world, totaling over 15,000 albums. Repeats were rare indeed!
People hanging around the studio in the evening would see this little old lady shuffle in before 9pm, a tight double armed grasp on her albums held against her breast. She'd shuffle into the analog studio, sit down and pure magic would happen! Watching her work was like watching Hank Aaron smack one out of the park - you realize that it just can't be done any better.
Like many professional DJs of the day, Misty had a custom album pressed that contained her background music. She always talked with gentle music in the background and she was a master at selecting the right track to set the mood.
I was lucky enough to meet Misty when I visited my good friend Tony in 2000. I was enthralled. Of course, back in TN I couldn't even start to hear those screaming 200 watts that were beamed west. But I could hear her on the Internet.
I believe that this was streamed out as real audio, but I can't remember for sure. I wrote some custom software to wrap around a capture program called NetTransport and set it all up to come on automatically at 9PM and run to midnight. I converted each show to MP3, edited out most of the commercials, smoothed over the drop-outs (2000, remember!) and started building my collection.
When Misty retired again, I had perhaps a hundred shows on file. Because of a backup program that didn't work (I will forever loathe all forms of tape backup!) and a couple of hard drive crashes, I lost many of them. The shows listed below are what I have left.
I don't think KDAV kept their FCC log tapes so this might be the largest collection in one place of her work.
Enter Antique Radio
I recently renewed my interest in antique radios, particularly AM. AM has a sound that is hard to beat. Not particularly Hi-Fi but just nice. I inherited a collection of pristine radios from the 50s and 60s from my dear late Uncle Johnny. The newest are transistorized (Zeneth TransOceanic 1000) and so needed nothing but batteries to get working.
I sat down one night and decided to start listening. After hitting the main breaker to kill everything in the house and all the modern EMI, I started dialing around. Gad, what a disappointment. Modern AM radio with its robot stations, crazy preachers and crazier talk radio "hosts" is garbage.
Then I remembered my Misty recordings. I put 'em on a portable MP3 player and plugged its output into an old HeathKit AM signal generator. I tuned up the signal generator on my TransOceanic and.... Golden magic flowed like honey from the speaker. I don't know how long I listened that night 'cuz I drifted off to sleep just like I used to when I was a kid.
Practically simultaneously, I started lurking on the Usenet group rec.antiques.radio+phone. I quickly realized that there were a lot of folks like me who loves the sound of AM but think that modern broadcasts are garbage. Many folks use small AM transmitters such as the "Talking House" device to broadcast their own material around their houses. That still leaves the matter of programming. Not many people want to sit down and program hours and hours of fresh content, much less play announcer.
Therefore I decided to share my treasure with the net via this web page. Please enjoy.
A Few Notes
These recordings are 10 years old, made with the technology of the time and unfortunately, were maimed by having been passed through unRealAudio. They aren't perfect, lacking in bass and somewhat bandwidth limited but they're great for old AM radios or just enjoying from any audio system.
Ideally each file would be passed through a signal processor to roll off some of the highs and pull up some bass.
The numbers in the file names below represent the date the file was recorded.
I have edited out most of the modern commercials but I have left in the ones that Misty read. This is to give you a flavor of how commercials were done before compandering and LOUD OBNOXIOUS ANNOUNCERS and content designed to insult. Please remember, though that these are almost 10 years old and that the numbers or people or products probably are not valid. All are local to Lubbock anyway so they'd be of no interest to anyone outside the area. Enjoy them for the skill Misty brought to the table but don't try phoning in.
KDAV (and here for more history.) is still on the air and the net but unfortunately they've gone to a pay-to-listen format. That is most regrettable. The other DJs are OK but none are in the same league with Misty.
I'm now stuck on dial-up. Each of the files below is large by dial-up standards. I started uploading them on 01/11/09. It is going to take a month or more to get them all uploaded. Those that aren't there simply aren't there and you'll get a 404 error. Therefore please don't send me email telling me that there are broken links on this page. I already know. Think of the 404 links as devices to build your anticipation :-)
I know that everyone who hears one of these files will want them all. Please don't be a hog. My webhosting plan includes unlimited monthly bandwidth but the pipe is only so large. Please don't try to suck them down all at once. One or two a night is reasonable. That'll leave bandwidth for others.
If you use a download manager like "Free Download Manager", you can queue up the whole batch, schedule each one for an appropriate time and forget about them. In a week or two you have 'em.
Finally, please, no email rushing my uploads. Dial-up here in the mountains of Tellico is just a fact of life. I'll get 'em up as fast as I can but no faster.
If you pass along the link to this material, please link to this page and not the individual files. I'm disabled and live on what I make from Google AdSense (those ads to the left.) Each click pays me a few pennies. I need the exposure to everyone who wants to download.
BTW, when you hear Misty do a dedication to "John and Doreen at John G's BBQ", that's me :-)
Misty's Obituary is here. It is an excellent summary of her career.
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