Someone wrote that James Brown never passed up an opportunity to be on the radio. They say he’d give an interview to a HAM Radio operator. Dude, if you had a microphone he wanted to be on it. Mr. Brown knew what he was talkin’ about.
I love radio and I love radio people. Not just the fast-talkin’, morning zoo, top 40 people. They’re great fun and I’ve been on my share of those programs. But I REALLY like the folks who have their little niche shows on Public Radio or community supported radio. These DJs are a throwback to the very first days of radio before it was called media, before there were a million streaming channels, Spotify and Pandora. When each part of the country had it’s own sound and you could drive from county to county and hear different music styles and stories. Maybe the jock brought in records from his personal collection. Maybe a local record store sponsored the show. That’s the way Allen Freed and so many DJ’s from the early days of Rock n Roll got started. It was hip, fun and free-wheeling.
You can still get a taste of that today on stations like WJFF in Jeffersonville, NY. They call it “Radio Catskill” and it covers an area of NY State in Sullivan County that includes Bethel Woods, the site of the Woodstock Festival of 1969. They carry on in the tradition of what that event and era stood for. They are eclectic and open-minded. They respect the intelligence of their audience. And, they are the only station in the country that is hydro electric powered. Cool!
I was invited to play on a show called Open Mic hosted by Kevin McDaniel. Kevin is right out of central casting and is everything you’d expect an indie DJ to be. I could imagine him in a scene from the film Pirate Radio. He looks like someone I knew back in the day who ran “contraband goods” shall we say on his sailboat down in the Caribbean.
Kevin had been trying to get me up there for a few months. I asked him what his show was like and he said: “it’s pretty simple, we’ll talk and you’ll sing.” Well OK then! I did his show in the afternoon and he hooked me up for a live gig at The Dancing Cat Saloon and Distillery for that night. That’s the way the biz is supposed to work. Radio and music venues working hand in hand to discover artists and bring them to their community. Everybody wins.
We had a great time on the air talkin’ music. Jeff is followed by a program called Farm And Country Conversations. So of course I sang my tune called “The Simple Things” while looking out the window at the dam that was powering the station that was broadcasting my voice and song. Nice.
Support your local radio stations! Just tune in. It’s a simple thing to do. You’ll hear things you never heard before and you’ll become part of your community just by listening.
I’ll be on another great community supported radio station WPKN!
I’ll be hanging out with Jeff Wignall and Ken Brown starting at 8PM on November 12 at the station in Bridgeport, CT . The WPKN slogan is: “The real alternative” and they mean it man! I’ll play a few new songs, spin a few tracks from my CD Chasing The Moon and the new Bacon Brothers collection “36 Cents”. There will be mayhem and Pepe’s Pizza.