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3.10.2006 

Missing KMOX

It's a well-known fact that people who have a hand or limb amputated often take a long time to adjust to the missing appendage--habitually using their bodies in ways that made sense when they were whole. Right now that's how I feel about a radio station.

For the past week I've been occasionally tuning my car's radio dial to 1120 AM, hoping to catch Mike Shannon in the middle of Cardinals' spring training game on KMOX. I know that these games aren't important, but I can't help but want to hear Mike's voice--more than anything, it's a sign of the season changing, the fact that spring is on its way, and though the games are meaningless, it's fun to hear the names of the unlikely players, the young and the old who might make the team based on a high batting average in March.

Although I hadn't been able to find Mike yet this spring, I didn't think much of it, just figured that I hadn't caught the games at the right time of day. But then, driving along the highway the other day I caught a billboard out of the corner of my eye that was probably put up precisely for Cardinals fans like me who turn to KMOX out of pure habit as they get in the car on warm nights. The billboard, of course, was an announcement/reminder of the radio station switch that the Cardinals had made over the winter. After 50 years or so of games broadcast on KMOX, the Cards are moving over to another network--a radio station bought by the team so that they can exclusively control the profits. On the face of it, this doesn't sound like a big deal--it's just a few digits down on the dial, just a couple twists of the fingers. But a summer without KMOX in St. Louis feels foreign to me, uncharted territory I have no desire to explore. I'm sure that my body will adjust, that sometime soon I'll scan the dial to 550 instead of 1120 without thinking twice about the action, but for the moment it just feels like I'm missing something important and don't know where it went.

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