"Radio Dave” Milberg is a “disc jockey-at-law,” combining concurrent careers as a broadcaster and as an attorney.
In addition to being “R.D. the D.J.” on Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll, he also is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Florida. He is a co-author of the two volume tome “Answer Songs,” available at Amazon.com.
Radio Dave is all about radio stations and rock & roll. It’s a life-long passion that began in Detroit in the late 1950s. As a little kid, his ear was glued to the legendary Motor City radio stations of the day,. And when he could scrape together a few coins, they were spent at the stores along Woodward Avenue that sold 45s that had been played in juke boxes for the amazing (even way back then) price of just 5¢ each. He daydreamed about playing and telling stories about those tunes on the radio. A few years later as a teenager, that dream became a reality. More than 50 years later, he continues to live that dream to this very day.
“Call-Letters” Since 1965:
WPAG-AM & FM/Ann Arbor
Radio Dave’s Music Collection (“Groove Yard”) & WDAM Radio
Radio Dave’s massive “groove yard” has virtually every song worth having (at least in his opinion). This “tunage” is housed at WDAM Radio – 500/AM & 86.1/FM (“America’s Greatest Imaginary Station”) that he created in 1991.
At WDAM Radio, Radio Dave devotes his time to accumulating and archiving vast discographies on more than 200 subject areas, including subjects covered on Rare & Scratchy Rock 'N Roll -- see our Musicology page.
Ken Deutsch is a former disc jockey, mostly at top-40 rocker WOHO(AM) in Toledo, Ohio in the 1970s. After discovering his voice wasn’t all that hot he next tried his hand at producing and directing children’s TV at the public station in the same town, WGTE(TV). That was another experiment that didn’t quite work out long-term.
Ken finally found his calling in 1977, writing and producing jingles, of all things! At that point he formed his own recording company, Ken R. LLC, which for the first time allowed him to taste success. His clients eventually included United Airlines, Pizza Hut, hundreds of car dealers, malls and radio stations all over the world.
In 2005, burnout caused him to sell his studio after 28 years and cast about for something else to do with his life. That is when he began a second (or third or fourth) career as a closed caption typist, working online from home. With specialized software he was able to type 150 words per minute and thus help deaf and hard of hearing high school and college students in all 50 states. Ken stuck with this job for 14 years.
Ken Deutsch is now fully-retired with the exception of his three part-time jobs: co-producing "Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘n Roll," mentoring young people as they learn to become closed-caption typists, and writing articles for "Radio World," which he has done for 36 years.
In the early 2000s Ken wrote four books, three of which were about the radio industry, and one was a humorous work about growing up in a small suburb of Chicago in the 1950s. These are all available, along with dozens of his "Radio World" articles, in one giant yet unbelievably inexpensive E-Book. This can be found here: http://jinglesamplers.com/bbb.htm. Please buy lots!
Deutsch and his wife live in sunny Sarasota year ‘round, which Ken says is far better than freezing his noogies shoveling snow much of the year in his previous state of residence, Ohio. Ken’s goal for the future is to try to stop talking about himself in the third person.
The newest addition to our Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll family is Mr. Announcer, who lost his birth name in an unfortunate childhood accident involving a stray cat and a Waring blender.
From an early age he knew he wanted to talk to people over the radio, but he didn’t know quite how to go about it. He thought he had to talk into something, so he tried out his voice on various appliances around the house such as a toaster and a microwave oven, neither of which brought him success.
It was several years later when he was watching the film, “American Graffiti” that he beheld famed DJ Wolfman Jack speaking into a microphone at a radio station. “Ah hah!” he thought. “So that’s how it works.”
At age 15, Mr. Announcer (as he refers to himself now) contacted local radio station WIMP(AM) in his home town of Sheboygan, Michigan. The station was only 200 watts, and it played nothing but easy listening music 24 hours a day, but he applied for a job anyway. The general manager was desperate to find someone, anyone, to fill the all-night slot, so Mr. Announcer was hired.
It was a humble beginning, but from there his career took off like a rocket! To Ishpeming, Saugatuck, then Climax and Hell, Michigan, and finally he landed in a major market – Kalamazoo. From there, Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll picked him up, and we consider ourselves lucky to get such a talent for our podcast.
The “original” Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll was a three-hour weekly show that eventually was syndicated on more than 135 radio stations across the United States from 1983 to 1985. It entertained listeners with “the oldies that time forgot, but maybe you remember.” Inspired by his 1968 Soundscope series on WRIF-FM in Detroit, “Radio Dave” Milberg began collaborations with two other veteran broadcasting buddies – “Ken R.” Deutsch and Al Mitchell. The would create a syndicated radio show that would provide an alternative to the mainstream “oldies” stations of the day that for the most part played the same few hundred songs over and over and over ad nauseam. And that begat Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll.
It was designed to complement rather than compete with the myriad other “long-form” syndicated radio shows of the day that radio stations commonly aired to fill out their weekend schedules, such as American Top 40 (with Casey Kasem), Dick Clark’s Rock, Roll & Remember, and Gary Owens. Soundtrack Of The Sixties, among many others.
Milberg wrote the scripts, chose the music, and ran the “business side” of the enterprise. Al Mitchell voiced it and handled affiliate station relations. Deutsch produced it and assembled all the pieces. Given the technology of the day, each show required a combined 50 hours or more each week to create. Then there were the six reels of audio tape for each program, multiplied by 135 stations and further multiplied by the need to ship them to stations weeks in advance – a logistical, costly, and time-consuming adventure to say the least.
