30 years on, the genesis of Personality Crisis

On Sunday September 14th, Jon recognized the 30 year anniversary of Personality Crisis by talking about how it all got started. I’ve transcribed the story here for posterity.

– Chris

[The following is a literal transcription of Jon’s story, so imagine it spoken out loud …]

We’re going to go back — we were talking a little bit ago about 1980. We’re going to skip ahead a couple of years to 1984. September 16th, 1984.

Jameela M. had done a program called “Solitary Confinement” that she actually took over. It started in 1979 or 1980, somewhere in that period. It was originally on Friday nights, which I missed a lot because I would forget that it was on, and I would be sitting there watching Fridays, and the next thing you know, I’d go, “Oh man, that radio show is on.” And so I’d turn it on, and hear some of it. So it was on Friday evenings for a while and then I don’t know exactly what year, it got switched over to Sunday nights at 10 pm.

When I started working at the radio station [in 1983], I would come down, and hang out with Jameela and Quentin, and Mark Mitchell, and Arthur [Davis], and all the crazy kooks who happened to be around on Sunday night. In the summer of 1984, I specifically remember Jameela coming up to me when Nick Cave played at 688 right at the end of June 1984. She told me that Arthur had basically asked her to quit doing the show. I think, that was as much because she had not been a student in several years, and the general philosophy of this radio station is to have students do radio programs whenever possible.

So I sort of started lobbying for the radio program. And Arthur … I forget how it happened. I submitted a bunch of names to him, possible names for this radio show. And the one that he picked was, “Personality Crisis”. And back on September 16th, 1984, it’s basically 30 years ago tonight, I went on the air for the first time with “Personality Crisis.” I did the first hour, and then Glenn Thrasher and Ellen McGrail came on and did from 11 pm to midnight. That went on for about three weeks.

At that point in time at WREK’s programming we had a punk show called “It Came Without A Warning” — it came on from 8pm to 9pm on Wednesdays. And then from 10pm to 11pm on Wednesdays, we had … I can’t remember if Arthur was calling it “Notes from Underground” at that point in time or not or if it was still “Conceptions”. But Arthur came on from 10pm to 11pm doing his noisy program.

I sort of noted that what Glenn was playing was sort of a cross between the punk show, and the noise show. And we had an hour of gap there, and that [Glenn and Ellen’s show] would fit in better than following what I was doing, to be honest. And so, “Destroy All Music” was born. So 30 years ago tonight, both “Personality Crisis” and a very nascent version of “Destroy all Music” were born at the same time. About a month later, Mike Mitten got permission to do a heavy metal show called “Night Reign” and the precursor to “WREKage” was born.

So three of WREK’s programs started 30 years ago either this month or next month. And this one started 30 years ago tonight. And here we are.

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