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September 06, 2000 - Image 53

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-06

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New Student Edition


i .


4~ ~~ A~A A~A~A ~~. ~~AAA ~ A A -


WCBN sounds quality college radio

.Do the right
thin g: turn of
your radio
S ome things in this world constantly amaze me. How
did David Arquette become an actor? Who is respon-
sible for cancelling "Airwolf?" Where the hell is Waldo?
Does anyone actually read these columns? If "train A
leaves station A at time X and train B leaves station B ...
well, you get the picture.
Rock radio is another phenomenon that constantly has
me questioning life as we know it. And no, I'm not talk-
ing about the fact that all these strange and often times
obnoxious sounds come out of a little black box at the
touch of a button. That's always mystified me, too.
I'm talking about the fact that when it comes to listen-
*ng to rock radio, the listener has about as much choice
in what they're going to hear as politicians do about
lying to the electorate. Some things in this world are
Let's face it: no matter how "alternative" a specific
station claims to be, all they really are is a mainstream
profit-hungry entity, hell-bent on recycling the latest alt-
rock top 40 trash that MTV keeps telling you is the
greatest thing since the invention of the internet-ready
refrigerator (yes, they do exist). And people, you simply
believe them without asking questions.
No rock radio station, despite boasting the ability to
play what you, the discriminating listener, "won't hear
anywhere else;" actually plays what you won't hear any-
where else. It's not humanly possible.
Because if they did that, if they didn't recycle the same
five songs 10 times per hour, they wouldn't make any
money. And wouldn't that be a shame?
Not really.
Yeah, I know, rock stations are in business to make
money. That's why they're called businesses. They sell
time in which to air ads that get run about five million
times a day. And that's what allows them to play the
.great" music you hear. But does the cheese stand alone
on this one or am I the only soul on this planet that's
going to jump out a window if I hear Korn and Ricky
Martin one more time?
"But that's not all they play" you answer in your ultra-
defensive "hey, that's my favorite band!" voice.
I yield, valiant audiophile. You're right. They don't only
play Ricky Martin and Korn. The name of the game, after
making money in the radio business is called "variations
on a theme." Find something that kids will listen to, bring
,n the ratings and then beat it to death. That'll get 'em. So
4stead of playing Korn for 12 hours and mi amigo Ricky
for the other half of the day, the stations round up ringers
like Orgy, Limp Bizkit, Enrique Iglesias and Marc Antony
to kill time between commercials. Do I even dare mention
the sacred words "boy band" here?
I have to be straight about one thing. And I am not
making this up: I had to do research for the next couple
of sentences in this article to find out which bands are
currently "topping the charts" (for whatever charts are
worth). I rarely listen to the radio. The only reason I
know that N' Sync sing a song called "Bye, Bye, Bye" is
because a few friends have told me so and I looked it up
confirm the fact.
I turn on the black box in my car only once in a great
while. If I have to settle for listening to Marconi's mar-
velous invention, my dial is immediately set on public
radio. Robert Siegel and the guys from Car Talk rock my
world. When it comes to rock radio, I've adopted a
Nancy Reagan-esque stance: just say no.
The point I would like to stress here, ladies and gen-
tlemen, is that it is possible to live a nearly rock radio-
free existence. In fact, I contend that it's healthy for you.
Forget those tiring hours with that overpriced bowflex.
*ou'll feel better about yourself once you snap the anten-
na off your car and smash your clock radio with a very
large rock.
You'll feel energized, relaxed and most of all, clear-
headed. The grass will seem greener and the sun will
shine that much brighter over your newly halo-clad nog-
gin. The spring in your step will be noticeable as you
bound from lamp post to lamp post on a drizzling sum-
mer night belting out the chorus from "Singin' In the
Rain" (since those are the only lyrics anyone can remem-
ber from the song).
And after the clouds have lifted and you've been liber-
ed from rock radio hell, my next suggestion is this:
alk into your local record store and start thinking for
yourself. Talk to some friends, tool around the Internet,
check out a concert and buy a record put out by a band
that you know nothing about.

Listen to an MP3 or two and discover a singer for your-
self. Don't let some distant voice in a little black box tell
you what the next big thing is going to be, find out on your
own. Sure, it'll take some work. You might have to read
something or ask a few questions. But it'll be worth it.
That way, if you find out what the next big thing is
fore the DJ's do, you can.tell all your friends "yeah,
they're huge now, but I used to listen to them back in the
day. I'm a real fan."
Make sure it's not something that's been cross-pro-
moted on your morning box of Corn Flakes or featured
on the cover of Tiger Beat magazine. Make a decision
without any influence from the buzz of your radio for

By Sara Fedewa
Daily Staff Reporter
Modestly located in the basement of the
Student Activities Building is a radio sta-
tion once hailed by Rolling Stone
Magazine as one of the six best college
radio stations on the web - the
University's own student-run WCBN.
Operated almost entirely by students,
WCBN's top priority is providing the lis-
tener with a unique experience by intro-
ducing them to a variety of artists and
musical genres that would not normally
be heard on the radio.
"We're here to break the mainstream
mold of music," said general manager and
University student, Nick Farr.
Unlike many commercialized radio sta-
tions, WCBN does not limit themselves to
only one genre of music. The station high-
lights blues, country, folk, hip-hop, inter-

national, reggae, rock and soul and just
about anything else that is new and may
not have been discovered by its audience.
The station receives albums from vari-
ous record labels which staff and mem-
bers of the University community review,
explained music director and LSA junior
Ben Tausig.
These reviews are open to anyone who
is willing to take home a CD for a week,
listen to it and then talk with the station
members about their personal likes, dis-
likes and overall impression of the album.
Tausig explained that this is the way
that many station members first become
involved, as the reviews provide an oppor-
tunity to listen to and learn about a variety
of music types.
Becoming involved is an easy process,
according to Tausig. The only thing that
one must do is come to the station and
express an interest.

