September 4, 2009
IT WAS TWENTY YEARS AGO, TODAY
Well, sort of. Twenty years ago, in 1989, during Labor Day weekend, at 2 AM Sunday Morning, Radio Free Charleston debuted on WVNS, 96.1 FM. It was my reward (in lieu of a raise) for working over a hundred consecutive days at the station, after starting out as the night deejay who wasn’t trusted to talk, and winding up as the assistant program director. Part of my job was filling the weekend schedule with part-timers, and I was having a hard time keeping anyone in the Saturday late night/Sunday early morning spot.
Since the station owed me–I’d been filling up to three shifts a day, sometimes using three different voices and personas–I made a proposition: We had syndicated programming in my regular 7 Pm to Midnight shift on Friday nights, so I really wasn’t needed. I offered to give that spot to a part-timer in order to take the Saturday Midnight timeslot…on one condition.
They had to give me total freedom to play anything I wanted.
The station was so poorly managed that they agreed. And I went nuts assembling a four-hour show (starting at 2 AM due to contractually-obligated syndicated programming). Inspired by the 1970s incarnation of WVAF, which had no real format, I put together a show featuring new Wave music from the early 1980s, 70s progressive rock, headphone comedy, local music and bizarre stuff that I did myself. We snuck onto the unsuspecting airwaves that Labor Day weekend, and the photos in this part of today’s PopCulteer were taken by Frank Panucci during that very first broadcast.
Largely because of the local music, at one point we had ten thousand listeners. Once the show was successful enough to attract interest, forces within the station conspired to kill it after eight months. It took 16 years for me to revive the show here at The Gazz as a video program. The next episode of RFC will include a look back at our glory days, with a vintage video and a fresh performance by one of our original radio guests. Next week I’ll explain the philosophy of the show. The rest of today’s PopCulteer is filled with recent photos, because I’ve had a very bad computer week and it’s getting late. Ithis onen the coming weeks, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the RFC radio show, like we did back in this post, and this one, and this one, and , and don’t forget this one.
Blue Million At Bruno’s
From last Friday, the night we recorded Blue Million for RFC 80.
IWA EAST COAST “No More Child’s Play”
From last Wednesday night at Skateland in Campbell’s Creek.
Next Week In PopCult
The usual features, plus RFC 80, with Blue Million, Go Van Gogh and The First Great Guitar Giveaway continues. You can watch RFC 79 here to enter the contest now!