Aug. 16, 2021: In honor of Jeff’s 48th birthday (Aug. 26, 1973), we’re pleased to begin a four-part look at “Evening Edition,” a radio program that Jeff periodically co-hosted with host Bob Downing from 6-7 p.m. Mondays in 1997 and 1998 on KOPN/89.5 FM in downtown Columbia, MO. “Evening Edition” came on every weeknight on KOPN, but Bob’s show examined television (specifically free broadcasts you could get in Columbia without cable). These four episodes are part of a larger collection of tapes that Bob recently salvaged from his closet and loaned to Breeze Tributes to be digitized. Until recently, they hadn’t been listened to in 23 years.
In our first of four installments, which originally aired on April 28, 1998, Bob and Jeff review a 1998 made-for-TV adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” starring Peter Gallagher as Bernard Marx and Leonard Nimoy as Mustapha Mond:
Sept. 2, 2021: In the second installment of our four-part “Evening Edition” series, we find Bob and Jeff boldly treading into cable television. Jeff recently had moved into an apartment with an active cable hookup, and he and Bob couldn’t resist reviewing a review program: MTV’s short-lived (1997-1998) “12 Angry Viewers.” Taking its name from the classic Reginald Rose drama, “12 Angry Men,” MTV’s show featured 12 viewers who would critique and rank a series of videos on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The top video on each day advanced to Friday’s final, during which a winner was crowned.
This recording, which originally aired March 30, 1998, includes 26 minutes of Christopher Lydon interviewing newspaper columnist Molly Ivins on “The Connection,” which ran from 5-6 p.m. on KOPN. If you wish to skip ahead to “Evening Edition,” fast forward to 26:30:
Sept. 9, 2021: The third installment of our four-part “Evening Edition” series opens a truly startling window into yesteryear, as Bob, Jeff, and special guest Chris Dohm bravely prognosticate on what might happen in the great Digital Television Revolution of 1998 to 2009. At the time this aired — Dec. 15, 1997 — the American public was vaguely aware that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandated broadcasters to eventually transition from the analog NTSC format to the digital ATSC format. Beyond that, very little was clear. What would we be watching in the future? How would we watch it? What would it look like? What is the meaning of so-called high-definition television? What does it mean for proletariat, or non-cable, TV? What are these newfangled DVDs on the horizon and will they kill compact discs? This thrilling episode aired roughly 3 weeks before the first commercially available consumer high-definition televisions were even unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Showcase. At the start of the program, Jeff shares his thoughts on “Doug’s Secret Christmas,” while Bob ruminates on “The New Batman/Superman Adventures” and the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry denies having seen “Melrose Place.”
This recording includes 23 minutes of “The Connection,” which ran from 5-6 p.m. on KOPN. Host Christopher Lydon chats with “energy visionary” Amory B. Lovins, then-director of research for the Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass, Col., about “saving our souls, saving our planet, and getting rich.” Yes, this was considered bold, progressive commentary in 1997. If you wish to skip ahead to “Evening Edition,” fast forward to 31:33:
Sept. 16, 2021: Bob and Jeff examine soap operas, “Days of Our Lives” in particular, in the final installment of our four-part “Evening Edition” series. This Nov. 10, 1997 episode aired quite early in Bob’s helm as principal host. It’s essential listening for his man-on-the-street attempt to find someone in Greektown watching “Days” in real time. (He hits the jackpot at the Kappa Kappa Gamma house on Rollins Street.) Jeff, not yet the co-host, is introduced as “a local bagel chef and ‘Days of Our Lives’ aficionado.” He reveals that his mom has watched “Days” for years, even though she went to school with Susan Lucci from “All My Children” (which ran on ABC at the same time as “Days” aired on NBC).