Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wired Magazine Has Good Taste

OK, so I was recently interviewed in Wired Magazine about Radio Valencia. Click here to read it.

I remember first seeing Wired Magazine back in the 90s. I knew then that this was a pretty cool magazine. The only problem was, I'm not a big teckie...tecky...techie? I can't even spell it correctly. Anyway, I didn't read it for long, only because I'm a user of technology, but not a creator of it. I should have given it more attention. I think I was written up in it back in the mid-90s when I was co-founder and Program Director of Radio Free Burning Man. I can't remember. They did do a feature story on Burning Man; that I do recall.

Our little community radio station, Radio Valencia, has been making some serious in-roads with the local music scene since we started in August 2010. It came as little surprise (though I was very flattered and thrilled) when Wired contributor Rick Paulas emailed me asking for an interview regarding the current state of radio, and the importance of pirate radio in a landscape where if the megacorps haven't bought up every frequency in sight, then the kids are just downloading music instead (legally or otherwise).

My response in the article is only a snippet of what I told him.

First, let me set the record straight, I am not the "head" of Radio Valencia. We are a co-operative. There is no leader of Radio Valencia. We all support our mission and vision, and we all work to support each other and our great community.

I've been in radio since my start at the College of San Mateo in 1988, where I took broadcasting classes and did board op at all Jazz KCSM 91.1FM. Though I was truly excited about my first chance to be on the air (something I've wanted to do since I was five years old, listening to AOR stations in Toledo, Ohio) I knew that as much as I like Jazz, I wanted to be a rock and roll DJ, hosting a morning show, where I get to choose the music and talk about what I the things that interest me. I quickly made the jump to the all-wonderful KFJC, where I hosted shows from 1988-1997. It was, to me, the greatest radio station west of East Rutherford, New Jersey.

To read more of my radio history, go here.

The reason I bring up my history is to tell a tale of one persons' desire to make it in the radio big time, just to realize what a horrible world commercial radio really is. After the Telecommunications Act of 1996 radio corporations began to buy up all the stations in the major markets. Thanks Bill Clinton. After a few years companies like Clear Channel and Viacom controlled the major commercial stations, and began to consolidate staff and programming decisions. No longer does a local station actually program locally. It's done out of an office nowhere near the station. They analyze data to see what music they can play that will bring in a large enough audience to support their sponsors.

The real nail in the coffin to local commercial was when Clear Channel-owned KMEL ended it's great locally-programmed show "Street Soldiers". This was a weekly show that brought in many community leaders, and students to talk about the struggles in the cities, and what they are doing to make a difference. Fear Channel felt this show wasn't conducive to big profits and canned it. They did bring it back, but only after a loud outcry from the community. See, the power of the people can't stop!

The homogenization of the radio landscape was complete.

While hosting a four-hour weekly morning show at KFJC I concurrently spent a year working the Sunday morning shift at KLLC-Alice 97.3FM in SF as a board operator (read: button monkey). My job was to play the music on the approved program list. It even told me the order to play it in and which commercials to play. No surprises there. I was also to play the pre-recorded Sunday morning public affairs show from 6-7AM. The host would interview people from your typical public affairs-type categories: authors, scientists, inventors, etc. But there was nothing controversial about the people at all. Also, since it was pre-recorded there were no phone calls from listeners with questions. Often times listeners would call the studio with a question, or to tell me how lame the interview was, and I would have to tell them that it wasn't live. I wasn't disappointed when they laid me off, because the woman I was filling in for was coming back from maternity leave, WHICH they never told me about in the first place. I knew I should have thrown an f-bomb in there. Oh but wait, they never let me talk on the air, even though I was already hosting shows at KFJC for years. That makes sense.

I had to thank Julie the program director, whom I helped train at KFJC, btw, for letting me go. Really. I told her that after a lifetime of dreaming of being a huge rock and roll DJ, and even hosting morning radio shows at KFJC before my tenure at Alice, I knew for a fact that there was no way in hell I would ever stoop so low as to want to host a radio show on a station that cares more for where the commercials are placed, and not at all for their listeners. What a joke they were. The music is selected to please the lowest common denominator. It's insulting.

Commercial radio is insulting.

Radio is an art form. Radio is about connecting your listener to the music your playing, the person your interviewing, the event your announcing. Radio should be an immediate experience. Radio is about taking risks. So many times I've gone into the studio with arms full of LPs, CDs, MP3s, not really knowing the order of music I'll be playing, but knowing that my pallet is full of many different colors. Two hours later I come out with an aural display that is unlike anything you could ever consider hearing on any commercial station in the nation. I'm proud of that.

I'm not the best DJ in the world; probably not the best DJ at Radio Valencia, but I love having a venue where I know that I'm supporting my local community, and my local community knows they have a voice in our radio station.

