Foxy Mama's Blog

Stories, musings and ramblings from the front porch. Pull up a rocking chair and sit for a spell...


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

You're listening to...

It has been a few years since I was on the radio but some of the remnants of the experience remain. I still have “bad segue” nightmares occasionally and wake in a cold sweat. I still have to remind myself that it’s okay to just sit and relax and enjoy listening to the whole album of whatever I want instead of the onus of having to get on to the next selection and make decisions about it. Such a joy not to have to report my “play” and think about the hundreds of little things that good DJs, music directors and radio personalities have to worry about. It’s nice to go out to a concert or performance and not have to think about networking or angles and just enjoy it and then go on my merry way.

I do still find myself thinking about interesting folks to interview and planning programs though. I guess that doesn’t ever go away. I suppose that’s why I’ve taken to blogging like I have. It helps to fill that ‘connection to others’ void that occurred when I left the radio life behind. I confess that I do still think of all that and miss it a little bit, even though life is a lot calmer now and definitely more my own to plan and live.

I used to get between 45 and 100 emails a day just on radio related stuff and everybody wanted a reply. The phone rang constantly, even in the late hours. Again, somebody wanting something. Blurbs for press kits, reviews, interviews, referrals, gigging information in our area, you name it… I get tired just remembering it. There was never a dull moment, but it was fun and I never had to wonder what to do with a day. The days spent themselves in a whirlwind of activity and communication. And creativity. There was definitely a lot of creativity involved.

I did all my own programming, except for the classical program, which Dear Husband formatted, but I put the show on. I was responsible for all 15 hours of my 4 programs on-air time as well as the prep, which was never ending. On-air, I not only did the programs but I had to gather and read all the news and weather and what-not, as well as answer telephones (thank goodness we didn’t have “live feed”), train others when necessary (ugh), set up the performance studio for guests, let them in, show them what was what, and do sound checks, all while putting on the show as usual. The performance studio was adjacent to the on-air studio and we stared at each other through a reinforced glass window. There was no audio link to the other studio so it meant that I had to run back and forth literally until we went “live” together. Good exercise… It kept the blood flowing through the veins.

Although we had an engineer, he was only there sporadically to do maintenance and installation and had nothing whatever to do with programming. It was strictly a solo gig for me and when college wasn’t in session it meant that sometimes I’d be the only, or practically only, person in the enormous building. Kind of scary later on in the evening. The building was kept locked during a lot of those times so it meant that in addition to all the other stuff, if someone needed to get in, they called up on the squawkbox and I had to go through to the other end of the building and down all four flights to let them in and then back up before I needed to go “on” again. Pshew!

I loved having guests in the studio though and hardly had a show without at least one. I’ve mentioned before that I enjoyed giving my guests time to chat and relax and very seldom, unless totally necessary, had quick in and outs. The interviews were completely extemporaneous. Surprised the heck out of some of my guests. They were used to being shuffled in and out of a lot of places very quickly (sometimes, they told me, they were even scripted, as on NPR) and many of them expressed surprise that I actually listened to what they said. Well, yeah…why else would I do it? They seemed to have a good time and I know I sure did, although being on the radio ended up costing me money, since I tried to be professional about it, and it sure didn’t make me any. But then, that’s why I had the freedom to do it the way I did. Non-commercial radio station…

When a well known performer died or when there was a special reason or desire for doing so, I put together memorial shows or retrospectives, sometimes a couple of hours worth and sometimes with very little lead time. Managed to pull it off though… Sometimes I’d put together an historically oriented program such as a Kurt Weill program or one on Astor Piazzolla’s Tangos or circus music or an 8 hour program of Irish music on St. Patrick’s Day which had started out to be only a 2-3 hour gig, or an impromptu 10 hour overnight “Blues-a-thon” or something nifty like that.

And it all evolved from one nervous middle-aged woman taking a chance and saying “yes” to an offer of being trained for the college radio station and who, expecting nothing more than a couple of hours of pleasure from playing some music for whomever might possibly be listening, finally found out what she wanted to do when she grew up. Little did I know how it would evolve or where it would end up. I haven’t been on the air for about 4 ½ years now but people are still recognizing my voice in public or on the telephone. It means I have to behave myself. ~;^) I had never guessed that there were that many people out there listening or even caring. I went to a local restaurant not too long ago and the hostess seating us called me by name (I didn’t know who she was) and she said she recognized my voice and missed my program. “Which one(?)” I asked, since I’d had four (all different). “All of them” she said. Cool beans!

Although I interviewed a large number of non-musical guests as well, here are some of the musical guests I interviewed and who performed live in the studio (sometimes on several different occasions), except where specifically indicated as telephone interviews (telephone interviews were recorded from my home):

