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September 05, 1985 - Image 79

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-09-05
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age 16D - The Michigan y - Thursday, Septemb; 985

S

'9

-0

The A igan Daily - Thursc

RADIO
The
Utopfanr
P o etBy arwulf arwulf

THI

R ADIO is a verb. That's what
I said. You are a participant,
when your radio is on, and you are an
extension of the station you choose to
follow. I doubt that very many of us
ponder the implications of this, and if
I harp on it for very long, you'll
probably get tired of it. Let's just say
that folks should think a bit more about
things they do every day of their lives.
Culture happens on a day-to-day
basis. We involve ourselves in an
awful lot of things without thinking at
all about causes, effects, or perhaps
most importantly, alternatives..
The FM dial, in Ann Arbor, has a
cluster of Public Radio Stations on the
left, and each in its own way can
provide you with an alternative to the
rampant commercialism of the vast
multitude of American radio
wavelengths.
The first you'd encounter, at 91.7
FM, is WUOM, Ann Arbor's straight-
ahead predominantely classical
station. My personal favorite at this
location is Peter Greenquist, a quaint,
middle-aged fellow who does friendly
wakeup programming on the week-
days.
This is big-time FM Public Radio;
they're rather rigid and very
professional-sounding. Theredare no
idiotic commercials. Public radio is
funded by the listeners for the most
part, and for this reason they are all
subject to periodic fundraisers. For
WUOM, a fundraiser means plenty of
talk, and indeed all fundraisers,
whatever the station, are made of

WCBN is a noun. But nonetheless active. CBN provides the soundtrack for reality in the City of Trees.

talk. So are commercials, though, and
many are happy to fork over a small
donation to stave off the need for ads.
WUOM has an incredible range, lots
of air power, and can be heard
throughout most of the lower penin-
sula. In addition to the dominant
classical programming, they offer an-
tiquated jazz (with Hazen
Schumacher), and contemporary
jazz (with Michael Grofsorean).
Other features include National
Public Radio Newscasts, Lecture
Hours, Books by Radio, Recorded
Concerts, Opera Night, and some
beefy Sports Reporting.
Next, on our cruise towards the left
on your FM dial, is the unstoppable
WEMU, at 89.1 FM. This round-the-
clock station emanates from Eastern
Michigan University, in Ypsilanti,
and has almost as much wattage as
WUOM. WEMU focuses on jazz.
There are lots of different ways to play
jazz, and they've got a program for
every facet. The wilder your tastes
are, the later in the day you should
tune in.
The morning "Jazz Scope" is

7 HAIRCUTTERS
" NO WAITING
DASCOLA STYLISTS
Liberty off State.....668-9329
Maple Village........ 761-2733

I

usually straight-sailing and easy to
comprehend. By the time the after-
noon is upon you, they're slapping
down some blues and boogie and bona
fide hard bop. "Late Night Jazz
Scope" gets even more adven-
turesome, and "Jazzscope After
Hours" tosses off all restraints.
This station also subscribes to
National Public Radio, and this
means regulated newscasts, reliable
weather info, and generally a clean,
professional attitude. They're going
out over vast portions of Southeastern
Michigan, and this necessitates a
certain style of broadcasting. It is for-
tunate that we have this clean-stated
presentation of jazz, as this means
that the music can be heard in den-
tist's offices and retail outlets, where
muzak and brainless pop usually hold
sway.
WEMU also sponsors many live
blues and jazz events, usually in the
Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. The
biggest of these is the annual Frog
Island Jazz Festival, held just a short
step away from historic Depot Town,
the hippest spot in all of Ypsi. This
station is an active element in the
alternative music scene in
Washtenaw County, and the dedicated
staff of Jazzers include boss Jim
Dulzo, nice guys George Klein, Bret
Julek, and John Asemacher; and the
unbeatable night staff of Michal G.
Nastos, Michael Jewett and Tom
Simonian. This last individual is also
responsible for the ever-popular Third
World Dance Party, offering reggae,
African and other equatorial rhyth-
ms. Definitely worth tuning in. All are
hard working fellows, deeply in love
with the music.
Away off to the left, just about as far
as your radio can get in that direction,
there's a little 10-watt station which
has been providing Ann Arbor with
surprises and creative enigmas for as
long as most of us can remember.
Well, since 1972, anyway. This is WC-
BN 88.3 FM, "Radio Free Ann Ar-
bor.'"> Run aby. , yonhmteers

