Monday, July 19, 2010

Radio shock

Anyone the least bit plugged into the Columbus music scene or local radio knew Andyman, the longtime CD101 DJ and program director. So it came as a complete shock to find out this morning that he died on Sunday at the age of 42.

For out-of-town readers, CD101 is a locally owned radio station that plays alternative rock. While I'm happy to quibble with what they play and don't play, I'm also well aware that in this day and age the station is a rarity. It isn't cookie cutter. It continues to play music in a format that has been abandoned by most commercial stations. It excels at localism, a concept merely given lip service by a lot of stations these days. By all appearances, the station is a labor of love.

That passion for the music and the community was best embodied in Andyman. He always seemed like a good-natured and generous guy. If the stories about him that people are sharing online and on the radio are any indication, it wasn't just an image. He was who he presented himself to be. Is it any surprise that he was one of the most visible and popular DJs in the city?

I didn't know him personally, but I did see him around town at concerts on a fairly regular basis. The last time I saw him he was standing at the gates saying hello to folks and (probably) passing out promotional stuff to those leaving the My Morning Jacket concert in May.

Even though I can't give an expansive remembrance of interacting with him, I do have a small story about Andyman that perhaps is a reflection of who he was. As you know, I was in a car accident while headed home after the canceled St. Vincent concert in February. I tweeted about the accident from the scene. Since I'm pretty sure Andyman wasn't following my Twitter account, I'm not exactly sure how he came across this news, but he sent a message to me asking if I was OK.

My best guess is that he was monitoring what the twitterstream was saying in the wake of the show being called off at the last minute--the station may have been a sponsor for the concert--and I just happened to use the magic words. (In this case that was probably the artist's name.) Still, what need did he have to follow up with someone he didn't know and about an incident he had nothing to do with? Apparently he felt a need, and I appreciated the gesture. I responded to let him know that I was OK, and that was the end of it.

There's no big, dramatic conclusion to the story, but I feel like this anecdote is at least a little revealing--the tip of the iceberg--about who he was. If he'd share his concern for a stranger in this way, imagine what those who did know him must have experienced.

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