Tag Archives: Music

Music Radio and its Many Styles

We’re finally back to the music.

Click here for this week’s episode.

After a few weeks of Marot Memos only, I produced a fun, varied music show – only to include the wrong link! You may have noticed last week that if you clicked on the hyperlink, it went to the old Russell Baker show. Rather than put you behind the 8-ball this week with another new episode, I’m linking to the right one this time. 

This may not mean anything to you, but if it does, it’s worth saying. My love of music is pretty diverse – rock ‘n’ roll, folk rock, soul, Motown, jazz, I could go on. But one style of radio that I like is the FM rock radio of the late 60s/early 70s. It kind of fits my vibe as a person. I’m not the wild screecher that someone like Alan Freed was, and though I love Wolfman Jack, that’d come off pretty disingenuous (have a listen if you’ve never heard him – he’s cool and his music taste is superb). What I heard recently while digging around old airchecks (archives of radio shows) online is a great station called WNEW-FM. They had jocks who were pretty low-key, loved the music, and weren’t afraid to talk politics, tell stories, or rap about life philosophies. That’s something I’ve unwittingly been doing on my show, even though it’s not what we really hear on the radio today. I mean – where have YOU heard a mix of politics, stories, philosophy, and music on the actual dial? I appreciate the leap you take with me every time I make a left turn to some book I’m reading, some issue that’s on my mind, etc. It makes for something unique!

Anyway, thank you for listening to my little internet radio show. I appreciate every listen, every donation, and every nice comment. It’s fun to do the show, but it makes it all the better when I know people are enjoying it. 

If you’d like to join the Radio Free New England donors, you can sign up here.

If you’d like some Radio Free New England swag, including shirts, hats, mugs, and more, click here.  

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Back to the Music! Rock, Soul, and Optimism for Your February

Welcome back! First, a BIG thank you to our first few donors – you’re making my vision of a New England community radio station come true.

Click here if you don’t see a player.

This week covers a lot of ground – Laura Nyro to Don Varner and everything in between. Plus, we’ll keep talking about the explorer mindset and why optimism is so important today. Visit rfne.orfg for archived episodes, the podcast, merchandise, and more!

Want just the podcast? Click here for the 4 minute Marot Memo.

January Sinus Problems = Blog Post!

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Unfortunately, the only radio my voice could pull off this week is either a “classic rock that rocks” liner or an episode of pillow talk. While I’m on the road to recovery, check out this essay about AM radio when I was a teenager! There are also links to several archived episodes for your listening pleasure. See you next week!

Chris’s Radio Story: Radio, Someone Still Loves You.

Ever since I was a kid, I felt there was something magical about great music and an interesting personality coming through the radio. I listened intently to our local AM station – WILI – to my Grandpa’s reel-to-reel recordings from Armed Forces Radio, and devoured the records, 8 tracks, and CDs he and my Dad both had – everything from Elvis to Steely Dan. 

On my quest for great Rock ’n’ Roll, I heard about the legendary DJs who played those records on the radio – Wolfman Jack, Cousin Brucie, Alan Freed, Dan Ingraham. I figured I’d try my hand a picking music and talking between tracks – recording from the speakers of one cassette player to another – I must have been in 5th grade, my voice still in its prepubescent high. 

By 8th grade, I was burning out those tapes. I told everyone I knew about DJing, annoyingly sang along with all the jingles riding in the car, and most everyone I knew wondered about he kid listening to Fat Domino instead of Montell Jordan.

Mr. Hutson, my 8th grade tech ed teacher, set up a tour of that local AM station – WILI – and I was in Heaven. Thinking about it now, I can see the station the way I saw it then. I met the morning show host, Wayno, of Wakin’ up with Wayne, saw how the news was produced, and met some of the management. At the end of the tour, Colin Rice, the vice president, and son of WILI’s founder, Herb Rice, fielded questions from me about life on the air. At the end, to my utter glee, he offered me an internship! I learned how to use the boards, cue up 45s and cds, and over time, hosted my own oldies show – called Rock ’n’ Roll Returns. That turned out to be my first paying job. Every Saturday, I played the music I love – Four Tops, Supremes, Beatles, anything with that Rock ’n’ Soul feel. Throughout high school, I covered news shifts, learned how to cut tape, read the Community Calendar and commercials, and covered afternoon drive time and weekend shifts when the usual DJs were on vacation. 

Then came graduation. I was headed to Holy Cross in the fall so my time at ILI was up. I also worried that being an impartial newsman might stunt a growing ambition I had – politics. I let that ambition get the best of me and though I hosted a radio show in college an wrote for the newspaper, I let those passions fade, sure I was chasing something better. Over a decade and a law degree later, I’m not always convinced I was right. 

Nonetheless, the internet breathes new life into a multitude of hobbies and passion projects and I’m glad to say it’s brought me back to mine. In 2012, after Bridget knowingly gave me a vintage AM radio for Christmas, I got to work and Radio Free New England was born.First, as a talk only set of commentaries and interviews until it evolved into its current form –a music show in the spirit of that old, local, and full service station, WILI. Every week, you’ll hear a mix of rock and soul, a generous helping of music history, interviews with musicians, and New England events and culture, because radio, like people, is best when it’s rooted in a place. 

Please come with me every Sunday and immerse yourself in rock and soul from the classics to new artists who keep the flame alive. Along the way, we’l explore the world around us – the people, culture, and history that makes us who we are. 

RFNE Classics

If you don’t know where to start, give a listen to these three RNFE Classics:

Where to Find RFNE

RFNE S1 Ep 11 – Rock and Soul from the 50s to Today

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In this week’s episode, we help you get over your full Thanksgiving belly with a great blend of soul and rock ‘n’ roll greats as well as fresh faces on the scene. 

Check out these links for more on select artists from this week’s show:

An interview with Sharon Jones from 2015: She says soul is different than hip-hop – it isn’t about flash and lights: “You play on that stage and you look into people’s eyes and give them a show.”

The site for Daptone Records – an independent label dedicated to authentic soul, gospel, and rock ‘n’ roll musicians. They are serious about music – virtually all of their musicians are phenomenal including Sharon Jones whose last album, unfortunately, was released in 2017.

An archived interview with Allen Toussaint, singer-songwriter of that New Orleans sound (like Mother-in-Law from tonight’s episode) featured on Terry Gross’s Fresh Air. Hearing him talk about music, in his beautiful cadence, is reason enough to listen. The content of what he says is just as rich and full of music history.