WGBW, the microwatt radio station of my alma mater UWGB played "black music" from 4 p.m. friday to late on saturday. it kicked off with pancho playing the "urban" sounds of his native nyc. philly expat "the fat cat" played old school r&b late and gave the "brothers out in four corners" (green bay's prison) a channel to the outside world by reading their mailed-in dedications on-air. mehdi managed to get himself on every indie label's mailing list and played hour-long mixes of club sounds all saturday morning. the mysterious "bus" mixed in the art-dance-rock-funk of the b-52's, talking heads, etc., with his hip hop when there wasn't a saturday afternoon b-ball game on. and rounding it off on sat night was tom brown with chicago flavored soul.

for those 24 or so hours i could forget i was going to school in the middle of nowhere; a small consolation for not living "out there it was all happening". yet the music and the community that developed around that 24+ hours of music had such a deep influence on me that i have sought out college/community/local radio stations in every other place i have lived.

it led me to KCRW when it really was a small station in the basement of santa monica college; when i would play congolese soukous to provide a deliciously incongruent soundtrack to my saturday afternoon cruises around la and oc.

it later led me san francisco's KPOO (flava, baby!) and to donald lacy's richard pryor-inspired political humor, to polo moquuz, "ghetto radio" and sunday morning gospel music.

all this came back to me yesterday as i was listening to afrika bambaata's tuesday night show "true school" on harlem's WHCR. he plays the same hip hop, funk, electro, and soul that i first heard on WGBW. it took me back all those years to when i first landed in this country and would sit glued to my radio every weekend to experience the musical world that existed beyond the snowy fields that surrounded me.

"detail of radio station poster, home" February 01, 2006 10:20 PM