Quick Lists — June 26, 2014 3:20 pm

5 Late Night Radio Shows I Listened to Instead of Sleeping

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Maybe it was a combination of never being good at sleeping and always having a walkman, but I loved late night radio shows. Going back through all the radio shows I’d listen to, it’s amazing that I was a functioning human being back then. Because I certainly am not now. Here are five late night radio shows I listened to instead of sleeping.

5 – Love Phones

Drjudy_blue_rad-330Dr. Judy without her sidekick Jagger. Photo courtesy Authors Guild

Love Phones was a call-in show all about sex. This syndicated show aired on the local alternative rock station and I believe it started at midnight on the particular station I listened to. These were the mid to late 90s, a time before the Internet was in the homes of many, leaving the lot of us to figure out sex the old fashioned way—through the radio. Dr. Judy was the brains of the operation, dispensing sex advice on command. Her co-host Jagger… well, he just made jokes and kept things rollin’. Not to get too graphic, but I learned most of what I know from Dr. Judy and Jagger on that alternative rock station. No wonder I need to listen to Tool to get in the mood.

4 – Loveline

lovelines-dr-drew-adamWhere Adam Carolla got his podcasting start!

While my heart belonged to Love Phones (and looking back, I still prefer it thanks to Dr. Judy and Jagger’s banter), Loveline with Dr. Drew (yes, that Dr. Drew) and Adam Carolla (yeah, that guy, too) was gaining popularity in the area. I think it might have even replaced Love Phones on that alternative rock station I listened to, especially after they got their TV deal. Today I learned that Loveline is still playing weekly on the ol’ radio.

3 – Pillow Talk

I got real local with this… sorry!

I might be revealing my location a bit with this one, but Pillow Talk aired nightly on Detroit’s WNIC. Hosted by the velvet-voiced Alan Almond, Pillow Talk played exactly what you’d expect—sappy love songs. While the music left something to be desired, unless you were really into doctor office radio or elevator music, we all listened to the show to hear Alan. His intro and outros to songs were always so sultry. He’d also read stories from lovers in that voice, making ample material for us to try to mimic the next day. As a whole, Pillow Talk is a pretty fabulous example of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). I’ll leave it to you to Google that. But if you like ASMR, you’ll like Pillow Talk.

2 – BackTrax USA

backtrax usa logoMy life is better knowing I can still listen to Backtrax online! And I don’t have to stay up all night to do so!

Ah yes, who can forget Kid Kelly and his barrage of 80s music and trivia? Every Sunday night, while I was supposed to be getting a good night’s rest to face the rest of the week, I was up listening to BackTrax USA. I had a cassette in my stereo and was always ready to hit “record” when my favorites played: like “Never Surrender” by Corey Hart.

TIL that in 2003, a 90s incarnation of the show started airing. The original 80s version still exists, but doesn’t seem to air anywhere near me. Again, Internet—thank you! You can listen to BackTrax USA with Kid Kelly on Sunday Afternoons (check your time zones)!

1 – Dr. Demento Show

dr-demento-weird-alThe good doctor and “Weird Al” share a moment.

On the lighter side of things is Dr. Demento. From 1978-2010, the Dr. Demento Radio Show provided listeners with wacky songs from equally wacky artists—most notably “Weird Al” Yankovic. When the Internet popped up, the good Dr. made his way over, making available his large archive of syndicated shows, which was super helpful because the nearest station he was syndicated on around these parts didn’t come in so well.

Honorable Mention: American Top 40


The voice of radio, Casey Kasem, built an empire with his countdown shows, so although he wasn’t a late night radio show host, he still needs to be mentioned here. Likely as a result of staying up all night listening to the radio (and later watching Late Night television), I often slept in pretty late. Sometimes I’d get up early, but would be too tired to function, so I’d pop my walkman back on and listen to American Top 40. I’m not usually a Top 40 person, but Casey’s Long Distance Dedications made it worth my while.

What late night radio shows kept you company at night? Or did you actually sleep? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

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