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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One thought on “January 31, 1994: Below Zero

  1. I watched that Super Bowl at LAX on a long layover coming back from my first trip to New Zealand. I was returning to a job I no longer had; I learned while on vacation that my station had been sold. So, in a sense, it was my last day in radio – for a while. I wouldn’t give up the town-to-town, up-and-down-the-dial for education for another 18 years. You were well ahead of me.

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