predominately students, this is a
remarkable listening opportunity. 1
Most of the programming comes1
under the heading of FREEFORM.:
This means that all types of music are1
intermingled in a flowing procession
of audio images, sometimes overlap-I
ping, or even layered, like filo dough.1
The possibilities are endless and'
varied, and ideally all the genres are
represented.
WCBN is dedicated to the presen-
tation of unusual and hard-to-find
recordings, and the music is offered
up in a way that few stations in'
Michigan or anywhere else would
care to or dare to. The announcing is
relaxed, the records are often gleaned
from private collections, and there is
always lots of room for creative ex-
perimentation.
Rock 'n' roll, at WCBN, can mean
psychedelic new wave, hard core
punk, sixties garage bands, wild man
Fischer, rockabilly, or unclassifiable
weirdness. There is a policy that ster-
nly frowns upon current over-
produced hits, and a DJ who is unable
to avoid such garbage will be
prevailed upon to explore more in-
novative territory. Twenty other
stations are playing those hits - CBN
has other priorities. Radio should be a
learning experience.
The blues are the basis for rock 'n'
roll, and for much of America's
popular music since 1900. WCBN's
blues collection spans the entire
history of the music, from Blind Blake
and Bessie Smith to the very most
recent releases from electrified
modern blues masters. Any freeform
show worth its weight should contain
some blues at one point or another, as
there's nothing more appropriate to
life in America than some honest
blues.
Jazz means at least 80 years worth
of American music. Most stations that
bother to air it are reluctant to step
outside of the mainstream, at least
before, 0) or 11 pim. Most historical

jazz programming resorts to the
dreaded "Nostalgia" routine, which is
guaranteed to turn off vast numbers
of young listeners.
Many folks who dislike jazz are
reacting to the commericial side of it,
and might benefit from a taste of the
bizarre. WCBN's Jazz Til Noon
program, which hits at 9 every week-
day morning, confronts the waking
individual with some vibrant, color-
ful, thought provoking Alternative
Jazzcasting. The jazz stacks cover a
formidable range, and the staff em-
ploy a healthy freeform attitude
toward the music. For these reasons
you might find Jelly Roll Morton
back-to-back with Cecil Taylor.
The spectrum of World Music is
constantly expanding. At WCBN, as
new releases enrich the selection in
the record library, your chances of
being surprised and educated are in-
creasing every day. There are folk
and country experts, including the
rockabilly expert Chris Daley, with
his pickup truck, slicked-back hair
and scratchy 45s; there's a wild assor-
tment of ethnic music, covering
African, South & Central American,
reggae, Germanic, Japanese,
Tibetan, Native American, Javanese,
Cajun and Tex-Mex, and really ust
about any culture which has been
recorded and made available. There
are people who specialize in music
from the British Isles, there's a
Progressive Soul Department, and a
small, dedicated circle of opera
freaks. Twentieth Century chamber
music, wiped-out manifestations from
the shaggy corners of the avant gar-
de, schizoid babble from god knows
where, it's all there. CBN is the
ultimate radio station, or can be, and
there are very few stations like it
anywhere.
The weekends are the wildest part
of the CBN schedule, for most of the
specialty shows cluster round Satur-
day and Sunday. There are also com-
pact, exciting specialty programs on
weeknights from 7 to 8.
The freedom to explore and prosper
with new combinations has made
WCBN a terrifically exciting listening
experience, and the "three turntables
going at once" phenomenom has
become a notorious trademark here
in Treetown. As you become a part of
Ann Arbor, you are encouraged to find
the right part of CBN for your tastes,
and to expand said tastes with
repeated exposure to the varied
possibilities of 88.3 FM.
In addition, if you are a University
of Michigan student, you can worm
your way into this Network and gain
fulfilling radio experience as a mem-
ber of the Campus Broadcasting Net-
work. Weekly record reviewing
meetings give newcomers and time-
worn DJs a chance to mingle and to
discuss the latest releases in all
genres. There's also an AM station in
the Network-WJJX. This station gets
piped into the dorms and certain
University buildings. They offer first-
hand experience in playing commer-
cially-oriented hits, and real-world-of-
broadcasting pastimes such as the
selling of ads.
The Campus Broadcasting Network
offers lots of opportunities in radio, if
you're interested. Call 763-3501 for
more information. Let that FM dial
wander off to the extreme left and see
where itgets you.

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