Bring Back Martha Quinn

May 14, 2007

Last weekend, I was driving home from Jazz Fest, and I turned the radio to the Sirius 80s channel. They had a show of 80s pop music where Martha Quinn would pop in every couple of songs and give us quirky little anecdotes.

Then on Wednesday night, I was driving home from an evening sail -- several hours later than my Saturday drive -- and I found that I was listening to the same show on almost the exact same spot on the interstate.

This made the drive go by rather quickly as I could play a game where I try to remember what the next song would be, based on my surroundings. I wasn't really very good at this game, but I did remember that she was going to relate some news story about baked beans as I exited the interstate, followed by a transition into "Mexican Radio."

A shot of Martha back in the day.

The double dose of Martha got me thinking. She was just cutting her teeth when she got her early-80s gig at MTV, and she must have thought that she was on a much different career path. She probably though that if MTV lasted at all, it would be a seldom-watched niche channel. I'm sure she hoped for a call up to something more established and mainstream, like perhaps the Weather Channel. From there, she thought she might catch on as a correspondent for a Good Morning America type of light news show, followed years later by a chance to be a real journalist.

Instead, she became a familiar voice to millions of teenagers, disappeared for a decade, and is now a familiar and nostalgic voice for those same teenagers-turned-30-something spenders. She gets paraded out by satellite radio to prove that they have 80s-rock chops, and paraded on the occasional commercial for products meant to help women remember their youths.

So I wonder if this is disappointing to her. Is she like the doctor who can't land a decent residency and ends up specializing in podiatry? Is she like the dozens of astronauts who keep in shape and talk to elementary school students without ever getting a chance to go into space?

Or is this what she was shooting for all along? I mean, she does just play music for a living. There can't be a bit of stress, and because she's a recognized name, she's making at least moderately decent denero for what she does.

If any of you are friends with Martha, have her drop me a note and let me know.

These are the types of things that my brain uses energy on.

(Footnote: The geographically astute of you will have caught that Jazz Fest is in New Orleans and that my boat is in Slidell, and you will further realize that different interstates connect these cities to Baton Rouge, and that therefore my statement in the second paragraph, 'the exact same spot on the interstate' must be rubbish. However, from Jazz Fest, we went to catch an early dinner at Midendorf's in Manchac, so we ended up on I-12 into Baton Rouge from there.)