Friday, June 16, 2006

Radio, Radio

I am so sad that I've only been able to fully explore the glory that is WFMU in the last few years. I could never get it in my previous apartment, but thank God for the explosion of the Internets and the invention of listening online.

My favorite on-air personality is Monica. Fridays, 12 noon to 3 PM. Here is a (non) paid promotion.

So far today she's played Los Zafiros, a Cuban vocal group from the fifties, Teddy Pendergrass, snippets from an unidentified high school talent show whose theme seemed to be "A Toast to the Boogie" from a record called Schoolhouse Funk, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, and the Polish American String Band. There's also been patter from a 1961 Judy Garland show at Carnegie Hall and last week's Tony Awards. (The tiny little showgirl in me eats that sort of thing right up.) Other shows have included Blossom Dearie, Camera Obscura, Prince, Soul II Soul, Johnny Cash, The Jubilee Gospel Team, and Barbara Mandrell. And lots and lots of amazing, why-I-have-I-never-heard-this-before jazz, standards, folk, pop from other lands (which is NOT world music!), country, gospel, soul, funk, and R&B. I believe Monica co-founded Tommy Boy Records and hails from Illinois, which explains why the show has the feel of a broadcast curated by Rosalind Russell as Mame, Prince handmaidens Wendy and Lisa, a vestal virgin tending to the vaults of Smithsonian Folkways, Stax and Okeh records--hosted by Joan Cusack.

Also, I love that for the last few shows she's been giving shoutouts to some DJs on 98.7 Kiss FM-- the Best Variety of Old School and Today's R&B. Which I turn to when the indie rock has enervated me. Especially on Sunday afternoons, because of Felix Hernandez and his soul music paradise, which is otherwise known as "The Rhythm Revue". The man's favorite books are William Carlos Williams's Paterson and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man--?!? On Saturdays he does a version for aficionados on WGBO from 10 AM to 2 PM. Also because where else am I going to hear, uh, Jill Scott? And ads for the theatre event that is Issues: We All Got 'Em: The Stage Play? Oh. Here.

Also indispensible: This Is The Modern World With Trouble. Thursdays, 9 AM to 12 PM, WFMU. In her own words: "A viking ship appears on the horizon, a likeness of Loretta Lynn carved into its bow. Rare birds flock together to sing Francoise Hardy as soul hits. A sunset of blips and bleeps fills the air."

Consider this my own very small way of paying tribute to actual humans selecting and playing all sorts of records in real time. Satellite radio and Jack FM are not the answer.