Experience a Century of:
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Experience a Century of:
NAB | NAB Show | Broadcasters
Join the Conversation:
#NAB100 | #NABShow100

Stories and Perspectives

Storybooks and Soundtracks

As a child who immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 10, radio and TV were an important window into American popular culture, entertainment and sports. Not just for me but for countless children in the 80s who moved here from other parts of the world. I can't imagine how much more difficult assimilating into American life would have been if we didn't have free radio and TV.

For all intents and purposes, TV was the storybook of our youth.

I can remember singing along with the intros to Facts of Life, Diff'rent Strokes and Silver Spoons, and timing my Saturday morning just right to have breakfast and camp out on the sofa to watch Saturday morning cartoons

I can distinctly remember our science teacher wheeling in the TV on a snowy January in 1986 so we could watch Christa McAuliffe become the first teacher in space and watching in stunned silence as the space shuttle Challenger exploded on live television.

I remember watching the World Series in 1989 and hearing legendary sportscasters Al Michaels and Tim McCarver's broadcast being interrupted by the San Francisco earthquake.

I remember interviewing WJLA sports anchor Frank Herzog for my high school newspaper and being in awe of the newsroom and studio as he gave me a personal tour. Or hearing the familiar tick-tock, tick-tock and Pat Summerall promoting what's coming up next on 60 Minutes after the late game on fall and winter Sunday afternoons and instantly feeling sad because I finally had to complete the homework assignments I put off for the entire weekend. Talk about Sunday saddies!

And if TV was the storybook of my youth, then radio was undoubtably the soundtrack.

I can still remember sleeping with a radio under my pillow so I could hear the Top 10 at 10 on Q107 since it was a school night. Or sitting in front of the radio to record the newest songs on Casey Kasem's America's Top 40 every weekend, sometimes getting annoyed when he would talk into the song's introduction because it meant I had to record it again.

Or waiting with bated breath on snowy mornings for WTOP to announce that Montgomery County Public Schools would be closed and promptly getting on the phone to coordinate sledding with my friends.

I remember hearing a small band out of Athens, Ga., named R.E.M. on WHFS and it literally changing my musical palette.

I remember exactly where I was when I heard that my basketball hero Len Bias had died and needing to sit in the car, glued to the radio for updates on a dark day for all basketball fans.

There are hundreds of additional fond and not-so-fun memories I can attribute to TV and radio, but alas, I was given a word limit. :-)

– Gagan Nirula | Silver Spring, Md.

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