Thursday, July 21, 2005

The One AM Radio

One of the things I hope to accomplish with this blog, as well as my radio broadcasts, is to broaden readers' / listeners musical horizons. I want to turn people on to the very overlooked indie "band" The One AM Radio. The One AM Radio is the moniker of songwriter / musician Hrishikesh Hirway & occasional guests. His songs are heartfelt, introspective, bordering on melancholy and minimalism ... with beautiful melodies and sentiments, sometimes swells of strings or (mostly) unintrusive electronic effects.

I've managed to obtain most of The One AM Radio's recordings (several are out of print). "Night Falls" is my favorite, a split CD-EP with the Wind-Up Bird and its standout track "All That I Can Recall Is the Haunting":

i could not see the horizon
the seas had swallowed up the skies
the wind died down, and the world turned silent
the fog rolled back before my eyes
diffuse blue light swelled all around us
like water at once both clear and deep
i called to you over and over,
but you would not come out from sleep
voices rose up in a chorus
in a song of longing and what could be
i closed my eyes, but i could see you
oh Light, please stay with me.

For more info on The One AM Radio including mp3 downloads visit

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Radio Free Brattleboro cd

Given everything that Radio Free Brattleboro is going through right now, it would be a good time to show them some support & pick up a copy of the RFB Live In-Studio Performances CD available at This compilation has been a favorite of mine since its release and includes the following tracks:

1) Smiley Bob Project - Radio Free
2) Paul Barrere & Fred Tackett of Little Feat - Down on the Farm
3) Greg Brown - Bucket
4) Louise Taylor - Call My Name
5) Darryl Purpose - A Crooked Line
6) Bethanie w/Phil Bloch - Water Run Deep and Wide
7) Adrian Crowley - A Northern Country
8) Derrik Jordan - Invitation to Ecstasy
9) John Hughes - Bamba Bojang
10) California Guitar Trio - Circulation
11) Euphony Groove - Bemoan
12) Ill Wind Ensemble - Broken Chord
13) Elevator Tribe - Static Between the Stations
14) Mountain of Venus - The Bridge
15) Relative Strangers - Same Undone
16) Gordon Stone & Michael Daves w/Phil Bloch - Sunday Driver
17) Dexter Grove - 3 am
18) Reed Foehl & Putnam Murdock - Come September
19) The Mammals - Quite Early Morning

Every track on this compilation is excellent. It starts out with a rolicking free radio folk anthem by the Smiley Bob Project which I have played many times on Seldom Heard Radio & the cd just evolves from there. With music as diverse and enjoyable as this emanating from the airwaves, radio is alive again. Alas, the fate of Radio Free Brattleboro hangs in the balance
of the courts. For the latest:

The history and evolution of Seldom Heard Radio part one

Deep in the recesses of my childhood memories, I spent many hours exploring my father’s “cavern” in the basement of our suburban house – his electronic repair shop, which smelled of must and damp and solder. His work benches were strewn with the chasis of televisions & radios, and mysterious tubes of all sizes. At some point in my early childhood – I think it was around the age of eight, I simultaneously started collecting 7” vinyl records (the first record I ever bought was Atlantis by Donovan)… and heard a shortwave radio which had been brought in for repairs. The deep tones and unfamiliar languages intrigued me, as did the static and strange noises between the stations. The airwaves were alive.

This is one of the hazards of starting a “blog” … it’s part journal, part news, part advocating. This whole musing was triggered by a letter from John Campbell of Devon, UK who heard Seldom Heard Radio on 6235 kHz in April via Jolly Roger Radio International in Ireland. He said, in part “I’ll be very interested in … any information about the history and style of programming of your station …”Alas, John, you may get more information in these posts than you expected!

My initial encounter with shortwave was quickly forgotten, unfortunately, as I focused on “dx’ing” (distance listening) medium wave (AM band) stations in the US. As a child I spent hours tuning in stations from as far away as Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Nashville, Canada and even Mexico. Around this time, my local AM station, WFEA had a sort of underground 60s pop and rock format, and I became determined to hang out at the station if I could. I rode the five miles across the river on my bike, and found that a couple of DJs would actually talk to me! Years later I learned that my father had played cowboy music live on WFEA in the late 1930s before he was stationed in India during World War II..

As I became ten, eleven, twelve, friends of mine & I would play “DJ”, rigging up homemade Radio Shack transmitters, or recording music and shows onto monolithic tape recorders. Back then we could get an AM signal out almost a quarter of a mile by rigging our crystal set … and we were triumphant. Thus the seeds of Seldom Heard Radio were planted …

Monday, July 18, 2005

The history and evolution of Seldom Heard Radio part two

In the summer of 1977, I spent two months at the University of New Hampshire taking summer courses. Immediately, I gravitated toward the radio station, WUNH, which I discovered was being run by a scruffy looking guy with a two day old beard who didn’t speak much but would run in every few minutes to throw on another record. When I offered to help him out, he was thrilled --- I could play any music I wanted but had to play requests if anyone called. No problem.