"We don't turn away anybody who real-
ly wants to get on the radio," said Farr.
A prospective member of the station
would undergo a short training process in
which they would be oriented to the
equipment and the vast library of music
that the station possesses. From there, the
student would be expected to make a
demo tape, which is basically an example
of what they would do if they had their
own show.
Tausig explained that the staff is looking
for someone who can demonstrate the
ability to connect a wide variety of music
"Since we play every kind of music you
can't already hear on the radio, we demand
you play all different kinds of music you
can't already hear on the radio in your
demo tape," said Farr. "It's all about
exploring music you don't know about,
and if you're willing to show us you can do

that, you're guaranteed to get in."
Once one has produced a demo tape
that is accepted by the staff, that person
would begin to sit in with another DJ in
order to learn more about doing an on-air
show. Shortly after that, the new member
is given his or her own freeform radio
show, a style that the station relies heavi-
ly on.
"In a freeform show, the DJ has com-
plete freedom," Tausig explained.
The host of a freeform show can play
whatever musical types or artists he or she
desires, as long as they are playing a wide
array of music.
Aaron Goodman, an LSA junior and
member of WCBN, is a host of a freeform
show, Surrender to the Flow. He said that
one of his primary motivations for joining
WCBN came from a desire to share the
music that he liked with others.
See WCBN, Page 2D

By Jason Birchmeier
Daily Arts Writer
Detroit's rejuvenated electronic music scene emerged from the
shadows this past Memorial Day weekend at the inaugural
Detroit Electronic Music Festival. Featuring over 70 artists, four
stages of non-stop music, a plethora of all-night afterparties and
approximately 1.5 million people in attendance, it's safe to say
that the DEMF exceeded anyone's expectations.
After conceiving the genre more than 15 years ago, Detroit has
become known as the world's premier mecca for techno music.
-Unfortunately, while the rest of the world may speak of Detroit
as an exotic techno wonderland, the city and its residents have
seldom shared this sentiment. In fact, Detroit's police force and
media have instead bastardized Detroit's electronic music scene
by focusing exclusively on the degenerate elements of the rave
scene with its underage attendants and its infamous reputation as
a realm of excessive hedonism.
The DEMF served as a massive step towards reversing the
scene's image. The Detroit Free Press and other local media
extensively covered the event, celebrating its success and high-
lighting many of the artists. The police force enjoyed the utter
lack of Woodstock-like hostility along with the lack of drug
related incidents. Even Mayor Archer paid a visit to Hart Plaza to
offer his regards.
Many of the 1.5 million people swarming downtown Detroit
were unfamiliar with techno superstars such as Derrick May and
Richie Hawtin. One could sense the awe many newcomers expe-
rienced as one amazing DJ after another blazed through stacks of
classic dance records. Once unknown to anyone except those
immersed in the local electronic music scene, DJs such as
Rolando, Theo Parrish, DJ Assault and DJ Godfather had won
legions of new fans by the conclusion of the weekend.
Of course, even though it may have been somewhat of an
undiscovered secret of the elite, electronic music has always
thrived in Detroit. Since the mid-'80s, when young DJ/producers
such as May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson merged Chicago
House with Euro-dance and the latest technology to create a new
style of music they called "techno,".the city has been a breeding
ground for innovation.
By the end of the '80s, a growing camp of dedicated techno
artists and DJs had started their own club called The Music
Institute. At this now-legendary club, the DJs would play the lat-
est Detroit techno records for the crowd, enabling the producers
to get instant feedback about what sounds worked on the dance-
floor. This club not only made people such as May stars, but also
functioned as the breeding ground for a new camp of techno-
See DEMF, Page 2D

ABOVE: A DJ shows
his skIlls at the turnta-
bles during the Inau-
gural Detroit
Electronic Music
Festival in Detroit,
LEFT: More than 1.5
million people of all
ages, from city resi-
dents to global trav-
ellers, flocked to
Detroit's Hart Plaza
for three days =of fes-
tivities over the
Memorial Day week-

Campus boasts Vanety of music stores

By David Reamer
Daily Arts Writer

Of the many good reasons to go to col-
lege (education, new people, parties), one
reason that is certainly valid but rarely
mentioned is a simple, universal truth:
Where students go, music follows. From
college rock bands to used record stores,
music follows college students with the
accuracy and persistence of a blood-
This university is by no means an
exception to this rule. With nearly a dozen
record stores within walking distance of
campus, and several more just a short
drive or bus ride away, Ann Arbor is a
haven for music fans of all types. Genres
from mainstream and indie rock to classi-
cal to marching band performances can
all be found, both new and used, some-
where on campus. The real trick is know-
ing where to look for your particular
musical needs.
Until recently, the two largest and most

ping by these two stores changed on June
25 when Tower closed its doors at its
South University location. Store represen-
tatives said that the record store is cur-
rently seeking residence somewhere else
on campus but is unsure whether or not it
will be able to find one.
The other corporate rival, though, has a
similar selection of music and a variety of
other products to entice prospective buy-
ers. Borders Books and Music, located on
E. Liberty, dedicates most of its upper
story to compact discs in nearly all con-
ceivable fields of music. In addition to its
stock of roughly 50,000 titles on CD, the
music department offers accessories like
headphones and towers to store discs, cas-
settes and movies.
If you're looking for someplace to pick
up the new Mannheim Steamroller
Christmas album and browse for a book
on Aztec society, Borders is the place to
If you're looking to make some money
off of old CDs, however, look elsewhere.
Rnnprcis nP f tn fxy hnn inAnn.

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