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The End of the Dr. Demento Show On Radio 206

Posted by kdawson
from the aka-barret-eugene-hansen dept.
damnbunni writes "Dr. Demento has announced that his long-running comedy radio show will be ending (except weekly in and around Amarillo, TX). Modern 'format' radio has been less and less friendly to oddball and offbeat programming, and after years of declining station membership the Doctor announced on June 6 that his radio show will be no more. He will still stream weekly shows on Saturday from his website, drdemento.com. While I'm sad to see the show go, nearly 40 years is a good run."
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The End of the Dr. Demento Show On Radio

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  • by spqr0a1 (1504087) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:30AM (#32493706)

    It's sad to see it go. The show that helped so many of the musicians that geeks love make it big.

    How will we get our entertainment in the future? I think the net will let shows like Dr. Demento thrive.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @07:50AM (#32494296)

      http://www.irememberjfk.com/mt/2009/11/dr_demento.php [irememberjfk.com]

      He's a legend, radio will miss him.

      "Star Trekking, across the universe..."

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by idiotnot (302133)

        Nice write-up.

        I agree he'll be missed, but, really, he hasn't been around for most stations since he left WW1. Music radio today doesn't even begin to resemble music radio in 1990. By the late 80s, most music stations didn't have network affiliations, much less run regular programming. The AOR formats of the 70s put a nail into that, as well as shows like Dr. Demento's. The stations who still do have significant network ties are overwhelmingly news/talk outlets. Why put on Dr. Demento when you can run

        • by markhb (11721)

          Yes, losing his contract with radio's largest syndicator (WW1... is there anyone else left?) didn't help. When I was in high school (early 80's), the good Doctor was largely on AOR stations (at least where I was), typically late Sunday nights.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by idiotnot (302133)

            WW1 was the big dog for a long time, but much of their reach was through the CBS and Mutual (how's that name for a blast from the past?) radio affiliates. Many of the music stations don't have any network connections at all these days. Many of the shorter network features that stations used to buy sat equipment for now come via mp3. Why spend #20k setting up a dish and a receiver, when you can just download all the history of rock morning prep clips over the internets? Pretty simple economics, unfortuna

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @09:27AM (#32495028) Homepage Journal

      At least we can hear him on Saturdays. He hasn't been on the radio anywhere I've been for years; hooray, internet!

      If it wasn't for Dr. Demento, nobody would have ever heard of Wierd Al. IMO some of Al's older stuff, like the polka versions of Rolling Stones songs, were his best; the stuff he taped at home and mailed to Dr. Demento.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Creepy (93888)

        The pop stations near me played Weird Al and he was a massive hit on MTV (/me remembers music on MTV...) but if you meant Weird Al wouldn't have done what he did without Dr Demento, then I agree - in fact, I believe the live show where Another One Rides the Bus was largely his breakthrough (he had minor hits before that - My Bologna and such) and he was inspired by the show.

        The live and demo recordings were fun, too - in fact, the demo version of Happy Birthday recorded on Dr Demento is FAR better than the

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          you meant Weird Al wouldn't have done what he did without Dr Demento, then I agree

          Yes, that's what I meant.

  • Ahh, the memories. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aeternitas827 (1256210) * on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:32AM (#32493722)
    When I was younger, it was always a privilege to catch a bit of the Dr. Demento show on the radio...usually on a car trip home from somewhere...usually wasn't up late enough, and/or listening to a local station that carried it. I don't think now that there's a local station here that does, though I've long given up on FM Radio. I'll remember what I can fondly, yet, I'll remain more pissed that Adam Corolla left Loveline shortly after I left high school--he made that show funnier than anything.
    • by Goffee71 (628501)
      I lived in the U.K. as a kid, but discovered him playing before baseball or football games (late night for us) on a, rather weak, AFRTS radio station (broadcasting from Belgium or Frankfurt, I think) - made me wonder if all Americans were that off the wall. Thought the power of the Internet would keep him going, but hey-ho - let's go!
    • by Clovis42 (1229086)
      You should check out the Adam Corolla podcast.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I grew up on Dr D in the 70s and even saw a live version in the 80s. Heartbreaking that it's fading into the sunset and that the current generation won't know the Dr. When I was growing up the big things on radio were the top 40 show and Dr Demento. While he had a show the truly twisted had a home. Without shows like his it's hard for such things to stand out. These days there's entertainment overkill. Unless it's a Youtube hit the odds are you'll never hear about it. Shows like Dr Demento gave a forum for

    • by cgenman (325138)

      When I grew up in the 80's and 90's the only way to listen to Dr Demento was on tape and later CD. By that time, no stations in my area were carrying him. It was all radio stations playing the major label's push-of-the-week.

