The production style of Crap From The Past is wholly unique, with an active library of about 300 IDs that break up the two-song sets. This page attaches a little history to those IDs, and to the voices that make them so distinctive.
Back in 1993-4, I worked at Top 40 KRQQ-FM in Tucson. I was part of the morning show team of Mike Elliott and Jimmy Kimmel. Betsy Bruce did the news, and Chris Patyk ("Curly") was the producer. I was the gleeful call-in character of "Mr. Science" and a Thursday morning intern, who pulled music and drove out to get bagels. I was thrilled to be part of such a hip morning show. Naturally, we all got fired.
Mike and Jimmy left town, and I went with Curly to Adult Contemporary KKLD-FM in Tucson. He produced their morning show of Bobby and Brad, and I was again "Mr. Science". Fun, but I was getting the itch to do my own programming again.
I found my way into community-run KXCI-FM in Tucson in the summer of 1994, in the waning days of the KKLD "Mr. Science" character. I became one of the rotating hosts of the "Tough Tulip Audio Revival" on Friday nights, and when I found out that I would be on once a month, I scrambled to put together some IDs so I'd have something to play in the cart decks between songs.
Chris Wilcox was a good friend of Curly's, and worked overnights at KKLD. I knew Chris through Curly, and I knew that he had a tremendous voice. I asked him for clips of his vocals saying a few things that I'd scribbled down on an index card, and a week later, he delivered a cart with four spoken IDs - just what I'd asked for. Here they are (all recorded July 1994):
I dubbed the vocals over some synthy sound effects that I had, and used those four IDs liberally throughout my tenure at KXCI in Tucson, from July 1994 to December 1995.
I finished grad school at the end of December 1995, and knowing that I'd be accepting a job in Rochester, NY, I asked Chris for another set of IDs for my old college radio station, WRUR-FM. (I did all this without contacting the station first; somehow I knew I'd end up back on the air there.) Less than a week before I left town, Chris delivered a small reel of quarter-inch tape with the following spoken IDs on them (all recorded December 1995):
Chris really outdid himself on these. Over the next few months, I dubbed the vocals into a few IDs over some of the same synthy sound effects beds that I'd used in Tucson. Only now, I began to edit everything digitally on a home computer, instead of with a razor blade and splice tape. A vast improvement.
I produced most of the functional WRUR IDs with the help of Marc Spencer, an old WRUR friend that I'd known since my undergrad days at the University of Rochester. He had a program on his home computer that was designed for video editing, but worked just fine for these IDs.
We put everything on carts, and played them profusely during my brief stay in Rochester, from January 1996 to June 1997.
At this point, I moved from Rochester, NY to Minneapolis, and joined community-run KFAI-FM in July 1997. Minneapolis is a big market, and there was quite a waiting list to get a show on the air there. While I was waiting, I volunteered with their production crew and made myself useful.
By 1998, the KFAI website was up and running smoothly, and the nice people who ran it offered to post some Crap From The Past content, even though I didn't have a weekly time slot. So in May 1998, I began producing some weekly 15- or 20-minute segments at home on my computer. I would encode them as RealAudio, then deliver them via a floppy disc to the web team. That ultimately set the maximum length of the segments - they had to fit on a floppy.
For the first and only time in the history of the show, I didn't cut everything live; instead, I pre-cut all the vocals, and pasted them together with the songs. I needed some production bits to insert between the songs, and I recycled what I could from Chris's WRUR ID vocals. Unfortunately, most of the takes had references to WRUR, not KFAI. I would have loved a fresh batch of KFAI ID's from Chris, but I lost touch with him, and was resigned to use what I could salvage from the WRUR batch.
Lucky for me, one of the generic "Rooooooon Boogiemonster Gerber, on Crap From The Past" takes was outstanding, and I decided to use it for everything. I just cut it in half, and tried to put something witty and/or relevant in the middle. It was quite a challenge finding suitable things to put in the IDs, since I wanted to keep the bar set fairly high, and not just dump any old quote into my IDs.
Since I'd been taping all the Simpsons episodes since they signed on in 1990, I used a few Simpsons quotes. And I had a tidy, little collection of American Top 40 shows on record and tape, so I extracted every relevant Casey Kasem quote I could find. The goldmine for me was the July 4, 1979 American Top 40, which was a special countdown of the Top 40 Songs of the Disco Era. Pure gold!
In the years since 1998, I've been scouring the globe for more relevant sound bites, and I now have about 300 IDs at the ready. During the show, it's a challenge to find some of them, because they're not indexed very well, but I can usually find something appropriate.
And about 80% of the IDs still use the original, generic "RBG on CFTP" vocals that Chris cut for me in December 1995. I added some stereo presence to the vocals by doubling them up - over the original vocals, I dubbed a reduced-volume second set, with a delay in one channel and the opposite delay (pre-delay?) in the other.
I know some of you will want to produce your own Crap From The Past IDs, so here are the actual intro and outro that I use as bookends for my IDs:
Note that all the sound bites in the middle are always completely dry, with no effects whatsoever. That provides a nice contrast with the bookends, and the sound bite really stands out.
For your enjoyment, I've put all the IDs that currently reside on KFAI's hard drive system in one convenient place, so you can download/stream any or all of the close to 300 IDs that I regularly use. If you click on either of the "stream" links near the top of the page, then randomize the playing order in your player, you can keep yourself amused for well over a minute!
I produced this in August 1998, back when Crap From The Past was only airing on KFAI's website, before it secured a weekly time slot. I used Cool Edit 96 to piece it together from existing recordings, and I'll leave it to you to figure out where everything came from.
I sent this out to Dr. Demento under the title "The Fool Monty", and it got enough play on his show to finish at #66 for the year 1998.
At the time, I felt like I needed some kind of follow-up or B-side - something else to follow in the same vein as the CFTP theme song. So in August 1998, I grafted the drums from Ministry's "Stigmata" and ELO's "Rock And Roll Is King" onto Vince Guaraldi's beloved "Linus And Lucy".
After six years of nothing, I decided to take a swing at one of the most odious Christmas songs in circulation - Manheim Steamroller's "Deck The Halls". It features the drum track from Naked Eyes' "Always Something There To Remind Me", and a particular sound effect recorded live by my ex-wife. Produced in December, 2004.
I tend not to make all-encompassing show promos very often. Usually, I do one when I get a new time slot, and that's it until the show moves again. I made the Sunday night promos in February, 1999, and the Friday night promo in September, 2002.
In 2007, when KFAI moved its Minneapolis transmitter from the Foshay Tower to the IDS Center, I pieced together the beginning of an old WLOL station ID with a synthy sound effect and my Speak and Spell to make my show intro:
In March, 2008, King Of The Hill had a whimsical aside about theme songs, which I pilfered:
There are other promos for individual shows scattered throughout the archives; I don't have them all gathered up in one place. In particular, the 1996-1997 WRUR shows usually had a show promo embedded somewhere within them, which I would always do live, in one take, straight onto cart.
From 1986-1990, while I was an undergrad at the University Of Rochester, I was at the University's radio station, 640 WRUR-AM and 88.5 WRUR-FM. In addition to on-air shifts, I did a bunch of production work for them. For posterity's sake, I transferred my entire production reel to the digital world, and you can hear it all here. It's not all that great, but the later "Lobotomy" ID's are remembered fondly. Or so I'm told.