Friday marks Houston radio personality Myron Anderson's 30th anniversary at KTSU (90.9 FM). Best known for his Friday-morning show, "Listening Back With Myron Anderson," Anderson joined the Texas Southern University station as a student in 1981.
That same year, the then-telecommunications major was given the opportunity to take over "Listening Back," four hours of vintage Motown and R&B oldies from 6-10 a.m., after previous host Bobby Earle left. Since then, Anderson's show has gained a devoted tribe of listeners, many of whom are raising their kids on the same music they grew up with - no matter how much they object.
"When the youngsters ride with me, they're not going to hear any rap," says Anderson. "They're going to hear R&B. They reject it in the beginning, but the longer they listen to it, the more they appreciate it.
"When you hear Otis Redding or Teddy Pendergrass from back in the day, you hear that they had to sing. They had to have the voices and melodies."
Anderson says he has always loved music from all sorts of different genres. He can remember being in his Sunnyside garage as a Worthing high schooler, playing 45s and calling himself "Myron the Mic Man."
"I was always into music, even from the days of riding with my father in his truck. My musical inclination was fueled by him - he kept music in my life," the DJ reflects. "I listened to everything from the The Beatles to the Beach Boys to Chopin, but I started focusing on R&B during the '60s when Motown hit the scene."
"Listening Back" features many of Anderson's personal Motown favorites, which he often plays at home. He estimates his record collection, which he has been building since 1982, now has more than 6,000 records and upwards of 500 45s. An avid fan of The Temptations, he imagines he's played more of that Motown group's songs than any other DJ in America.
"I can remember the first time I heard 'My Girl,'" Anderson recalls. "I was riding home from Worthing down Scott Street with a friend. The rest is history."
His appreciation for The Temptations even inspired Anderson to start a Temps lip-synching group that performed all over the country. The group's last performance was in 1999, but he's thinking about reuniting the group as part of his 30th-anniversary celebration.
"I've had people saying that we need to get the guys back together and call it 'The Listening Back Temptations: Heart Attack Tour,'" he laughs. "We'll do ten slow songs in a row, and one fast one."
Throughout the course of his remarkable career, Anderson's comrades (who also work pro bono) have remained by his side: Archivist Mike Wheeler and Vincent Davis have been with him for 15-20 years, and both producer David Thomas and publicist Dannye Roland have been with him for the majority of his KTSU tenure.
Alongside his radio work, Anderson has emceed many concerts in Houston. His favorite is the first one he ever did: Smokey Robinson and Jean Carne at Jones Hall. Along with Robinson, other guests and associated acts include The O'Jays, The Stylistics, Archie Bell & The Drells, Jerry Butler and Patti LaBelle.
Anderson continues to thank the volunteers and community for their constant support throughout the years. In addition to his listeners, he credits Fiesta's CEO and marketing executive for "Listening Back"'s takeoff in the '80s and '90s. He has organized the Fiesta Club Party for 18 years, as well as other fundraisers for local nonprofit organizations.
Most recently, he's created a "Top Ten Hit List" where listeners email their top ten favorite songs for him to play on the show. (Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org.) He also plans on doing a "Celebrity Top Ten Hit List" with City Councilman Jarvis Johnson, Mayor Annise Parker, and his biggest radio influence, DJ Skipper Lee Frazier.
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"My father always told me, 'Whatever you do, make sure that you're a tough act to follow,'" Anderson says.
Rocks Off is fairly sure that after 30 years of timeless tunes, community activism, and still promising a reunion tour with his old Temptations group, Myron Anderson is un-followable.