January 31, 1994: Below Zero

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(Pictured: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman celebrates victory in Super Bowl XXVIII.)

January 31, 1994, was a Monday. It is extremely cold in much of the United States. Nighttime temperatures have been in the 20s and 30s below zero from the upper Mississippi Valley to northern New England, and sub-freezing temperatures have been recorded in the Gulf Coast states. The countdown begins today for Thursday’s launch of the space shuttle Discovery. It will be the first shuttle mission with a Russian cosmonaut aboard, and the first joint U.S-Russian space mission since the Apollo/Soyuz flights in 1975. Secretary of State Warren Christopher says the United States supports a UN proposal for air strikes in Bosnia to punish Serbian guerillas who are holding an airport in Tuzla and refusing to allow Canadian troops in Srebrenica to be rotated home. The lawyer for figure skater Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gilooly, says Harding helped plan the attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan earlier this month. Harding has said she became aware of the attack plot only after it happened. The Los Angeles Times publishes an extensive series of articles about the aftermath of the Northridge earthquake, which hit southern California two weeks ago today. Fifty-seven people died and thousands were injured. The Times also headlines a report about the Arkansas land deal known as Whitewater, which has threatened to ensnare President and Mrs. Clinton in scandal. Novelist Pierre Boulle, who wrote several novels including Planet of the Apes and Bridge Over the River Kwai, dies at age 71.

Yesterday in Atlanta, the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII by a score of 30 to 13. It was the fourth straight Super Bowl defeat for the Bills and the second consecutive championship for the Cowboys. The halftime show featured country stars Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, and the Judds. Tonight in the NBA, Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks becomes the 11th player to score 24,000 points in a career, getting 24 points to help the Hawks beat Dallas, 90-85. The win pulls the Hawks into a flat-footed tie with the idle New York Knicks for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Both have marks of 30-and-11. Duke is the new #1 in the AP men’s college basketball poll. It’s the fifth straight poll with a different #1 team. Last week’s #1, UCLA, lost to California yesterday.

The top movies at the box office this past weekend were Mrs. Doubtfire, Philadelphia, and Grumpy Old Men. On TV tonight, ABC starts the night with the newsmagazine show Day One, followed by the TV movie Lies of the Heart: The Story of Laurie Kellogg, a fact-based tale about a woman who contracts the murder of her abusive husband, starring Jennie Garth and Gregory Harrison. NBC airs The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Blossom, and an episode of The Cosby Mysteries. On CBS, it’s Evening Shade, Dave’s World, Murphy Brown, Love and War (a sitcom created by Murphy Brown creator Diane English and starring Annie Potts and Jay Thomas), and Northern Exposure. Fox devotes all of its primetime to a repeat of the theatrical movie Working Girl starring Melanie Griffith. Rush plays Las Cruces, New Mexico; Janet Jackson plays Philadelphia; Fairport Convention plays Yeovil in the UK. INXS plays Brisbane, Australia, and Bryan Adams plays Sydney.

Bryan Adams is atop the Billboard Hot 100 again this week with “All for Love,” his hit with Rod Stewart and Sting. Holding this week at #2 and #3 are “Hero” by Mariah Carey and “Breathe Again” by Toni Braxton. Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love” moves from #10 to #4. Two songs make monster debuts: “Whatta Man” by Salt ‘n’ Pepa with En Vogue is new in the Top 40 at #22, zooming in from #69 the week before; Janet Jackson’s “Because of You” is at #29 in its first week on the Hot 100. On the Billboard 200 album chart, Music Box by Mariah Carey is in its sixth week at #1; Doggy Style by Snoop Doggy Dogg is #2. Greatest Hits by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is #5; Vs. by Pearl Jam is #7; the highest debut is Antenna by ZZ Top at #14.

Perspective From the Present: My radio career had ended with a thud on the first working day of January. I had since found a job teaching prep classes for high-school students getting ready to take their ACTs, and by the end of January, I was on the road. My first trip was a bizarre week in Oklahoma City; in all the teaching trips I’ve taken over all the years since, I never had a weirder one—but that story will have to wait.

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January 24, 1984: That’s All

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(Pictured: the original Apple Macintosh.)

January 24, 1984, was a Tuesday. Two days after it was introduced with a memorable TV commercial during the Super Bowl (a game in which the the Oakland Los Angeles Raiders blew out the Washington Redskins 38-9), Steve Jobs of Apple unveils the new Macintosh personal computer. Headlines on the morning papers include President Reagan’s nomination yesterday of White House councilor Ed Meese to be attorney general, replacing William French Smith. Today, Reagan arrives in the Oval Office a little after 9AM and spends the morning in a national security briefing. He travels to the Capitol for lunch with Republican senators and then returns to the White House, wrapping up his working day by 3:00. With less than four weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, Democratic presidential candidates George McGovern, Alan Cranston, and Reubin Askew are among those criss-crossing the state. The price of gold falls 10 cents today, to $365.10 per ounce. Silver is down 28 cents to $7.98 per ounce. Tonight, the Washington Press Club hosts its annual Salute Congress dinner featuring lighthearted banter between reporters and members of Congress.

