Lin's Bin: What Does It Take To Be A Terri Hemmert?

July 9, 2019
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Let me take you to the home of the Great Outdoor Underwear Festival, Piqua, Ohio. 

The birthplace of doo wop pioneers, the Mills Brothers.

Home to Betty and Fritz.

It starts with a tomato red Clarabelle the Clown record player and 78 rpm records like

Sparky and the Talking Train.  Maybe even the Howdy Doody theme song on bright yellow vinyl.

Sitting next to that little record player she learns about instruments from Tubby the Tuba performed by the Peter Pan Orchestra.

What does it take to be a Terri Hemmert?

It takes an imaginary birthday party for singer Dusty Springfield and a phone call to a Dayton radio station

It takes February 9, 1964

What does it take to be a Terri Hemmert?

It takes a love of rhythm and blues so deep that it translates into a college course that she has taught for over 30 years.

It takes a genuine reverence for the city of New Orleans and what that city means to the legacy of American music.

It takes a birthday pilgrimage to the big easy every spring for the Jazz and Heritage Festival.  It takes afternoons in the Gospel Tent, evenings hanging out with Irma Thomas, and a whole lotta Crawfish Monica.

What does it take to be a Terri Hemmert?

It takes interviewing Talking Heads for the radio when nobody else would.

It takes an impossible scheme. If I become a DJ, I can meet The Beatles.

A relentless faith in possibilities.

A belief that something that has never been done is not a prohibition, but an invitation.

If you believe it all begins and ends with The Beatles, you miss the best part of the story.  The Beatles are just a point on her compass, a compass that points in all directions.

You don’t get to work at the same radio station in the same big city since 1973 without knowing what it takes.

It takes the knowledge that no matter how many years you’ve spent on the air, this is a job that can always make you feel like a kid again.

And suddenly, it’s just you and a tomato red record player and dreams on a spindle.