Fond Memory: Stairway to Heaven

By Marc Robertz-Schwartz
B.S. Telecommunication 1989

I had just transferred to UF from Ithaca College and landed myself an overnight shift on WRUF (“Rock 104,” at the time). It was immediately impressed upon me that this was not a “college” station where the DJs picked their own music, and such. No, this was a professional radio station with a music/programming manager and deviation was strictly prohibited. One night (I guess, technically it was morning) during my 2a-6a shift, a delivered pizza began to wreck havoc with my digestive system and I desperately needed to get to the bathroom. Without hesitation, I began to try to find “Stairway to Heaven” as a song long enough to provide me the needed time without having dead-air if I was not back at the board to play the next scheduled song. However, in my desperation to get to the bathroom as quickly as I could, I blanked out on which CD the song was on and instead, played the longest song I could find on the Led Zeppelin CD I happened to pull off the shelf. All went as planned and I was back on the air, no one the wiser. Or so I thought…

The next morning I received a phone call at my apartment from the station manager telling me he needed to see me in his office immediately. Between classes, I went to go see him and he promptly began to lecture me about my playing of “an obscure Zeppelin song” which was heard by one of my co-workers. He looked me in the eye, leaned in and said, “You’re not at Ithaca anymore. I made myself clear about deviating from the station playlist. Give me one good reason not to fire you.” I explained what had happened and the unique circumstances. I sensed he wanted to laugh but would not allow himself to do so. He stared at me for a few seconds and simply said, “Well, I didn’t see that coming. Although, I’m greatly concerned – and should fire you – for not knowing what CD has ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ But I wont… because I know that you’ll never forget where to find that song next time you need it, correct?”

Ironically, the album has no title although it is often referred to as “Led Zeppelin IV.”

Posted: September 20, 2018