Eleven games are played in the NBA tonight, with 22 of the league’s 23 teams in action. The league-leading Boston Celtics beat Cleveland 118-97 behind 24 points from Larry Bird. The Philadelphia 76ers have the league’s second-best record, even after a 111-102 loss to the Knicks in New York. The best game of the night is in Washington, where the last-place Bullets beat the division-leading Milwaukee Bucks 123-117 in double overtime. Four games are played in the National Hockey League tonight, including a wild 7-7 tie between the Hartford Whalers and the Canadiens in Montreal. Future major league baseball player Scott Kazmir is born. ABC’s TV lineup tonight starts with Foul-Ups, Bleeps and Blunders, followed by Happy Days, Three’s Company, Oh Madeline starring Madeline Kahn, and Hart to Hart. CBS airs an episode of The Mississippi, which stars Ralph Waite as a lawyer practicing from a boat on the Mississippi River, and the TV movie The Lost Honor of Kathryn Beck, a thriller starring Marlo Thomas and Kris Kristofferson. NBC’s lineup includes repeats of The A-Team and a two-hour Remington Steele.

Def Leppard plays Tokyo and the Clash plays Long Beach, California. Robert Plant plays Melbourne, Australia, Genesis plays Austin, Texas, and Van Halen plays Little Rock, Arkansas. Genesis (“That’s All”) and Van Halen (“Jump”) are new in the Top 10 at KRTH in Los Angeles, where “Owner of a Lonely Heart” by Yes holds at #1 and “Let the Music Play” by Shannon is #2. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper takes a mighty leap from #13 to #3 this week. Also charted at K-Earth: the Pretenders’ “Middle of the Road,” Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues,” “Wrapped Around Your Finger” by the Police, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” “An Innocent Man” by Billy Joel, and “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” by Prince. Debuts on the station’s Top 30 include “I Want a New Drug” by Huey Lewis and the News, “Let’s Stay Together” by Tina Turner, Christine McVie’s “Got a Hold on Me” and “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell.

Perspective From the Present: On this day, The Mrs. and I were living in our little one-bedroom basement apartment in small-town Illinois. We’d received a microwave oven as a wedding present the previous year, and for the Super Bowl in January 1984, I whipped up a batch of chili in it. Super Bowl chili of some sort, made in the microwave or some other way, became a tradition with us; I have made it for every Super Bowl since. The streak will end this year, however, after 35 Super Bowls in a row, because I will be traveling on gameday (Sunday, February 3) and unable to cook. I could make some on Saturday, I guess, but it won’t be quite the same.

January 15, 1991: In the Heat of the Night

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(Pictured: An American family watches war news from the Persian Gulf.)

January 15, 1991, was a Tuesday. Today, Iraq fails to meet a UN-mandated deadline for withdrawing 545,000 troops from Kuwait. They’re faced by over 800,000 international coalition forces, the majority of which are from the United States. Yesterday, UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar returned from meetings with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and told reporters he sees little hope that war in the Persian Gulf can be averted. Pope John Paul II sends Saddam a letter urging him to “take courageous steps which can be the beginning of a true journey towards peace.” A partial eclipse of the sun is visible in parts of Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. In Texas, Democrat Ann Richards takes the oath of office as governor.

Today’s Dilbert strip features an appearance by Dan Quayle’s brain. ABC’s primetime lineup includes Who’s the Boss?, Head of the Class, Roseanne (which wins the ratings race for the night), Coach, and thirtysomething. CBS airs Rescue 911 and the theatrical movie The Presidio. NBC’s lineup includes Matlock, In the Heat of the Night, and Law and Order. At the movies Home Alone continues to dominate the box office along with Awakenings starring Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams. Pairings are set for the NFC and AFC championship games this weekend: the Los Angeles Raiders will play at Buffalo and the New York Giants will play at San Francisco. The NBA’s top team, the Boston Celtics, are 29-and-6 and have the night off. Among the eight games played tonight, the Portland Trail Blazers beat Minnesota 132-117, running their second-best record to 32-and-7. Clyde Drexler leads Portland with 32 points. The league’s third-best team, San Antonio, loses to Utah 124-102. The league’s worst team, the Denver Nuggets, drops to 7-and-29 after getting hammered by Seattle, 146-99.

A new version of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance,” recorded with war in the Persian Gulf looming, is officially released. Lennon’s son Sean and Lenny Kravitz rewrote the original lyrics, which are sung by artists recording as the Peace Choir. They include Yoko Ono, Peter Gabriel, Bruce Hornsby, Al Jarreau, Cyndi Lauper, Little Richard, LL Cool J, MC Hammer, Michael McDonald, Bonnie Raitt, Terence Trent D’Arby, Tom Petty, Adam Ant, and others. On the Billboard Hot 100, “Justify My Love” by Madonna is in its second week at #1. “Because I Love You” by Stevie B holds at #2. Only one song is new in the Top 10: “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C&C Music Factory. “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston falls out of the Top 10. There’s practically no movement anywhere: Janet Jackson’s “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” and “I’m Not in Love” by Will to Power make the biggest jumps in the Top 20, three places each (#7 to #4 and #20 to #17 respectively). There’s only one new song in the Top 40: “Love Makes Things Happen” by Pebbles at #40. Only three new songs debut on the Hot 100; the highest is “Iesha” by Another Bad Creation at #78. AC/DC plays Portland, Oregon, Guns ‘n’ Roses plays Rio de Janeiro, and Anthrax plays Montreal.