      The landscape changed. It used to be that the only place to find weird, unexpected, fun acts was Dr Demento. Now some kid in Texas can make a flash video [eviltrailmix.com] and suddenly [albinoblacksheep.com] the world [albinoblacksheep.com] shows up at their inbox [youtube.com]. Youtube, Digg, and even Facebook feeds all aggregate the offbeat for us.

      I'm sad t

  • by Cragen (697038) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:50AM (#32493802)
    Lovely little fish heads! The only place that song EVER got played. Perhaps "They're coming to take him away. ha-ha. ho-ho. hee-hee..."
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by billsayswow (1681722)
      Actually, funny enough, they played that song on BBC 6Music about a week or two ago. Oh wait, they're probably closing that station too... Be right back, I have some weeping to do.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by brunes69 (86786)
        They used to play the video for that on Much Music in Canada all the time, so I guess you could say it was basically main-stream up here. Back on topic, I am unsure why everyone is so upset. He is continuing the show online, which may make it more popular than ever before, and have much more of an impact. Things go viral online now, not based on radio shows. Any good act he promotes has the potential to be twittered / facebooked / dugg ad-infinitum within minutes.
        • They used to play the video for that on Much Music in Canada all the time, so I guess you could say it was basically main-stream up here.

          You're forgetting one thing: Back then Much wasn't the rigidly-programmed corporate hellhole it is now. VJs were allowed all kinds of freedom, and the station was run by people who knew how to have fun. That's how Moses Znaimer wanted it. Remember: They let Weird Al completely take over the station on 3 occasions.

          Then CHUM's influence grew, Moses was forced out, it got som

    • by GrahamCox (741991) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @06:24AM (#32493942) Homepage
      The only place that song EVER got played

      Not quite true. It was played occasionally on Anne Nightingale's Radio 1 request show (1980s, Radio 1, UK, Sunday evenings) which in itself was a national institution, and where I first heard the song. It now has a permanent place in my iTunes collection as a result (along with Kristina's version of "Is That All There Is?" and "Win a Night Out With A Well-Known Paranoiac" by Barry Andrews).
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Delusion_ (56114)

        I can trump that. I saw the video for it on MTV. You see, long ago, MTV used to play "music videos" which were kind of like little movies for songs. Now, they play reality TV shows like every other station, having been instrumental in popularizing the format.

    • by Yaur (1069446)
      I remember seeing it on you can't do that on television back in the day.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pikoro (844299)
      don't forget... deaaaaaaad puppieeeeeeeeeees... deaaaaaad puppieeeeeeeeeesss. dead puppies aren't much fun.....
      • by sconeu (64226)

        [sadness]

        Dead radio shows...
        Dead radio shows...
        Dead radio shows... aren't much fun

    • The problem is, that song is pretty much the pinnacle of Dr. Demento. The rest of his music, sadly, just wasn't that good. It was like watching a sitcom written by fourth graders instead of highly skilled television professionals. Like, you could tell where the jokes were supposed to be funny but they just weren't.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        WOLLLLLF CRICK PASSSSSWAY UP ON THE GREAT DIVIDE
        TRUCKINNNNN ON DOWNNNNNN THE OTHER SIDE

        I could not disagree with you more. There was a ton of great stuff played on Dr. Demento.

        Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!Lameness filater encountered. Post aborted!Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!Lfameness filter a. Posdt aborteddLameness filter encountered. Post aborted!Lamadeness filter encountered. Post abhorted!Ldam

    • by NekSnappa (803141)
      I remember when he played Frank Zappa's "Titties & Beer" unedited.
      Alas someone complained and it became "Bleepies & Beer."
    • by richlv (778496)

      ooooooooooooh. napoleon xiv reference :)
      neato. personally, i really like the "I'm In Love With My Little Red Tricycle". oh, and "nuts on my family tree". oh, and "The Place Where the Nuts Hunt the Squirrels".

      i've never heard dr demento (ex-ussr, no chance), but i know that napoleon xiv appeared on demento record releases, so thanks for popularising that :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      That was probably the only show that played Captain Beefheart, but "they're coming to take me away" was actually a pretty big hit when I was a kid in the early sixties. I had the 45, the B side hade the song played backwards.

