Broken Dial/Radio Exile is always with me and is not simply made up of brief memories that can be randomly triggered by a snippet of an album I loved at the time or a narcissitic Google search, which always digs up more embarrassing stuff then you would ever want to find. I remember our website constantly not only because it was a fantastic experience in which I met some great people, but because it plays a key role in a story that I will most likely be telling for the rest of my life: how I met my best friend, current girlfriend and hopefully future wife (fingers crossed): Jeannine.
That story begins over 3 years ago when one day Shawn let me know he was looking for new writers (which to be honest he always was). Feeling obligated to help our dear leader, I reached out to a few music related contacts I had that might be interested. One of the first was a girl named Christina who I worked with at a music licensing company many moons ago. Christina and I had stayed in contact but only sporadically so perhaps it seemed like an odd request when I asked. As I was telling her about the website and the great people over there she recommended that I speak with her sister Jeannine because she had a journalism degree and it seemed like we had a lot in common and would get along great. I said “sure why not” and was quickly given her screenname and phone number.
After dating for a few months, I found out that Christina was too busy talking to her boyfriend over the phone to have a facebook conversation so she pawned it off on Jeannine, which I guess is something sisters do, especially when they are twins. I remember among the first things I said to her was how great of an editor-in-chief Shawn is, which I am sure he throughly enjoys and won’t let me forget about now that he knows. I would bore you with the rest of the fantastic story of how our romance bloomed and how great we are as a couple but your probably bored already.
It is a running joke in our relationship for Jeannine to say:
“I am not lying. You know I have only lied to you two times in my entire life
1) That I was Christina on that Facebook chat
2) That I said I would write for Radio Exile and I never did.”
During my time at Broken Dial/Radio Exile my main endeavor was “Outloud,” a weekly column where I posted a rare video and explained the history behind said clip or provided some insight as to why it was worth sharing. I forget who said it, but it easily could have been someone on our staff, “Berkman, don’t be insulted by this but your stuff reads like 80′s punk rock zine regardless of what you write about. What I mean is your passion comes through but along the way it either forgets or blows through periods, commas and other punctuation.” Speaking of that, I would like to thank everyone on our team, especially those that had to edit, for allowing me to be me and not making it seem like that was a bad thing. Sure things needed to be fixed but I think we turned out a good product at the end of the day.
My favorite memories of “Outloud” were made up mostly of the times when things got a bit out of hand. The first is when I made a slight comment about how Public Image Limited and Keith Levine’s guitar sound on those early records was a bigger influence on the music that proceeded it then the Sex Pistols. From what I remember someone didn’t really enjoy that and posted way too many comments to let me know. Another “high point” is when I mistakingly made a passing reference to The Cure’s background in the goth sub-culture which ended up in a brief flame war where we disputed the differences between “New Romantic” and other forms of music. However in each of these situations I was happy to see my fellow writers jump to my defense and helped cooler heads win the day. A true high point is when I got to pour my venom towards Sting away from my friends and family and on to our readers in the “8 Musicians Who Need a Punch in the Face” segment we did. I got flack for that one too but fuck ‘em: Sting sucks and always has. No regrets from me there.
Like many people on our team I have written for many different places, some bigger and some smaller, but Broken Dial/Radio Exile was always the home I came back to. Unlike those countless other places I always felt at home here and rest easy in knowing that I had a stake in all of our successes and failures (SMS – You should have listened to me about Juan’s Basement. haha). Although towards the end of our existence my output dropped off significantly, which severely pained me to have to do, I am proud to have played a role in making this website what it was because regardless of how many hits we got I think we did a great job and had a lot of fun along the way, which is all you can really ask for in the end.
I like to think that at some point along the way my little column, reviews and other pieces actually meant something to at least a few people and got someone to check out an artist, song or just simply say to themselves “that was cool”. Music has been a transformative experience in my life and allowed me to grow in amazing ways by meeting wonderful people, building fond memories, taking me places I thought I would never go, developing confidence in myself and informing my world view and attitude, which after the haze of adolescence has cleared seems to be a pretty good man and upstanding citizen who has a great record collection. My greatest joy and the highest honor I can ever expect or want is for someone to let me know the music I introduced them to had a profound effect on them and set them off into their own adventure of self discovery full of leather jackets, bad haircuts, basement shows and a handful of horrible bands. It all started for me when some older kids, who just happened to grow up to be members of the Moldy Peaches, and other assorted nerds, freaks and romantics sat down and spoke passionately to me about music.
To our readers hopefully on some small level we were those nerds, freaks and romantics for you and helped make a slight difference, made you chuckle or remember the lesson that no matter how far we have matured and our music tastes have changed we can all agree on “Punk rock changed our lives”