It’s been some time since I’ve been behind the mic on a radio station. I remember my first radio gig in 1984. I did an internship in my senior year of high school at WCAS 740 AM in Cambridge, MA. On air since the early ’70s, the station changed hands around 1980 or 1981. According to a historical post about WCAS on BostonRadio.org, the station was in bankruptcy proceedings by late 1983. But, I remember the owner, Floyd Williams, who also operated the Floyd A. Williams Funeral Home in Dorchester, MA. He was as colorful character as a radio station owner could be. Certainly a nice man who was appreciative of my contribution at the station.
It came about after I’d met one of the station’s DJs, Marc Harris, while waiting for the bus from North Cambridge Harvard Square at a stop on Massachusetts Avenue in Porter Square, which was directly in front of the office building that housed the station. We struck up a conversation about music, DJing, and radio. At the time, my high school, the now defunct North Cambridge Catholic, launched a senior high school internship program. For the last three months of senior year, students could intern for credit at a local business. I expressed my interest in interning at the station and Marc invited me to apply.
Because of the distance an AM signal can travel at night as the waveform bounces off the earth’s atmosphere, the station ceased broadcasting at sundown each day. WCAS competed with another AM station across town. The more popular and well-known, WILD. Both were Black-owned stations programming a Soul/R&B format.
Even though the station was small, it was a great opportunity to get involved in music and broadcasting. Inspired by my time working at the station, I applied to attend a small two-year radio program for radio and television broadcasting at Elizabeth Seton College in Yonkers, NY, where I would produce a weekly show on the college’s low-power FM radio station. That was 1986 and the last time I would actually sit in the host chair. My interest shifted from broadcasting to DJing in clubs and bars around Boston. It was a quicker path to making money and that was more important at the time.
It’s been 29-years since I’ve sat in the host chair at a radio station. While radio remains relevant, it it’s been weakened by the transition of terrestrial broadcasting to streaming over the Internet. But, where the Internet is global, radio does a great job at local. And, with most mobile phone companies eliminating unlimited data plans, the cost of streaming over mobile has risen, which helps terrestrial radio maintain a hold on the automobile dashboard.
With great foresight, I saw the shift combine in the early 90s and that inspired the domain this website resides on: netmix.co/netmix. I launched Netmix in late ’95 as a streaming Internet mix-show website. Most of the webcasts were pre-recorded and there were not hosts, so it wasn’t necessarily the model for Internet radio, but it was a hybrid with its roots in broadcast as well as the web.
Over the years, I’ve been involved in streaming one way or another.
Fast forward to today and here I am on AshevilleFM.org. Currently an Internet-only radio station, the non-profit recently applied for a Low Power FM license to run a 100-watt station. With its broadcast antennae powering the signal from atop the Indigo Hotel in downtown Asheville, AshevilleFM.org will inherit the call letters, WSFM, as well as the extension, LP-FM (for “low power FM). In just a short time, the station will begin add an over-the-air broadcast at 103.3 on the radio dial. Local businesses will be able to sponsor shows and the station will groom and grow a much needed alternative voice and format to serve the Asheville community.
My new show, the Asheville House Music Society, airs every Sunday morning from 12:00 am to 2:00 am EST. I launched the show intending to expose more house music to the Asheville community, which traditionally supports other electronic music genres like Drum’n’Bass, Breakbeat, as well as more avant-garde electronic sounds.
Each week, we feature new music in a continuous mix format, but the goal is to use the show to focus on and develop Asheville’s House Music scene. I interview local DJ/Producers, artists, promoters, venue owners, and other influencers. The show and playlist are immediately archived on the show page once the live broadcast completes.
In a few short weeks, the show will be simulcast on the web and over the air in Asheville. I’m really excited to have a house music show over the air, dedicated to promoting the culture in the region.
You can also get the Asheville House Music Society on TuneIn Radio here:
You can also catch me offline and off air monthly at The Nightbell, 32 Lexington Avenue, spinning deep and tech house from 10:30 until close.