      Oh, for the youngsters here, a 45 was a 45 rpm vinyl record that was slightly larger than a CD and would hold six or seven minutes worth of music per side at most. Most were two to three minutes per side. Usually but not always the A side had the song that you heard on the radio.

    • by bwcarty (660606)

      The Kids Place Live channel on Sirius/XM plays it every so often, too. My wife will leave it on that channel even after dropping our son off at school because they play more unique/entertaining stuff there than on other stations.

    • by puto (533470)
      They played that song on college radio stations. I heard in Tulane's station WTUL all the time. Plus the Video was shown on Night Flight in the states, probably every weekend night for 5 years.
    • by Kiaser Zohsay (20134) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @10:59AM (#32496038)

      Just thinking about it gives me the Existential Blues [www.last.fm].

  • by VValdo (10446) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:52AM (#32493822)

    I listened to him on every Sunday,
    The Funny Five and music skits,
    But now that his show is all finished,
    I can't help but feeling like
    Shaving cream, be nice and clean
    Shave every day and you'll always look keen!

    Thanks Dr. D!

    W

    • by wwphx (225607)
      This is FUNNY, not insightful. The song Shaving Cream was one of the songs that was a mainstay when I listened as a kid in the 70's, though personally I preferred the original and not the version that The Doctor re-recorded. Speaking of which, Barry's the original Doctor as far as I'm concerned, I was listening to him long before some Timelord came over from England.

      My big problem with the show was finding stations that broadcast it. I don't know if it was ever listed, but even his web site didn't lis
  • by Macrat (638047)
    What is this "radio" you speak of?
  • Formative years... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kr3m3Puff (413047) * <me.kitsonkelly@com> on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @07:08AM (#32494120) Homepage Journal

    When I read this today, a was quite saddened. For whatever reason, I identified with Dr. Demento. I remember listening to him when I was 10/11/12. It appealed to me and helped me form my identity today. It wasn't like I was introduced to it, it was patently "un-cool", but the show and the music struck a chord with me. I understood it and I understood there were obviously other people out there who thought like me and were interested in the same things. Call it "geeky" or "nerdy" if you wish, but it was uniquely me in a way that few people around me could even begin to understand. A friend at a time I didn't have any.

  • Sigh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Eternal Vigilance (573501) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @07:16AM (#32494144)
    Another one rides the bus.
    • by sconeu (64226)

      Alas... It's no longer time for number ooonnne! That was it, here it (no longer) comes... NUMBER ONE!!!

    • by Imagix (695350)

      Another one rides the bus.

      Wrong artist... that's Weird Al.

  • Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @07:23AM (#32494182)

    Reading through his website announcements there is like a timeline of and old school radio guy dying. I'm not going to pretend I'm a big Demento fan, but still kind of sad. We're closing up, we're losing money. We got only 100 orders for a last ditch money making idea. We're clearly being hurt by the decline of CD sales. We can't fill orders because we're working with Yahoo Small Business for some reason.

    Just out of curiosity, why the hell is going online/podcast a last-last ditch effort for this guy? He's got a name recognition that would draw people in, and the format would seem to work well for podcasting. At the very least a podcast could drive people to his website and help him sell a few CD's/tshirts. I get he's an old school guy and up until recently still had a terrestrial broadcast to do, but you'd think someone would have come to them at some point and suggested this.

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @09:40AM (#32495202)

      Just out of curiosity, why the hell is going online/podcast a last-last ditch effort for this guy? He's got a name recognition that would draw people in, and the format would seem to work well for podcasting. At the very least a podcast could drive people to his website and help him sell a few CD's/tshirts. I get he's an old school guy and up until recently still had a terrestrial broadcast to do, but you'd think someone would have come to them at some point and suggested this.

      Radio is a wasteland. Honestly, I didn't even know he was still on the air. I never got to hear him locally.

