I started working at a public radio station in 1984. Public radio is the only place to be in radio with no experience. I fought administrative and programming squares tooth and nail to maintain creative control over my show. I fought to play the neglected blues and soul music that moved me deeply, all that and to be able to run my own commentary.
Against all academic Blues-nerd, Jazz-Nazi odds I prevailed. I brought then, and still bring today, many unsung blues heroes to the listening audience that other radio program hosts barely know about... or worse, won't play. The folks that dig my show contributed heavily to the public radio fund drive beg-fests, specifically for my program. My show raised close to 20% of all fund drive dollars contributed via phone and mail-in pledges.
The Bone Conduction Music Show was the most successful show in that public radio station's history. In public radio, that and $1.36 will get you a cup of coffee. On a serious note, the show must go on. I play tunes that nobody else does. I'm not bragging, just laying down a fact. And people need that. Many say I've cost them thousands of dollars because they have to seek out and buy the tunes I lay across their audio g-spots. Check out the playlists on my website, they go back to 1996.
Until I came along, if you wanted to hear a hint of seizure inducing blues music you had to put up with an academically oriented, granola-bar chomping, earth-shoe wearing, blues-nerd history lesson to do so. And generally, you only got the high profile stuff. The music that you couldn't sit still to, the music that came out of juke joints, corner bars, and whorehouses (and that is exactly where the unsung heroes of blues live and play) was not being dispensed via the airwaves. If it was even hinted at on the radio it was done so only on the far left end of the dial, in educational fashion. It was all heritage and history-it was not fun.
To me this is music to drink beer too. Don't get me wrong. I resonate deeply with the history of it all, and can out-history the best of them. But the wig singeing rock, hip-shaking soul music, and industrial strength rhythm and blues was originally designed, produced, and set out to make you shake your groove thing, to make you get all the way live. The great majority of public radio blues disc-jockeys don't get that. It's all 'title, label, and artist' listings between songs-in the most borrrrrrrrrrring delivery possible. Hey, if the Good Lord didn't want you to shake your tail feather he never would have given you one.
I don't say any of this to diminish the work of folks that are passionate about the music. Radio has always been something I actually listen to. Radio is a friend to hang with. To me, radio isn't something to have on as background noise while you get your teeth cleaned and it isn't a college classroom. Radio is the stuff of anticipation and excitement. Lordy, have mercy on my sweet young mojo, that's what I try to put into every broadcast I do... and will until the stainless steel hook of unemployment comes creeping through the door. I try to do the blues work of The Lord as best I can. Won't you help me? Here's how: If it isn't giving you goose bumps big as jaybird eggs-turn it off.