The Dr. is no longer in on the radio. Dr. Demento’s classic Sunday night radio show is leaving the airwaves after nearly forty years of playing such zany classics as “Purple People Eater”, “Fish Heads” and “Dead Puppies”. Dr. Demento is suspending the syndicated show by the end of the summer as radio stations carrying the Sunday night fixture have recently dropped to less than a dozen.
Dr. Demento rolls with the changes
Dr. Demento’s crazy mix of comedy and music can still be found on Web cast. Changing radio format has created a highly specialized market with stations being either talk or niche music, leaving little room for variety shows such as Demento’s special blend of catchy little tunes and comedy.
His Web show has been airing Sunday evenings for several years on www.drdemento.com. The Dr. is looking at the end of his iconic radio show not as an ending but a transition into more current media. The internet allows him to play a wider range of music, including selections deemed too outrageous or vulgar by FCC controlled radio.
Dr. Demento creates careers and fans
The Dr. Demento show is based on the Dr.’s own collection of more than 300,000 recordings. His collection, which he started at the age of twelve, includes every recording format known from antique cylinders to modern day digital downloads. He first hit the radio airwaves in 1970 and his show became syndicated in 1976.
The Dr. Demento show has always played not only classic comedy music such as recordings by Monty Python and Frank Zappa but also amateur recordings sent to him. He discovered musician Weird Al Yankovitch in this way after receiving a homemade tape sent to him by a then sixteen year old Yankovitch. Weird Al went on to produce the Grammy winning Michael Jackson take-off, “Eat It”. Demento is also credited with keeping alive musical political satirist like Tom Lehrer, “The Vatican Rag” and Grammy-winning Stan Freberg whose 1957 song “Nuttin’ for Christmas” has become a holiday classic.
Dr. Demento: not your average class clown
Born Barret Hansen in Minneapolis in 1941 the Dr. is an educated musicologist. He did his college master thesis on the evolution of rhythm and blues. Today, his credits include television, movies and numerous record compilations. He is also a sought after authority in music writing and research whose credits include Rolling Stone Magazine. Dr. Demento was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.
The Dr.’s distinctive voice can be heard every Sunday night hosting his funny, two-hour Web show which features his unique blend of satire and music.