How it all ended (at least for 30 years) + New Technology And The “New” Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll Podcast Series
Critically acclaimed, heard nationwide, and popular with listeners (Al Mitchell even was tapped to be guest substitute for Casey Kasem on American Top 40), "Rare & Scratchy Rock 'N Roll" was not able to generate the necessary advertising support to sustain it. Meanwhile, its creators all had great “day jobs” – (Milberg was running a public television station, Deutsch owned a successful jingle production house, and Mitchell became a widely-sought commercial voice for radio and television commercials) – so Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll became a “blast from the past." But, as it turns out, not permanently.
Fast-forward more than thirty years later to 2015. New and inexpensive digital production technology, the Internet, and an ever-expanding/evolving content delivery system – podcasting – meant that anyone and anywhere could create their own mass communication medium at any time for not many dollars.
Meanwhile, Milberg’s vast music archive (a/k/a “groove yard”) and his wealth of “stories behind the songs” inspired his son Josh (a high-ranking strategy, innovation, and technology executive at a multi-national corporation) to urge him to create his own podcast. Then, Milberg’s wife Linda Beth, Josh and his wife Nikki, and Deutsch and his wife Linda Sue, co-conspired to design and purchase a “broadcast quality” equipment set up to attach to his computer. The stage was set for Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of radio history to a re-birth as a podcast.
So, with the active support of Milberg’s family, the friendship and partnership with Deutsch, and the blessings and encouragement of Mitchell, preparations began for the new Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll in 2015.
Here’s a fun fact: Each episode of Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll ll" takes more than 50 hours to put together! And if each podcast is between 40 and 90 minutes, well you can do the math. (I sure don’t want to do the math!) In simple terms, here is our basic production flow, a process that involves several shows at once in various stages of production.
Choosing Program Themes
Radio Dave usually originates the show concepts, as each podcast has a unifying theme. However, suggestions frequently come from listeners around the world as well as our spouses, families and friends. Occasionally I’ll even contribute an idea!
Once "RD The DJ" has the idea for a show, he searches his music archives looking for the perfect records and stories to fit the topic. He owns hundreds of thousands of albums, singles, CDs and electronic files from which to choose, and he also has an extensive collection of books about music. Often he finds that information supplied by a source is inaccurate so he has to double-check every item to make sure that what goes into the final script is factual. (He’s also a "recovering" lawyer and former law school professor, so go figure!) Our crack staff of assistants, interns and hangers-on assist him in our modest, yet palatial basement penthouse offices.
From that point a script is written by Radio Dave, and he then sends it back to me to look over and make suggestions, some of which he actually uses. He also sends me WAV files of any music we need that is technically less than perfect. I own audio editing software (Izotope RX-6) that can remove scratches, clicks, pops and background noise from vinyl recordings. The name of our show is Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll , but in truth, we want every song we play to sound as good as possible. I should mention that both Radio Dave and I have fully equipped recording and production studios at our homes that located on opposite sides of Sarasota, Florida, where we and our spousettes currently reside. Thank goodness for the Internet which allows us to slide audio and scripts back and forth in cyberspace as we collaborate on each show.
Recording the Show
Now it’s time to give voices to our scripts, which we do separately in each of our own home studios. And Mr. Announcer records his voice track at his secret location somewhere in the U.S.
Of course when anyone voices a script, there are good takes (which are kept) and bad takes (which are edited out). Then I process the good takes make sure the voices are a consistent level throughout the show. I also remove clicks and pops (like when someone says a “P” or a “B” sound too close to the mic). I then send the processed voice tracks back to Radio Dave, who performs further tightening to remove "breath and mouth noises" for a cleaner and more concise presentation. Then Radio Dave adds the music montages, sound effects and jingles in the right spots.
Launching Each Show into Cyberspace
Even after all these steps we’re not through yet. When the full show is assembled it comes back to me one more time for any final tweaks. These could include making sure that each song clip sounds as loud in the left channel as the right, de-clicking a few additional records or any one of a number of other steps to get the show up our standards.
The final step is getting the show ready for the Internet in downloadable form. We first convert it from a WAV file to a 320 Kbps bit rate MP3, and then ultimately to a 128 Kbps bit rate MP3. But that’s still not all.
Each program must be encoded with “ID3” tags (metadata) which adds the title and detailed description to each show. These tags also add the Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll logo graphic and various other information that podcast directories require. Next, each program is uploaded to the Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll page at our RSS (really simple syndication) provider, Libsyn: rareandscratchyrocknrol.libsyn.com, so that it can be transmitted to the podcast directories that feature our show. This requires filling out additional information for Libsyn and adding the graphic logo again, a process that is similar to the “ID3” tagging mentioned above.
At last the show is good to go and the schedule for the RSS release worldwide is set. As Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll continues to evolve we have adopted a schedule of uploading a new show on the 1st and 15th of every month.
But there's more (did you expect less?). On the day that each episode goes "live," we also update our web site, as well as post alerts on the Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll Facebook page and dozens of Facebook music, radio, and related special interest groups to which we belong.
We're Playin’ What You’re Sayin’
Our show has now completed its journey from a few rough ideas scratched on notepads to a final show ready for downloading. We appreciate all our listeners and love to hear from you! You can e-mail us your comments, suggestions, lavish praise, and even criticisms (be gentle). Just visit the CONTACT US page on our web site.