True music variety! The way radio was meant to be!
Dr. Rock loves music and radio so much that he has made a weekly trip from Omaha, NE, to KZUM in Lincoln, NE. This is a 60-mile trip, each way, to volunteer his time to host KZUM's "Dr. Rock & the Medicine Show." It's true music variety, the way radio was meant to be!
Dr. Rock was born September 15, 1961. He grew up in the small, northeast Nebraska town of Pilger.
He was an introverted little boy, so he found it difficult to really connect with people. Therefore, he tended to read a lot, watch a lot of TV (probably more than was healthy), and listen to a lot of radio.
Growing up in the 60s and 70s, he was naturally influenced by what was then considered to be top 40 radio, and is now considered to be classic rock. Not surprisingly, he has a special bond with that kind of music, but certainly doesn't limit his tastes to just classic rock, or even the music of the 60s and 70s.
He was also heavily influenced by a particular TV show that debuted on the CBS television network on September 18, 1978. That show was "WKRP in Cincinnati."
One thing that really grabbed Dr. Rock's attention was the fact that "WKRP in Cincinnati" used the real music being heard on the radio at that time. While that is common practice today, it was very rare back then. TV almost always used cheesy covers of popular music back in the 70s, but "WKRP in Cincinnati" used the real thing. (Sadly, due to increased royalty fees, DVD releases and rebroadcasts no longer use the original music.)
Another thing was that, despite the fact that this was a comedy, the characters had an authenticity and believability about them. Years later, the Dr. learned that the series and characters were actually based upon a real radio station and it's real staff.
Regrettably, the Dr. let booze, drugs, and other poor choices begin to rule his life as time went on. This was most likely a reaction to his difficulty in connecting with people and the resulting loneliness and frustration that can result. This took him down a long, dark path that caused nothing but misery and pain; not only for him, but for his entire family and all of his friends.
As usual, there were consequences for taking this path. Those consequences, rightfully so, were quite severe and harsh.
Unlike all too many people, though, the Dr. chose to take a new path at this point, rather than scheme and plot new ways to travel the same path he was on.
He reached out to Jesus Christ, God and Creator of the Universe. To his surprise, Jesus was standing close by just waiting for him to wake up and reach out. Jesus took his hand, pulled him close, and held him in a loving embrace. Jesus then began to show him a better way.
Of course, the Dr. is still human. Like any child, he isn't perfect. He doesn't make the right choices 100% of the time. But, he has been clean and sober for for more than 20 years. Just being clean and sober, in and of itself, makes it easier to make better decisions.
In the early 90s, the Dr. lived in Lincoln, Nebraska for a few years. It was then that he discovered Community Radio KZUM-FM 89.3. He almost instantly fell in love with this odd little station because it not only broke the mold corporate radio uses, KZUM completely shattered it.
KZUM's program director doesn't program the music on the shows airing on the station. The volunteer programmers do, and that really appealed to Dr. Rock.
At that time, though, the Dr. was still working through some of the aforementioned consequences, and was not able to get involved at that time. It wasn't until early to mid 2003 that he was in a position to be able to help.
By then, however, the Dr. was living 60 miles away in Omaha. With no similar stations in the Omaha area, though, he contacted KZUM and started asking questions and showing an interest in doing a show.
On September 22, 2003, the Dr. got a call from KZUM's program director asking if he was still interested in doing a show on KZUM, and if he could start with a 3-6 am Sunday morning show starting the upcoming weekend.
Dr. Rock's immediate response was "Yes!" He drove down to Lincoln that day, paid for and became a member of Community Radio KZUM (all programmers must be members of public radio KZUM), and signed up to do a weekly show.
For the next two years, Dr. Rock drove to Lincoln every Sunday morning to do his 3-6 am show, and was only absent for one show (after falling, in his own home, and breaking his ankle in three places.
Surgery was required to repair the ankle, and he was released from the hospital on a Saturday morning. Due to the powerful pain meds prescribed, the doctor put him under strict orders not to drive on the interstate after dark. This was a wise choice, because the meds made it impossible for Dr. Rock to stay awake for more than about 15-20 minutes at a time, and it takes about an hour to drive to Lincoln. That would not have been a healthy combination).
After filling the 3-6 am slot on Sunday mornings for about 2 years, the 12-3 am slot ahead of his current time slot opened up, and he was offered the slot. Naturally, he was more than happy to do so.
The following spring, after KZUM had trouble finding reliable volunteers for the old slot, Dr. Rock offered to extend his show by an hour, leaving KZUM with only two hours to fill. Sadly, KZUM had trouble finding reliable volunteers for that slot, too. One even called in sick on the very first week he was to have started his new show, and Dr. Rock filled in that week. He was allowed to keep the extra two hours.
As of today, Dr. Rock is still doing his weekly show on KZUM from 12-6 am Saturday nights/Sunday mornings, he programs a station on Live365, is dabbling with a couple internet music video channels, and is working on a part-time, paid position with internet radio station Jam City America.
He successfully hosted Jam City America's "Dr. Rock & the Medicine Show" for two weeks before technical issues knocked him off of the "air." Measures are being taken to resolve the issues, and he hopes to get back within a couple weeks.
Maybe, one day, he will even have the opportunity to earn a full-time living doing what he so loves to do; be a real-life DJ.