The PopCulteer
December 27, 2019

Friday at 3 PM on The AIR we present our final new episode of 2019. It’s a special edition of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat that pulls back the veil, just a little, on our enigmatic hostess. Today’s new episode is part of a marathon of all of the editions of Big Electric Cat that have debuted in 2019, and that kicks off more than a week of marathons as we prepare The AIR for the new year, with new jingles, interstitials, episodes and special music programs in 2020.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

On Friday’s new Big Electric Cat, Sydney Fileen (not her real name) departs from the usual New Wave format of her show as she presents edited highlights of two airchecks from her 1984 stint as “Kelly Brown” (also not her real name), a deejay playing hard rock and heavy metal on the pirate radio station, UK Radio Wolverhampton.

UK Radio Wolverhampton was a station that broadcast legally on shortwave, and due to a loophole in British broadcast law, legally at certain heavily-restricted times over FM radio. These stations tended to ignore those restrictions, and thus, their deejays tended to use fake names to avoid prosecution.

In this week’s show, you will hear Sydney’s final broadcast as “Kelly Brown.” Her real name was leaked to newspapers and she had to drop out of the pirate game after this. She then began her career in legit radio and television announcing, and the rest would be history, if she were using her real name to present Big Electric Cat.

As I’ve explained before, our friends at Haversham Recording Institute use psuedonyms in part as a tribute to their roots in the UK pirate radio scene, but also because they are all highly-paid and highly sought-after voice talents in the UK, and don’t want people to know that they’re doing these shows for free. That’s also why sometimes we go weeks or months between fresh episodes, because as PopCult readers should know by now, paying work is a priority. The recent Brexit mess and Parliamentary elections are why this is the first Haversham Show we’ve had since October.

This desire for anonymity probably explains why, every time we ask Sydney for a photo, she sends us what turns out to be a picture of Cleo Rocas, a British comedienne.

The discovery of these airchecks allowed Sydney to take us back to the 1980s, as she does every week at 3 PM on The AIR, but in a different sort of way. She did ask me to stress that she is mortified at how “unprofessional” she thinks she sounds on these recordings. She also claims to be mortified by some of the music she was playing, though you may hear some New Wave-tinged tunes creep in among the Rush and AC/DC.

The Big Electric Cat marathon begins Friday, and runs over into Saturday, when it gives way to Radio Free Charleston International on Saturday and Sunday, and then we’ll play all of the 2019 episodes of Psychedelic Shack and NOISE BRIGADE on Monday.

All next week on The AIR, we will present marathons of our specialty music shows, as we gear up for some changes in the new year. Most of these changes will be cosmetic, with new promos and jingles. We’ll also be introducing some new shows, and re-introducing some old shows with new formats.

I’m seriously considering revamping Radio Free Charleston. For the last few years I’ve been hosting RFC as a local showcase, and then producing RFC International as the show where I play “Whatever the hell I want.”

I’m considering combining the two shows into a weekly three-hour program that would allow me to jump between national and international artists, and music by local creators. This was actually the format of the original Radio Free Charleston program on broadcast radio back in 1989, and I like the idea of showing that music made locally can stand, head and shoulders, with the best music in the world.

Unless I get talked out of this, Radio Free Charleston will keep its Tuesday 10 AM/10 PM timeslot, and will be rebroadcast Thursdays at 3 PM. I want to thank all our loyal listeners and all my loyal PopCult readers. The plan, in the new year, is to bring you even more quality internet radio, and more cool pop culture news.

That’s it for this week’s PopCulteer. Check PopCult daily for fresh content.