Sunday, December 24, 2017

K.A.C. 2017 - T - 1 ...

    Another year draws to a close at the K.A.C. and as I gather my  wares together and pack up my  shiny baubles and bangles before my well-deserved rest, I'd like to leave you with one final story of the season.

      Earlier on in the K.A.C. (December 8th, to be exact), I told you the first of two stories with a common theme - radio from my youth. My first tale was about my moment of holiday fame with Doctor Demento - my second tale requires a bit of backstory explanation: As previously mentioned, I went to two military schools for eleven of my twelve years of secondary school education - my first school was from First Grade through Ninth Grade, then I graduated and tried public school for a year in Tenth Grade (which was a COMPLETE disaster as I couldn't acclimate to such a different system than the one I had grown up with), so I went back to a different military school for Eleventh and Twelfth Grades. The reason I mention this is so you can understand the importance of radio in my life at this time. To most people, radio is background noise: something you listen to while doing chores in the house or to pass the time in the car while you're driving. To us in school, it was our literal lifeline to the outside world. In my schools, we had almost NO access to television (only in the common area and for VERY limited hours, DEFINITELY not in the barracks), but were allowed a transistor radio. As long as you had headphones, you could listen to the radio after lights out. 

     I was in Eleventh Grade in 1974 and had a powerhouse of a portable radio at the time. Unlike the radio of today, where every station finds some music niche and plays that and nothing else (rock, oldies, country, classical, etc.), the radio of my youth actually had PROGRAMMING. For rock concerts, there was the King Biscuit Flour Hour (see the Wikipedia entry here: ; for comedy, there was the National Lampoon Radio Hour ( featuring a cast who would soon go on to much greater fame as the original stars of television's Saturday Night Live; for mystery and the macabre, there was the CBS Radio Mystery Theater ( (one of my personal favorites, that lasted for YEARS) ... and then there was the ONE show I would never miss, week in and week out, for its amazing flights of imagination - The Oidar Wavelength. It would air at midnight and was so odd I would sometimes wonder if it was real or if I had fallen asleep while listening to the radio and just dreamed it all.

     Like a number of my contemporaries, for many years I would mention this show to people and they would look at me with total blankness. Not only had they never heard of the show, some folks thought the basic premise was SO strange that I was making it up! Equally difficult was the fact that the show was only on for a few years and then disappeared. Here is the basic premise of the show, courtesy of Reverend Dan's Music For Nimrods: 

Sie (Cy) Holliday
   "The premise of the OIDAR Wavelength is that it is/was a musical program from the future, playing oldies from the 20th Century, and somehow, we back in the seventies were/are able to hear the program due to some space/time continuum. In between the (sometimes good, sometimes horribly horribly wretched) musical fodder, a mysterious announcer known only as "Programmer #9" relates twisted news and human interest stories from the future, the programs' present. It's kinda like Philip K. Dick doing American Top 40!"

     And THAT is as good a description of the show as I've ever heard ... and completely accurate! Fast forward to the present and my looking up The Oidar Wavelength on the Internet, as I sporadically do, to see if anything new had surfaced on the show. First, I finally found the true identity of the entrancing "Programmer # 9" - she was really Sie (Cy) Holliday, a radio DJ on KRLA Radio in Los Angeles and one of the very first female radio on-air personalities during the early days of AM rock radio and Top 40 countdowns. 

     Second, the same Reverend Dan had produced a miracle - a link to the Oidar Wavelength Christmas Special, exactly as it aired 43 years ago, on Christmas Eve, 1974, complete with the original commercials, including those for a NEW magazine called Playgirl! Sadly, since originally writing this article, the link to the Christmas Special has been taken down. But I do have another link with the transcription of a typical show along with some audio clips to give you a taste of the strangeness - click here!

      Pay special attention to the 'news flashes' from the future that Programmer # 9 relates - Oh, and last but not least, WHY was it called The Oidar Wavelength? Well, if you haven't figured it out by now, OIDAR is backwards for ... RADIO! 


     Last but not least, before we go, LizzieBelle alerted me to this article from two days ago on Mental Floss ... the topic? The Christmas Books which we BEGAN this year's K.A.C. entries with! It's an interesting, quick read that gives you a bit of the background of each story ... but remember, you read it HERE first!


     As always, thanks for joining me on another trip through the oddest parts of the holiday season. We'll do it all again next year at the beginning of December. Until then, stay well, stay safe and have a happy and healthy holiday season. Farewell! 


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