Radio Valencia is the best radio station west of East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Every show on Radio Valencia is AMAZING! I mean that. I love listening to a station where I may know the style of music or public affairs the host prefers, but I still don't know how they're going to present it. I may not like every song in their set, but I'll stick around knowing that I'll like most, and I'll support their show by going out and buying the music they play, or seeing the band live, or buying the book, or seeing the small-budget film.

The media has a responsibility to support the local community. How do the big corporate radio giants do this? Oh, they'll tell you about the money they give, and the events they table, but these are rarely ever for truly local events. It's usually for other local big corporate events. "Clear Channel supports Bank of America Kids Day at the park" or something like that.

Our mission is to play the best music we can find, from local and /or indie bands of all genres, interview people from all walks of life, support local events by announcing it on the air, and hopefully be in attendance. Our vision is to be the most-listened to, most depended upon radio station in SF five years from now. I don't know how that couldn't happen.

Take a risk on media that supports its local community.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Season in Hell #77: Radio Valencia: A Good Dub Night To You

Looking at my vast collection of music tonight, I noticed that it's been a while since I've gone the Dub route. Mik-em on Can Haz DJ, Tuesdays 10-midnight, hosted a month of Dub this February. Perhaps I've been inspired? Sure, whatever.

As usual, lots of great new music, and closed out with some live treats, including brand spanking new Heartless Bastards.

Stream the show here.
Download the show here.
Check out all of my archived shows here, or scroll down for playlists and links.



It's Hard to be Humble: Mac Davis

The War on Wisdom: The Melvins
Mary Lou: Black Mountain

Black Smoke Rise: Wooden Shjips
Casino El Camino (parte 1): Guadalupe Plata
Tu. la la: Boris

Faithful Man: Lee Fields & The Expressions

No Bones for the Dogs: Joe Gibbs & the Professionals
Spliff's B-Sides
Fire Dub: Israel Vibration
I Am Not Ashamed: The Mighty Two
Kung Fu: Lee Perry

Bankrobber/Robber Dub: The Clash
Spliff's B-Sides
Jab: The Scientist

Cortez the Killer: Neil Young (11/22/76 late show)
Sway: Heartless Bastards (02/24/12)

Roscoe: Midlake (11/01/06)
I Wish I Were in New Orleans: Tom Waits (11/12/85)

I Left my Heart in San Francisco: Tony Bennett

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Season in Hell #76: Radio Valencia: John Hell is Annoying

Valentines day is tomorrow and my love is 3200 miles away. She's been gone for two weeks. Her sweet, loving father just passed away from colon cancer. He was diagnosed two weeks ago. Get a colonoscopy everyone. It'll save your life.

Anyway, I'm lonely and feeling a bit annoyed with the fact that the Hallmark LOVE holiday is here. So, I thought I would annoy you for two hours with loud "music".

Also, what the hell is the deal with the Grammy's? The only point to this show is for Clive Davis to sell more music. Really, that's it. The best selling music of the year, as pushed by music promoters that do not live in the same town as the radio stations they are programming, is awarded, which then leads to more sales. I'm sure the artists can make a lot of money off of this, but most of it goes to the industry execs.

Did Adelle deserve all the awards she won? I don't know. As far as the Grammy's are concerned, sure. Why not? Who cares?

I do have a lot of respect for best new artist of the year, Bon Iver, as he told an excited audience that there are a lot of musicians out there that are more deserving than him. Amen, brother. Amen.

From the Washington Post article: "Those who did know the band praised frontman Justin Vernon for his humble acceptance speech. “It’s hard to accept because when I started to make songs, I did it for the inherent reward of making songs, so I’m a little bit uncomfortable up here,” he said. “I want to say thank you to all of the nominees, to all of the non-nominees that have never been here and never will be here, all the bands I toured with, all of the bands that inspired me.” "

And KFOG sucks ass. Have you noticed how they've gotten worse and worse all the time? I mean how much worse can they get? They haven't been good since they had Em Dung on doing the mornings with Scoop Nisker and Kevin the Rat, back in the 80s. for those of you who love Em, he's on Radio Valencia, Sundays 10-midnight now. HA!!!!


Download it here.
Stream it here.
See all of my shows by scrolling down, or clicking here.

Born to be Wild: Steppenwolf (In tribute to Paul Goerz. RIP)
Revolve: Melvins

Afterburner: Boris
Book 1, Page 15: Fantomas
Disgraceland: Zeni Geva

Concert Outlook

Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict: Pink Floyd
Hurry up and Wait: R.U.O.K.?
1: Porn~Merzbow
Feral: Tchkung

Liquorball Live
Snuff: Slayer
D. Popylepis: John Zorn's Cobra
Snagglepuss: Naked City

Om: John Coltrane
Feedback: Grateful Dead (02-14-68)

I Left My Heart in San Francisco: Tony Bennett

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Ask Dr. Hal Show, This Saturday Night

I'm proud to announce that I'm hosting the Ask Dr. Hal show this Saturday night, doors at 8, at Viracocha, 998 Valencia St., at 21st, in San Francisco.