Perspective From the Present: On this day, The Mrs. and I had a new arrival in the house. We had adopted Abby, our first cat, shortly after the holidays. For a while, we left the radio on and tuned to my station while we were gone so she would hear my voice throughout the day. Like most Americans, we went to bed on the night of the 15th figuring we’d be at war pretty soon, maybe before we got up Wednesday morning. That day, I went to work as usual, doing my afternoon show at the little station in Clinton, Iowa. The bombing started in the Gulf a little before 6:00 that night, and what had been called Operation Desert Shield turned into Operation Desert Storm. After I read the first couple of bulletins, we joined network news coverage and let it roll for the next 18 hours or so. Although there wasn’t much for me to do, I remember staying at the station until midnight, partly because we needed to have an operator there, but partly because I didn’t want to be anywhere else while history was being made.

January 7, 1983: What About Me

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(Pictured: Stevie Wonder appears at an event promoting the Martin Luther King holiday with Gil Scott-Heron, Jesse Jackson, and Gladys Knight.)

January 7, 1983, was a Friday. The ongoing weakness of the US economy is all over the news. Retailers are disappointed with December sales figures, although analysts disagree about the likely impact of the slow holiday season. New forecasts indicate the economy may grow at a rate of only 1.4 percent this year, down from last fall’s forecast of 3.1 percent. The administration is considering spending freezes to offset record deficits, but ecomomists fear that even if the economy begins growing again, deficits will remain a persistent problem. Unemployment remains high; the administration hopes the unemployment rate, currently 10.8 percent, can be cut to nine percent by the end of 1984. Yesterday, President Reagan signed a bill increasing the federal gas tax for the first time in 23 years. A report issued today by the Centers for Disease Control reports evidence that AIDS can be transmitted between heterosexuals; new research involving infected prison inmates also indicates that it can be spread through exposure to blood or blood products.

Future pro golfer Natalie Gulbis and future major leaguer Edwin Encarnacion are born. Four games are played in the National Hockey League tonight. The Edmonton Oilers get a hat trick from Glenn Anderson and two goals from Wayne Gretzky to beat Pittsburgh 7-2. Eight games are played in the NBA. The Philadelphia 76ers run their league-best record to 26-and-5 with a 106-89 win over the Washington Bullets. It’s the sixth straight win for the Sixers, who are led by Andrew Toney with 28 points. Julius Erving adds 23 and Moses Malone scores 22. The NFL playoffs begin this weekend with a special 16-team format necessitated by the players’ strike that reduced the regular season to nine games. Four games will be played tomorrow and four more on Sunday. The two top-seeded teams in what’s been dubbed the Super Bowl Tournament are the Los Angeles Raiders and Washington Redskins. Other top teams playing include Miami, Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota.

Popular options for weekend moviegoers include Tootsie, 48 Hours, and The Verdict. On TV tonight, CBS wins the ratings race with its Friday-night lineup of The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, and Falcon Crest. ABC’s lineup includes Benson, The New Odd Couple (which stars Ron Glass of Barney Miller as Felix and Demond Wilson of Sanford and Son as Oscar), and an ABC News Closeup special about the massacre of Palestinians and Lebanese in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon last September. NBC presents a two-hour episode of Knight Rider followed by Remington Steele. Later, Johnny Carson welcomes Jack Lemmon and Tanya Tucker, and Andy Kaufman brings his parents to an appearance on Late Night With David Letterman.

Yesterday, Stevie Wonder appeared at a Capitol Hill press conference to discuss ongoing efforts to make Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday. Tonight, Aerosmith continues its “Right in the Nuts” tour at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and KISS plays Saginaw, Michigan. One of two competing editions of Badfinger, led by Tom Evans, plays Atlanta. (The other Badfinger is led by Evans’ former bandmate Joey Molland.) Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones plays and speaks at an educational event held at the Town Hall Theater in New York City.

At WLOL in Minneapolis, “You Can’t Hurry Love” by Phil Collins is the new #1 song, dropping “What About Me” by Moving Pictures to #3. “You Got Lucky” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is up to #2. “Baby Come to Me” by Patti Austin and James Ingram, “On the Loose” by Saga, and “Heart to Heart” by Kenny Loggins are new in the Top 10, replacing Men at Work’s “Down Under,” “Southern Cross” by Crosby Stills and Nash, and Toto’s “Africa.” Songs moving up outside the Top 10 include “Back on the Chain Gang” by the Pretenders, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” by Culture Club, “Beat It” by Michael Jackson, and “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran.

Perspective From the Present: “What About Me,” which sounds as 80s as 80s can be, was an enormous hit in Australia during 1982, and would make #29 on the American Hot 100 in February 1983. The very same version would hit in America for a second time in 1989, peaking at #46. You don’t hear it on the radio anymore, but several other popular songs of the moment have never been off the air since.