Hamburger on the Turntable, or Recurrent Radio Anxiety Dreams

My first job out of college was on the air at 89.7FM WGBH in Boston. Overnights and sometimes on weekends, I played jazz records, read weather reports, station promos and legal IDs, pressed buttons, slid faders, cued satellite feeds, CDs and DATs. I fundraised, urging listeners to do your part, become a member, join the community of listeners who are also supporters of the quality programming you only hear on WGBH by calling 1-888.... Including my time at WESU when in college and the handful of shows I DJ-ed on WFMU (I could not hack the 3am - 6am shift), I was on the air regularly from about 1994 to 2003.

Seven years later, I still have the occasional radio anxiety dream. It's a recurrent nightmare, albeit a mild one. I'm on the air and: I'm locked out of the music library; I can't find my on-air copy to read; I'm stammering, speechless; there's a party in the studio and people won't be quiet when I go on the air.

Last night I dreamed there was a hamburger on the turntable, the needle digging deeper into the sesame seed bun with each rotation, and I was worried the listeners wouldn't be able to hear the records I wanted to play. Every DJ's subconscious anxiety: hamburger on the turntable.