Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WZBC Radio from the late 1980s

I have loved radio for a long time. I remember my Mom taking me to a local radio station when I was about 13 years old because I wanted to be a DJ. We just walked in and she said I wanted to find out about being on the radio and somebody there told me all about it. I lost interest in producing radio but have remained a discerning radio consumer.

There have been times that I have loved a radio program so much that I had to save it. In the mid to late 1980s I lived in Boston where there is a lot of interesting college radio. I found several programs on WZBC, the radio station from Boston College which I loved. I have 6 tapes from WZBC in 1987 and 1988, most are 90 minutes. They had a program called "No Commercial Potential" on in the evenings. It could be quite variable based on who was doing the show that night. Sometimes it would veer into really discordant experimental stuff that I couldn't take. Other times it was beautifully assembled sets of songs that I had never heard but was now in love with. I didn't remember this until I started digitizing these tapes but it turns out most of the NCP programs I taped were a show called The Widows Walk done by a DJ named Mike Cronin.

Also enjoying Mike's show a few towns over was Steven Howard. He was inspired to begin a career in radio around that time. Steven did an excellent radio show called Mental Notes on the Asheville low power FM station WPVM, which had a great list of music programs by talented local DJs. It actually reminded me of being in Boston and having access to all those independent and diverse college radio shows, but all on one station just different times and days. Unfortunately, the license-holder of WPVM destroyed what I loved about the station. Dark radio times ensued for a while but Steven and many of the other talented local DJs have created ashevillefm.org, an internet radio station. You can catch Steven's Mental Notes on Sunday Mornings from 9-12. Looks like they may even have previous shows archived now so you can listen to the last show at your convenience.

Below are links to WZBC in the 1980s. Each mp3 file is one side of one tape. They are about 30-45MB each. Click one of those links and you should be prompted to download the file to your computer where you can play it. Some of these 22 year old tapes have some sort of distortion in the form of random blip-blip sounds. Let me know if these links don't work.