Julie Adams (of Mountain Stage) ~ Terri Allard ~ Antara ~ Jeff Baker ~ Don Baldini (bass player, studio musician, faculty, jazz musician, symphony orchestra bassist) ~ Chris Bauman ~ Richard Berman ~ Lou & Peter Berryman ~ Kurt Bessette ~ Leonardo Biciunas ~ Hubert Bird (composer, faculty) ~ Tony Bird (a rare studio appearance) ~ Rachel Bissex ~ Brendan Carey Block, fiddler ~ Richard Block (BCB’s father & guitarist) ~ Chuck Brodsky ~ Josh Brooks ~ Harry Bryan ~ Greg Cagno ~ Calico Harmony (trio) ~ Suzanne Campagne (of Hart Rouge and sister-in-law of Connie Kaldor), Pierce Campbell, John Carmen, Ceol Eire (Celtic group) ~ Tom Chapin (live recorded interview in theater dressing room) ~ Clandestine (Celtic group) ~ Douglas Clegg ~ Close Enough (dulcimer duo) ~ Paul Cohen (world class classical cellist) ~ Adar Cohen, guitarist ~ Lui Collins ~ Don Conoscenti ~ Liza Constable ~ Dave’s True Story (duo) ~ Julian Dawson ~ Kris Delmhorst ~ Paul Del Nero ~ Ben Demerath ~ Francis Doughty, guitarist ~ Duo Live Oak (Medieval music duo) ~ Cliff Eberhardt ~ Dana Edelman ~ Mark Erelli ~ Bela Fleck, banjoist (telephone) ~ Gideon Freudmann, cellist ~ Fuzzy Logic (duo) ~ Annie Gallup ~ Mary Gauthier ~ Rose Gerber ~ Paul Geremia (Blues) ~ Ed Gerhard, guitarist ~ Vance Gilbert ~ Julie Gold (Grammy Award songwriter, pianist) ~ Antigone Goni (classical guitarist, faculty at Juilliard – telephone) ~ John Gorka (telephone) ~ Granite Grass (BG Band) ~ Gary Green, harmonica player ~ Bob Halperin (Blues) ~ Ronan Hardiman (Composer; composed Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance - telephone from Dublin) ~ Jim Henry ~ Nat Hewitt, fiddler ~ Deborah Holland ~ Tom Horsky ~ Ky Hote ~ Mark Humphreys ~ Bonnie Insull, (flute, faculty) ~ Alouette Iselin ~ Michael Johnathon ~ Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson (Grammy Award, Blues) ~ Justina & Joyce (duo) ~ Connie Kaldor (Juno-award winner, which is the Canadian equivalent of the the Grammy award) ~ Peter Keane (Blues) ~ Wendy Keith ~ Dave Keller ~ Jody Kessler ~ Kevin Sysyn Band (Blues band) ~ Jonathan Klate ~ Jess Klein ~ Katrina Landon ~ Patty Larkin (telephone) ~ Christine Lavin (mini-view in dressing room) Bonnie Leigh (dulcimer, guitar) ~ Bernice Lewis ~ Jose Lezcano, (classical guitarist, composer, faculty) ~ Barbara London ~ Lonesome Brothers (duo) ~ Jim MacDougall (piano) ~ Erin MacKeown ~ Terry MacNamara ~ Tommy Makem (Irish tenor, actor, author) ~ Bob Malone (pianist, s/s, blues) ~ Tom Mank ~ Ted Mann (classical guitarist, composer, faculty) ~ Jeff Martell ~ Lisa McCormick ~ Suzanne McGettigan ~ Lori McKenna ~ Andrew McKnight ~ Don McLean (Grammy Award winner ‘American Pie’, ‘Vincent’, etc. – telephone) ~ Michael McNevin ~ Aine Minogue (Celtic harpist – telephone) ~ Stan Moeller & T.S. Baker (duo) ~ Dave Nachmanoff ~ Bob Norman ~ Bill Parsons ~ Ellis Paul (in green room before a performance) ~ John Perrault ~ PLM (trio) ~ Tom Prasada-Rao ~ Darryl Purpose ~ Warren Rasmussen ~ Ratsy ~ Harvey Reid (guitar, banjo, auto harp, s/s) ~ Ron Renninger ~ Del Rey (Blues) ~ Mark Reynolds ~ Jeff Rhone, flute ~ Paul Rishell & Annie Raines (Blues duo– telephone) ~ Susan Robertson ~ Dana Robinson ~ Sandy Ross ~ Mary Ann Rossoni ~ Rene Saffier ~ Barbara Saint John ~ Salamander Crossing (trio) ~ Maria Sangiolo ~ John Schindler ~ Eric Schwartz ~ Colleen Sexton ~ Shady Creek Bluegrass Band (band) ~ Linda Sharrar ~ Catherine Shaw (bagpiper) ~ Laura Siersema (pianist, s/s) ~ Martin Simpson ~ Sky Blues (Blues band) ~ Gabriella Snyder ~ Snyder & Rasmussen ~ Kevin So ~ Joe Stacey ~ Bill Staines ~ Eric Stumacher (classical pianist, conductor, Dir. Apple Hill Chamber Players) ~ Swift River (trio) ~ Barry & Holly Tashian ~ Louise Taylor ~ Harvey Tolman, fiddler ~ Artie Traum ~ Michael Veitch ~ Western Omelette (band) ~ Don White (telephone) ~ David Wilcox ~ Gary Winkler ~ Y'ALL (Duo) ~

I had a grand time! I never would have believed I could and would be on the radio for about 8 years, let alone talk with all these people in my life. Above are just the musical ones. There were many, many more, including Edie Adams (movie star, actress, singer, nightclub performer, author – telephone interview), a classically trained Shakespearean actor who looked a lot like Kenneth Brannagh and had this glorious, refined English accent and who was as charming as could be, choreographers, actors & actresses, theater directors, independent filmmakers, members of our community such as Red Cross director, Humane Society people, librarians, a psychiatrist, Social Services people, other radio people, faculty, geologists, engineers, volunteers and others, of all kinds… Wow, it sure was fun. I think I’ll tell some stories in future posts…


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