hours we can’t have back


I’ve had a life-long aversion to commercial music, seeking solace in types of independent radio stations that have sadly gone silent in recent years, even in historically music-friendly places like Boston. In times like these I’ve turned to college radio. When I lived in the Albany, NY area, there were WCDB and WRPI. In Boston, there are quite a few colleges with a strong radio presence, but none quite like MIT’s WMBR. I listen to some programs obsessively, enriching my sonic palate with indie obscurities and dusty garage treasures.

So it was natural for me to support the station during its annual one-week fundraiser. While MIT provides the station physical space, WMBR relies on the contributions of listeners to purchase music and maintain equipment, all curated by a staff comprised entirely of volunteers.

As is the case with many fundraisers, WMBR offers premiums as a way of saying thank you to its donors. Based on the level of donation, it could be a bumper sticker, a t-shirt or a surplus CD. Imagine my surprise when I learned that a donation of a certain level would score an hour of air time on the show of my choice! Already a big fan of the James Dean Deathcar Experience, it was an easy sell. And having just completed my seventh show last night, you might say I’m an addict.

I’m also infamously obsessive-compulsive, so of course I’ve saved archives of all seven shows.

The first few years, I concentrated on old favorites.

Here is the archive from August 14, 2010, and, of course, the Playlist.
Followed by August 13, 2011 and its Playlist.

In 2012 I went local, with a Playlist focusing on New England-based musicians.

In 2013 I played “Stump the DJ” and came up with a Playlist of songs never played on the show.

In 2014 I decided to move away from short, jangly pop songs and instead offered a Playlist of long songs – 5 in one hour, to be exact.

In 2015 it was back to short, punky pop songs – 19 in an hour – with all songs on the Playlist having been played on the show at one time or another.

Then there was Yesterday’s show, featuring a Playlist more on the pensive, melancholy side. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of punk and power pop left in my collection, and as long as WMBR is on the air, I’ll continue to be on the hunt for more.

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