Colons, Crows and Crawling Charleys

By: Bruce Layman
By: Bruce Layman

Bruce's Saturday morning once again starts off on the wrong foot.

Colons.  Crows.  Crawling Charleys.  Vitamin C. 

What do these have in common?  Beside the somewhat strange coincidence that they all start with the letter "C"?

Each was being discussed on an AM radio channel as I once again frantically spun the dial around to find something - ANYTHING - to listen to as I made the transition from the work-week to the work-weekend.

So why am I still listening to AM radio in the 21st Century anyway?  I find it really relaxing when trying to fall asleep at night.  There's nothing like a monotone voice to knock you out.  And, since I fall asleep listening to AM radio, I naturally wake up listening to AM radio.

Something, though, is mighty strange with AM radio around Parkersburg at night.  I can't pick up any local stations at all unless I'm in my car, which isn't the best place to sleep during the winter months.  Perhaps all my walls are shielded with copper or lead.  

So I have to rely on far away stations to lull me to sleep that operate on so-called "clear-channel frequencies."  KMOX in St. Louis comes in great and is just a notch away from WBT in Charlotte.  WRVA in Richmond comes in like a blowtorch.  WCBS in New York usually is pretty good, with WLS in Chicago just a notch lower on the band.  And WSB in Atlanta comes in on a "good night."   Why these stations aren't blocked by the same mystery forces that block my local AM stations ten miles down the road is beyond me.

But when it comes to Saturday morning, Sunday morning and Sunday night programming, the entire country east of the Mississippi - no matter how big the city - seems to be an AM radio wasteland.  At least, based on the signals that manage to make it through the mystery shielding into my bedroom.

For example:  I woke up this morning to a "major" radio station in a "major" city running an infomercial with a quack doctor talking about the benefits of cleaning out one's colon with his new potion.  

How could this POSSIBLY have an audience in a major city - no matter what the time slot?

So I switched to another stand-by station from far, far away.  Suddenly, I'm in the midst of a conversation between a caller and a hunting "expert" on why people don't hunt more CROWS!  Both the caller and the hunting expert agreed that "occasionally" shooting at a crow perched atop a tree using a .22 calibre rifle probably could improve one's overall aim.  And you guessed it, the next caller up actually had a relative who had eaten the "breast of crow" before - and said it WAS very tasty.    

Next channel down the band.  A person is answering questions about plants.

A little old lady called in and asked how to deal with "Crawling Charleys" in the winter.   "Crawling Charleys?"  Sounds like a reference out of a Vietnam War movie!  I did a Google search and could not verify that a plant called a "Crawling Charley" even existed - noth even theoretically in a science lab.  But the host evidently was very well aware of this most obscure plant and answered all the questions you'd ever have... except, perhaps, what the heck a Crawling Charley was.

Before just bagging it, I tried one more clear-channel frequency station.  Surely, a station serving a million-plus population would HAVE to be airing something even mildly interesting - even on a Saturday morning.  And the answer is:

"Do you know that taking mega-doses of vitamin C is the key to living to be 100 years old???"

I can't wait until Monday night!  At least I can be assured CoasttoCoastAM is on somwehere and I can catch up on Bigfoot sightings and alien implants!  Now that's REAL radio for the masses! 
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