The old saying goes “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
But I recently learned to never underestimate the power of radio. And, more important, never underestimate the power of pop singer Phil Collins.
Not that there’s anything wrong with Phil Collins. He’s made some good music over the last few decades – as a member of the rock band Genesis and as a solo artist – but there are only so many times a man can listen to “Can’t Hurry Love,” “Easy Lover” and “Sussudio.” (I don’t even know what a Sussudio is, but I once threatened to sing it aloud in the newsroom if the reporters didn’t beat deadline. It worked!)
I’ve never met Mr. Collins. Nor have I seen him in concert. Yet I feel we have a connection.
For several years and what seemed like an eternity, every time I tuned into local KURY Radio, the station invariably played a Phil Collins song. Now I don’t listen to KURY at regular, specific times. It’s more of a random thing. Yet, whenever I turned on the radio, there he was – Phil Collins! It was uncanny, and unnerving. I starting thinking “conspiracy!” I began wondering if good ol’ Phil was paying somebody at KURY to play his songs. Scarier yet, maybe Phil was spying on me and, whenever he saw me turn the radio on, he called the station and said, “Quick! Quick! Play one of my songs!”
More likely, it was someone on the radio staff – the station’s owner? the janitor? – was a big Phil Collins fan who inserted one his songs after every sixth song in rotation.
It was a mystery that went unsolved and eventually faded from memory as KURY appeared to be playing his songs less often. (Although the number of Bob Seger tunes seems to be creeping up.)
I mentioned this story to KURY Radio DJ Kevin Bane and his associates at the recent Brookings Home Show (the radio station and the Curry Coastal Pilot had spaces next to each other).
I recounted the Phil Collins phenomenon to the KURY crew, and told them how enjoyable it was to listen to KURY Radio these days without fearing The Phil.
My story elicited a few laughs and Kevin and the crew swore that Phil Collins hadn’t paid any of them a dime. Nor was anyone on staff an obsessive Phil Collins fan. I took their chuckles as a sign of sympathy.
A few days later Kevin played a Phil Collin’s song and dedicated it to ... me! And another one a few days later that he called the “Scott special.”
Oh, if I had only kept my mouth shut.
As the chorus of “Can’t Hurry Love” wormed its way through my tortured brain, I thought, “Never under estimate the power of radio.”
And then I thought, “At least I didn’t complain about them playing too much Lionel Richie.”