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Ralph Rasmussen Radio History - Vintage WVVX Newsletter

Check out an old Press Clipping from the past of RadioBypass DJ, Ralph Rasmussen

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WVVX 5th Anniversary Special

The Rock the Chicago Makes with Ralph

Picture this: it’s 4 o’clock, late Friday night or early Saturday morning, take your pick. The eve before Aerosmith tickets go on sale. There are about seven people with sleeping bags and lounge chairs out in front of a West Coast video ticket master outlet on the cities northwest side. There is one person there you’d probably never expect to see, Mr. Ralph Rasmussen. We had the perfect opportunity to meet with him and ask a few questions . So here is the lowdown on Chicago’s favorite local DJ.

CHICAGO ROCKER: it seems a little weird that a DJ at one of Chicago's favorite radio stations would be here sleeping out for concert tickets. Why are you here?

RALPH: Because Aerosmith is the best band in existence on this planet and I want to make sure I have tickets from my friends and die. I really don’t want to chance missing this show! Aerosmith is the one band I have always gone out of my way to see. I’ve seen them 25 times so far and I still haven’t had enough.

CR: OK. Now down to business. Tell us how you got started at WVVX.

RALPH: one night I was listening to the overnight show and I called the guy who was hosting a show at the time, John Gorney, and ask him to play some local music that I liked. He didn’t have any of the stuff I was asking for an asked me if I could bring some of it to him. I went to the station one night armed with all the stuff that I had. We got to talking and he asked me if I would be interested in becoming his producer and I accepted.

CR: so how did you wind up being on the air?

RALPH: my intention was to remain behind the scenes. The night of John’s birthday he took off and our sales guy was supposed to host a show that night. About five minutes before showtime he buzzes me on the intercom and says he’s too cast to do the show so I’d have to do it. I’m thinking to myself I don’t want to be on the air but I had no choice so I went on and did the best I could.

CR: how did you think that first night went?

RALPH: I thought it was pretty dreadful. However, my boss thought it was really good considering I had never been on the air before. At that time we were only on the air Monday through Friday but we were going to be adding Sunday nights and he wanted me on the air one night a week so I ended up doing Friday nights. I’ve been on the air ever since.

CR: what were you doing before WVVX?

RALPH: When I was 17 I started working as a roadie for a band called Galleon and from their meeting other musicians and working with different bands. After getting a little bit older I felt I needed something more stable so I pursued a career and computers. But I continued working with bands on the weekends.

CR: if you weren’t here today, where would you be?

RALPH: I most likely would still be at my computer gig and road managing bands.

CR: what would be the advantage of working at WVVX as opposed to other stations?

RALPH: I would definitely say the main advantage is the ability to play Chicago bands and hard edged rock 'n' roll. No other stations would let me have control to play the kind of music I’d like as well as Chicago bands.

CR: what do you look for when local bands send in their tapes?

RALPH: the recording quality is the first thing. If it doesn't sound clean with the instruments and vocals mixed so that each can be heard, I can't play it. The tape Hass to sound as close to a record as possible. Secondly, make sure the cassette you send in is a high-quality, high bias tape. Be sure to list all the songs in the order they appear on the tape and include a contact person and phone number. Bands looking for airplay should take into consideration that they are not only competing with other local bands for space on the playlist but all the national acts as well. After a band has sent me a demo, they should give a follow up call in two weeks. Usually by then either myself or my faithful associate producer Kim Martin will have had a chance to listen to it.

CR: if you were giving advice to someone that wanted to pursue a career in broadcasting what would you say?

RALPH: the best way to get involved with radio, in my opinion, is not necessarily going to college full-time, but taking maybe some courses. Try to get involved with your school radio station and apply for an internship for what area you want to be involved in. Whether it be news, traffic or whatever.

CR: let’s try to get to the personal side of Ralph Rasmussen; what did you want to be when you were growing up?

RALPH: I wanted to be a woman, only kidding, only kidding. Seriously, from the time I was about three years old after the first time I heard the Beatles I wanted to be involved in music, of course at that time I didn’t know how. Then as I got older I read a book on the Beatles, I found it very interesting (otherwise I wouldn’t have read it) how their manager Brian Epstein took the band from nowhere to being the biggest band in the world; making himself money in the process. I thought to myself that’s what I want to do.

CR: what do you like to do in your free time?

RALPH: I wish I had free time. In the rare instances that I do, I like to go out and see bands, go bowling, shoot pool, see movies and check out chicks.

CR: you made it through five years at WVVX, what do you think the next five will bring?

RALPH: I can't predict the future but I would hope that we would be in a situation where we're programming cutting edge rock 'n' roll on a 24 hour basis.

So there you have it everything you needed to know about Ralph Rasmussen and more. It's 1030 Saturday morning and we're ready to go home with Aerosmith tickets in hand (not the seats we had hoped for). We feel like a piece of burnt toast. It is about time we left for Ralph alone. Hello to Our new found camping buddies, and to the Entenmann's delivery man (thanks for the desperately needed breakfast). There is an extra special no thanks to the idiot we thought he was fourth in line, and to the scalper who threatened to kill us. But most of all we think Chicago’s local DJ, Ralph Rasmussen for his time and patience.

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