Archive for the ‘KFAI’ Category

KFAI Profile

January 24, 2009

Sometimes this blog has felt like an advertisement for our favorite radio station KFAI.  Well I’ll put another big plug in for the station here through a profile of MB that they recently did for their newsletter.  MB is even more of a KFAI fanatic than I am.  Read the profile then listen to KFAI! (Well, and feel free to support them while you”re at it).

Meet Mary Beth Freeman: KFAI Listener-Member

KFAI Network reporter Rebecca Lane had this email conversation with Listener-Member Mary Beth Freeman:

Mary Beth with Glenn

Rebecca Lane: How long have you been listening to KFAI?
Mary Beth Freeman: Since 1990. We had just moved to Minneapolis from Vermont. One of the first shows I remember is the Rockhouse, which remains a favorite. We lived in a basement apartment at the time, so I had to really fiddle with the antennae.

RL: What is your preferred format for listening – traditional radio, online, iPhone, Podcasts?
MBF: Online! After we lived in Minneapolis for 11 years, we moved to Gainesville, FL. It was imperative once we got there to set up high-speed cable internet in order to maintain the KFAI vibe. Even before we had the house set-up, we had KFAI ready to go. We had about a three-day delay once we moved to Cedar Rapids, IA—and that was rough.

RL: What keeps you listening to the station and continuing your support?
MBF: I love the community spirit and diversity of programming. I have learned so much about music and culture. KFAI brings the world to me. The staff and programmers are fantastic and generous in time, knowledge, and spirit.

RL: Favorite show?
MBF: Can it be a five-way tie? The Rockhouse, Bop Street, Sugar Shop, Fubar Omniverse, and Radio Rumpus Room.

RL: I think supporting KFAI is a strong form of community activism, do you agree? Why do you think it is important to support public airwaves?
MBF: Again, the community exhibits so much diversity and that’s captured in the programming at KFAI. Commercial airwaves are sterile and pre-programmed. There is no individuality and ownership back to the community. KFAI is steeped in the community.

RL: Can you share some examples of how you are able to apply what you hear on KFAI to your neighborhood, work, politics, lifestyle, worldview?
MBF: Right off the bat, I can tell you I have become well-versed in “birthdays in blue”-that helps me decide what CDs to select for the car. That’s important. Some days, the options are too plentiful. I enjoy that I have a learned a lot about world music, mostly thanks to Blanche. Down here in Iowa, we don’t get to see as much live music as we did in the cities, but we still get exposed to some international artists via our local Czech Social Club (aka CSPS). KFAI has taught me to explore the world. Music is a common thread.

RL: Has KFAI ever prompted you to participate or attend an event, concert, rally, etc. Tell us about it.
MBF: Heck yea! OK, I have to admit that I won quite a few free tickets while we lived in Minneapolis, and that helped. It’s great that programmers will spotlight upcoming artists. The Cedar brings in some great acts, some of which trickle down to us her in CR. Because of the oh-so-wonderful ARCHIVES—I am able to listen to that-much-more KFAI, and we often think of how much we would do/see this and that—if only we still lived in the cities. SIGH.

RL: What would you tell non-listeners about KFAI to encourage them to listen?
MBF: You can’t go wrong! There are programs for every taste—music, news, culture. I even enjoy pledge drive! How weird is that? You-all make it fun. We enjoy it so much that we pledge two times a year. We can’t help but get caught up in the euphoria.

RL: Our records show you listen all the way from Iowa! Why do you think the programming is still relevant to you in another state?
MBF: We just can’t find any comparable programming. We miss the cities so much, it’s like tuning in to hear our friends. Plus, we can still stay apprised of local events and issues. We may live in Cedar Rapids, IA, but our hearts are still in Minnesota.

RL: Other thoughts?
MBF: Glenn and I proudly wear our KFAI t-shirts and display our bumper stickers on each car—wherever we go. I am thrilled to be a part of this organization. Keep up the good work, and congratulations on the upgrade! And THANKS!

If you would like to tell your story in the KFAI Network, contact Pam Hill Kroyer by email, or by calling 612-341-3144 × 22.

