Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Today we have one of my favorite earlier columns, first posted January 16, 2015. I’ve added a link to see the video via youtube.

Here is a slightly updated version of the original post:

In the late 1960s many Top 40 stations aired a fascinating weekly public affairs program called Silhouette.  It was produced by the American Lutheran Church and helped music stations meet ascertainment requirements without sounding like they were “going out of the format.”

Silhouette was created and hosted by John Rydren. At the time, Rydgren was a seminary student in St. Paul. He became a Lutheran pastor with a serious jones for creating radio.

Silhouette mixed the hottest rock songs of the day with short clips of young folks chatting about current issues in society. Rydren often crafted first-person audio essays similar to Joe Frank or Rod McKuen.

Today many of the Silhouette audio essays are laughable because they are so hippy-dippy.  But some brilliantly evoke a time and place like this one: Groovin’ on a Saturday Night In Vietnam from 1968.  The tune is an instrumental version of The Rascal’s hit song Groovin’.

 Youtube link: CLICK

 Silhouette ended in 1970 when Rydgren became Brother John, the voice of ABC Radio’s LOVE network, an early progressive rock experiment.  It lasted less than two years.

Rydren then moved to Los Angeles and became a popular host on K-EARTH, one of the nation’s first FM oldies stations. He created Heaven Is In Your Mind, a flashback to Silhouette, while at K-EARTH. Rydgren tragically died on the air at K-EARTH (no kidding!) in 1988.

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