From the good Dr.:
The Church of the SubGeniusTM
Associated Artists & Viracocha
=====ASK DR. HAL! =====
Forms of things Unknown
Saturday, February 11 th
VIRACOCHA - 998 Valencia St.
Admission $10.00
Doors Open 8:00 PM - Show begins 8:30 PM

=======You Can't Keep a Good Show Down=======
Prophetic & Oracular Answers Given-- to Any Question!

The Ask Dr. Hal! show is coming back-- at a new location!
For the time being, we have parted ways with Chez Poulet and now offer our
February Preview Show at Viracocha, a cozy, tucked-away performance
space at 998 Valencia Street, the corner of 21st & Valencia.
We believe Viracocha is a good fit for our show, and that our regular &
expanding audience will enjoy its comfortable atmosphere and amenities.
And for this & future shows we're reviving the older tradition of pre-shows
and opening acts.
The programme is planned to please-- our first presentation of Ask
Dr. Hal! will feature NYC's Zero Boy as an opening act.

Zero Boy
"Zero Boy is the Elvis of the onomatopoeia, a man who has taken a
Junior High school lunchroom skill and raised and refined it to high art.
No one can touch him at what he does, yet it is impossible to use words to
tell you what that is. He has been called a vocal cartoonist, but he is much
more like a vocal cartoon...
"While he has done heaps of radio (notably National Public Radio's
Next Big Thing, where he’s had a regular feature called “Stump Zero Boy”),
his gift is not only aural but physical. Seeing him live is best. In a way, his
skill is cinematic. He uses his voice, hands and face to make your mind’s
eye see a picture... He has created an entirely unique theatre form."

Featuring the eerie powers of
Dr. Howland Owll
With your host JOHN HELL of Radio Valencia
With Patented "Eyenoise," Special Visual Effects,
Monster Clips, Soundscape & Musical Direction by
Science Department: PETE GOLDIE
Girl Friday: SPY EMERSON
With Special Guest Star ZERO BOY
====== Come One, Come All! =========
Ask Dr. Hal! founded by Chicken John Rinaldi in 1998. A popular favorite for 12 years in varied cities & venues.
A legendary performance. Scientific. Educational. NOT for children & those easily shocked. A memorable night out.
"Ask & ye shall receive." No refunds. Come on time to see the opening acts. Bill is long & we cannot delay curtain. Show
will end before Midnight. Do YOU have a variety act you would like to perform to open for us? Now taking submissions.
Telephone our booking office at
(415) 642-6312. Viracocha information hotline: (415) 374-7048. WATCH Ask Dr. Hal! on You
Tube on the Puzzling Evidence Channel. HEAR Ask Dr. Hal! on San francisco's best Pirate Radio station, listener-supported
Radio Valencia.FM

Monday, February 06, 2012

A Season in Hell #75: Radio Valencia: I'm Gonna Funk You Up!

In tribute to Don Cornelius, I'm playing nothing but funk and soul tonight. I've got a lot of each.

Click here to stream.
Click here to download.
Click here to see all of my shows, or just keep scrolling down. You know you want to go down. I don't blame you.


It's Hard to Be Humble: Mac Davis
I Feel Good: James Brown
Down on my luck: Wardell Howard

The Hands of Time: The Perfect Circle
I Call My Pussycat: Parliament

Memphis Soul Stew: Funkgus
Darkest Light: Lafayette Afro Rock Band
The First Thing I Do In The Morning: Joyce Williams
The Rockin' Judge: Judge Suds & The Soul Detergents

Pass the Peas: JBs
Can't Fight The Feeling: Norwich Street Extension
Kick the Habit: Prophet Soul
I Who Have Nothing: Ray Frazier & The Shades Of Man
Going Down For The Last Time: Ronnie Keaton

Here I Am Baby: Al Green live on Soul Train 1974
Stone Junkie: Curtis Mayfield 07-06-72
Proud Mary: Ike and Tine Turner (Soul Train)

Handclapping Song: The Meters
Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further: Lee Dorsey
Big Chief: Professor Longhair
Free, Single & Disengaged: Huey 'Piano' Smith & His Clowns

Get Out Of My Life Woman: Allen Toussant
Dap Walk: Ernie & The Top Notes
The Twitch: Danny White
Mama Roux: Dr. John

Use Me: Bill Withers
Superstition: Stevie Wonder (03-04-73)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Radio Valencia DJs Assemble!

We had a Radio Valencia meeting this afternoon. Lot's of great work was done. We have a lot of amazing people working with our station. Be ready to hear more about San Francisco's best radio alternative.

In the meantime, listen to us blather about our shows.

Radio Valencia DJs Assemble!