The Best of KFAI

October 5, 2008

It’s the season of fundraising across the land.  As annoying as the process can be, I want to put in a plug for my favorite radio station, KFAI.  KFAI is publicly funded, but it is not a part of national public radio.  As such, it runs on a much smaller budget and does not follow the same boring fundraising scheme as NPR.  In fact, fundraising on KFAI is pretty fun, they still play plenty of good music and continue to joke around throughout.  I have supported public radio and tv for a long time as well as local stations such as KFAI.  I remember at one point, though, when I called Minnesota Public Radio to pledge of hundred bucks to which they said “So is that weekly or monthly.”  I tend to give a hundred bucks here or there to a variety of places, not $1,200 bucks to one place–and I like to give to places where they don’t have an audience they assume would be giving so much.  $100 to KFAI, I realized, means a lot more so I support them with more money, spending less on NPR.  In fact, I pledge religiously in both their fall and spring pledge drives.  So, I think in honor of this fall’s drive, I’d let those of you from other parts of the country know that you can listen to them any time now, live on the computer or on their archives for two weeks.  I haven’t lived in Minneapolis for a long time, but it’s still the radio station that feels like home to me.  Here they are, my top ten KFAI radio shows and suggested listening:

11. Ha! You thought I’d actually follow my own top-ten format. Radio Rumpus Room with Ron and Jean, Friday evenings from 9 to 10:30 is a garage-sale high-speed mixmaster missing its top, slinging a messy slop of surf, hot rod, ’60s garage, primal pop, primitive rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, psych and traditional twang since 1994. Classic.

10. Sonic Pleasure with Georgia. Early Monday mornings from 2 to 5 AM, some choice listening of old psychedelia with many tribute shows such as the Frank Zappa tribute or the recent monthlong Jerry Garcia festival.

9. The International Jazz Conspiracy. From 10:30 to 12 on Thursday evenings, this show will bring you just about anything, from Stockhausen to Beefheart to John Zorn. As host Emel Sherzad says, “Put ‘conspiracy’ in the title and you can play anything.”

8. Louisiana Rhythms. Friday mornings, 9 to 11, hosted by 4 alternating hosts: Karl Smelker, Eric Mohring, Maurine McCort & Mick Novak. They feature music from Louisiana, especially southwest Louisiana. That means lots of Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop, old and new. They’ll also sneak in some second line from New Orleans or some blues from Baton Rouge, or who knows what.

7. Dig Up the Roots. Tuesday mornings, 9 to 11, Dig Up the Roots explores the nether regions of roots music. This program showcases a wide variety of musical genres and styles from the earlier years of recorded music with tangents and threads spinning out in every direction. Host Greg Carr shows how the past doesn’t go away and how the ancient consumes the future.

6. The “Shake & Bake” show. Monday afternoons, 3 to 6 PM, the finest in world music, but as host Tony Paul says, “Isn’t all music world music?” Now on the air for 19 years, Paul says, “The idea is simple: no rules, no topics. If it’s good, we play it!”

5. The Dakota Dave Hull show. Thursday mornings, 9 to 11. Dakota Dave – an acoustic guitarist, recording artist and producer of national reputation – plows the soil, plumbs the roots, and trims the branches of a variety of traditions: Anglo-Celtic, Appalachian, Brazilian, Caribbean, jazz, blues, and more. One more show on which you’re likely to hear just about anything.

4. The Fubar Omniverse. Every Friday morning, 6 to 9 AM, Blanche presents an overwhelmingly appealing blend of funk, jazz and modern and ancient music with spiritual roots from around the world. And let’s not forget her weekly Brian Eno corner at 8 AM. Have I yet mentioned shows in which just about anything might fit in?

3. The Sugar Shop with Miss Lolly Obeda. Every Friday afternoon, drive time, 3 to 6 pm, Miss Lolly spins a fabulous blend of blues, rhythm & blues and sweet soul. No better way to start the weekend.

And now it gets really tough. We’re beyond really making meaningful distinctions about shows that are the best. But I’ve set myself up for it by making a top ten list haven’t I? Anyway, the following two shows are really tops, and if you’ve never heard them you should give them both a listen:

2. The Rockhouse, Thursday mornings from 6 to 9 with Brother Tad and Miss Sara, an audio amalgam of blues, rhythm & blues, and soul: spinning three hours of the good stuff for over 20 years now, this show never fails to surprise and entertain and enlighten and make the morning seem worthwhile. Encyclopedias of musical knowledge, it’s educational and danceable all at the same time.

1. And the number one show in my book goes to Bop Street with Pete Lee and a cast of pomaded thousands (and an ever-vigilant “research staff” of god knows how many) from the land of the round haircut. Mainly Rhythm & Blues, along with other sometimes only distantly related stuff, from the 1940s and 1950s: big voice blues shouters, honking tenor saxophones, fine – fine – superfine vocal group harmony, and powerful women of rhythm and blues. Another show that never fails to open up new musical worlds and idioms for me. Radio without Pete Lee would be like life without Tiny Bradshaw.

Any of these shows are always worth turning in to, along with such other honorable mentions as Freewheelin, Rhythm & Grooves, the Rocketship Ska Trip, Radio Antilles, Sabados Alegres, Good ‘N Country, and on and on. As they say, they’re the only station that changes the channel for you every hour. Give it a listen; maybe you’ll want to join the KFAI community too!