      There are so many weird and wonderful new things online. Just look at all the stuff that's being produced, from song parodies to music video parodies to fan films and the like. The impetus never went away, it's just not channeled through his show. As a case in point, MST3K. Had a great run, died a horrible death on the Skiffy Channel. Resurrected in the form of Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax. They both seem to be making money doing what they're doing. I just get a kick out of hearing Tom Servo's voice riffing on new, crappy movies. I only wish Trace was working on that project, too. Mike I could do without -- I'm still hoping Joel comes back. (Give it up, man. Yeah, I know.)

      All that being said, I agree with the other poster -- Demento has huge name recognition. He should be able to get enormous traffic with it. Look at what the Onion's done with their online presence. And they seem to be making money -- at the very least they haven't closed up shop yet.

      • by jayhawk88 (160512)

        There are so many weird and wonderful new things online. Just look at all the stuff that's being produced, from song parodies to music video parodies to fan films and the like. The impetus never went away, it's just not channeled through his show. As a case in point, MST3K. Had a great run, died a horrible death on the Skiffy Channel. Resurrected in the form of Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax. They both seem to be making money doing what they're doing. I just get a kick out of hearing Tom Servo's voice riffi

    • by geekoid (135745)

      He is old school media. He thinks that way, and he is reacting that way.

      The fact that he doesn't cornball radio doesn't mean he is avant guard in accepting new media paradigm.

      Yes, he should have been doing this for years, but is seems to me being entrenched in the old ways killed him.

  • by Myopic (18616)

    I've never heard the Dr Demento show. Did it have advertisements? or was it listener supported?

  • Guess this is the most appropriate response to a radio host dropping off the air, particularly one as famous as Dr. Demento.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwuy4hHO3YQ [youtube.com]

  • I didn't know it was still on, but that's mostly because I don't know what's on radio anymore except for the morning news station. I guess I'll just go out back and eat worms.

  • No freebies - you pay $2 per show, or buy a membership and get access to everything.

  • by GRW (63655)
    I am surprised to learn that the show was still running. I haven't heard it for 25 years or so.
  • doesn't get it.

    2 bucks a show for 32 kbps?

    Podcast it, sell ads. There are companies now the specialize in doing just that, and company have opened their doors to advertising on podcasts. 2 bucks a show ir a rip off.

    Don't get me wrong, I used to listen to his show all the time. In fact I had 8 track tapes of weird AL that I recorded off the air.

  • It's too bad that this oasis of unusuality is leaving the airwaves. I listened religiously to the Doctor from around 1973 to about 1980. After that time, it was harder to set aside the time to listen every week and I gradually lost interest.
    I did see a live Doctor Demento show sometime around 1977, when he came to my college and played some records from his vast collection that couldn't be played on the radio. I suppose that's one advantage of Internet broadcasting -- fewer restrictions on obscenity.

  • if he went back to his original format. On Sunday night I used to listen from 6 to 10 on KMET.

    Back then he wouldn't just play wacky crap--at the time he claimed to have the largest music collection in the world and would play cuts from the 1920's, old jazz, and various bizarre stuff. I remember "My big 10 inch" long before Steven Tyler recorded it.

    It also wasn't the same stuff over and over. The top 20 (I think it was 20 or 25 at the time, or was it always top 10?) rotated frequently and once a song got

  • KACV is the student-run radio station for Amarillo College. Frankly, it's one of the best college radio stations in the country. Now that ClearChannel/Cirrus own all the other radio stations, it's one of the best period.

    http://kacvfm.org/ [kacvfm.org]

    Yeah, it's got some 'Dead air... uhm.... .... .... Dead air...' due to the student DJing and announcing, but has otherwise excellent programming, including new release and jazz shows. It's also got some of the nicest, most competent staff I've ever had the privilege to meet

  • Kinko, Kinko, the kid-loving clown
    if the kids just love me back I'll never wear a frown
    Kinko, Kinko, the kid loving clown
    if the kids just love me back I'll never wear a frown!!!

    Kinko's in his Kinko car, pockets full of change
    lots of dirty pictures and sticky candy canes.
    All the kids love Kinko for the presents that they get
    silly leather clothes to wear and happy cigarettes.

    -Hi boys and girls, my name is Kinko the clown!!!
    -Hi Kinko!!!
    -And I really love you boys and girls!!!
    Really, really....
    -Aw
  • With the Good Doctor taking a bow, my former home state will be left to the not so tender mercies of that sinkhole of mediocrity and self congratulatory comedy, http://www.bobandtom.com./ [www.bobandtom.com] I weep for the future.

"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." -- Mark Twain

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