I felt like I had just been handed the keys to the kingdom and embarked on doing something I always wanted to do if given the chance to be a DJ --- play entire LPs at a time. So listeners to 91.3 that summer were treated to my already eclectic taste in music --- From the Mars Hotel by the Grateful Dead … Mike Oldfield’s Tubular BellsEat a Peach by the Allman Brothers … Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks … the phone rang several times a day but not for requests … people were calling thanking me for playing certain LPs or just for playing music they couldn’t hear on other stations. I was delighted.

By 1978 I was becoming a serious teenager and thinking of college, work, and more work. I didn’t have much to do with radio except for listening to WSLE, a freeform community station in Peterboro NH, where in the course of an hour one could hear local musicians, acoustic music, celtic, reggae, rock, and even jazz. It was sweet bliss until WSLE was sold in 1981 and the format changed to … disco! There was so much outrage from listeners in New Hampshire and Vermont that a non-profit was formed, Concerned Citizens for Responsible Radio, to protest the sale and see what could be done to restore WSLE to its rightful “format”. Legend has it that Tim Tobin, one of the WSLE DJs, on his last shift played “Stairway to Heaven” and drove away from the studio, letting the turntable drift out to the LP’s end grooves, and all that could be heard on the frequency (92.1) until the new station owner arrived was the steady static of ‘click click click’ at the end of the record.

The Seldom Heard Radio story picks up again in 1999 … but that’s another post.

The history and evolution of Seldom Heard Radio part 3

In Y2K, the Universe converged to lead me back to my intrigue with radio. Quite by accident, in the early part of the year, I noticed a program guide for the local college station, WSCS, in the weekly shopper that arrives in the mail like clockwork each Thursday. I had never heard of WSCS and decided to give the station a listen. Looking over the program schedule I was hooked --- no commercials, new age and celtic music, folk shows, WSCS had to be special. And I felt I had something to offer via my eclectic knowledge of music.

I wrote a letter to the Program Director offering my services as a volunteer DJ. Within a week, he called, we arranged to meet, and before I knew it, I was trained in the stations policies and equipment and running a broadcast of my own every Sunday.

But what to call the show? Color Wheel Radio (after the literary journal I co-edit)? I wanted to play mostly obscure music, artists rarely heard on the airwaves. Numerous names floated through my mind … then I thought (bizarrely) of a old bluegrass / country band called the Seldom Scene … and since the music I wanted to feature was seldom heard … the pun stuck and the name was born. Life was good, the tunes were awesome, and little did I realize the realm of shortwave radio was waiting for my rediscovery …

The history and evolution of Seldom Heard Radio part four

Just as Seldom Heard Radio was debuting on WSCS in 2000, I was re-connecting and rediscovering the magic of radio on so many levels --- learning about propagation, the physical properties of electricity, production of radio waves, etc … I started researching radio stations and broadcasting alternatives around the world … and rediscovered shortwave listening.

My first shortwave radio was a Radio Shack DX 394 which miraculously brought back all of the bleeps and squelches and static-filled sizzles of my childhood radios. Within weeks I decided that I had to bring Seldom Heard Radio and other projects to the shortwave spectrum. Within another few weeks I was creating programs for broadcast on WBCQ The Planet (7415 kHz) and WRMI (7385 kHz). These were very low-tech homemade shows full of obscure music and minimal announcing. On WRMI I experiment with other formats including co-producing a show called "The Drive-In Double Feature" with DIY shortwave host B-Movie Bob, where we played and discussed music from B movies of the 50s, 60s & 70's.

Listener response was sporadic yet positive, and soon I had extended Seldom Heard Radio to shortwave in Europe via Radio 510 International. From Europe, the floodgates of listener feedback opened, and I received dozens of letters from happy (if somewhat musically perplexed and bewildered) listeners. Correspondence arrived from Germany, Sweden, Norway, Italy, England, Belgium, the Netherlands. People in Europe seem to take radio more seriously, and, also seem more motivated to make it more of a two-way exchange of communication. I was delighted.

Over the course of a few short years life and activity and energy levels intervened and I decreased the shortwave broadcasts to focus on production of my local FM program. Yet Seldom Heard Radio was going to evolve again … via the internet and Radio Lavalamp. Stay tuned for that chapter … and more.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Dx'ing with Cumbre

Part of the purpose of this blog is to encourage people to learn about and take an interest in shortwave radio. One of the best programs in production related to what's happening in shortwave is Dx'ing with Cumbre. The show is hosted by Marie Lamb and contains a wealth of listening tips and up-to-date information on stations and programs broadcasting on the shortwave spectrum. For more information surf to on where and when you can hear this weekly program or for streaming audio.

Media Minutes

Every week during my broadcast I include the five minute news update called Media Minutes. Hosted by John Anderson and Kimberlie Kranich, Media Minutes focuses on the latest info regarding FCC regulations and policies, legislative and legal issues, Low Power FM stations, PBS and NPR, telecommunications coporations, microbroadcasting, and trends in commercial and non-commercial media. The program is free to download at