on the air


I’m a big fan of college radio, and consider myself extremely fortunate to live within range of one of the best in the country, WMBR in Cambridge, MA. As a prominent station, WMBR receives dozens of CDs and records from record labels and independent artists on a weekly basis. It is the thankless task of the all-volunteer staff to sift through this material and separate the chaff from the wheat. Many DJs are MIT students, but quite a few are dedicated veterans who curate week after week of quality programming from musicians who otherwise would never be heard on the radio.

While the staff is unpaid, there are plenty of costs associated with keeping such a sophisticated operation running. MIT provides the space, but the rest is paid for by donations received during a one-week fund drive in November, the one opportunity listeners have to show their appreciation in a tangible way. In return, one can receive all sorts of premiums ranging from t-shirts to used CDs. Above a certain amount, a listener-fan can receive the ultimate premium — an hour of air time on his or her favorite show.

So to get to the point, I got to do an hour of radio on the James Dean Deathcar Experience for the eighth year in a row last night. As always, it went by way too quickly, but it was a true blast. I usually try to do something a little bit different, so this year I had sets focusing on jangle-rock and short punk and post-punk instrumentals. The set list can be found here. For the aurally adventurous who’d like to hear the hour in its entirety, I’ve posted the podcast to my website here.

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