Posts Tagged ‘The Honeys’

Cygnus Radio and WPKN playlists, 5/17/13: I got (algo)rithm

May 20, 2013
Ernie Banks was right -- it was a wonderful day to play two.

Ernie Banks was right — it was a wonderful day to play two.

For the links to this and all other Franorama 2.0 shows on Cygnus Radio, click here. For the link to this episode of Franorama 2.0 on WPKN, click here. Franorama 2.0 can be heard live on Cygnus Radio from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT (7-10 a.m. PDT) Fridays; WPKN shows are on a fill-in basis for now; keep posted on the station’s Facebook page.

Well, this past Friday, for the first time, I did radio shows on two different stations on the same day — the Franorama 2.0 Double-Duty Day-Night Doubleheader. First, my regular 10 a.m.-1 p.m. shift from the comfort of home on Cygnus Radio, then down to Bridgeport for a 4-7 p.m. fill-in on WPKN. Howard Thompson, the host of the regularly scheduled show, Pure — and a longtime big-label record executive — trusted my musical tastes (thanks for the endorsement), to let me take the reins.

Anyway, it was exhausting but fun. I think I swept both ends of the doubleheader. And the day wasn’t just fun, it left me feeling a little optimistic at a time when I desperately need optimism.

The Cygnus show, now on the air three months, is still a fledging show on an upstart station, and understandably, the audience is small for now. But a funny thing happened just past the first half hour — the number of listeners jumped 2 1/2 times, then it tripled, and withing five minutes, it had quadrupled. (I have the analytics right there on the screen as I play.) And I kept about two-thirds of that audience for the rest of the show.

This had to be a glitch, right? A spam attack or something? An undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese? Well, no. I texted our fearless leader, Gary Gone, to ask about this, and he explained: However the Apple algorithems work — and who knows how these damn things work? — someone at iTunes apparently labeled my show as a must-listen, which prompted huge the jump in listeners all of a sudden.

Coolness! I’m hoping this is the door opening just a crack enough for the flood to start rushing in. I need something to happen! I’m hoping the people who came and stayed will tell their friends, who, in turn, will tell their friends, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera …

Anyway, a couple musical highlights of the day:

The Outta Sites (both shows): Chris “Sugarballs” Sprague, who made a sideways appearance in a blog post here a couple weeks ago, is one of the hardest-working musicians I know: longtime drummer/second guitarist for

Chris Sprague (second from left) fronting The Outta Sites.

Chris Sprague (second from left) fronting The Outta Sites.

Deke Dickerson … has been playing drums for Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys (who came to Cafe Nine in New Haven the previous weekend) … behind the kit for Los Straitjackets (who come to Cafe Nine June 10) … and now, he fronts his own band, The Outta Sites. Their newly released debut album, Up All Night, is a killer. Think one part Dave Clark Five, one part That Thing You Do, one part Nuggets and Pebbles collections, throw in the atmosphere of the mid-’60s L.A. club scene, and you get the picture.

Jonathan Richman and The Velvet Underground (WPKN): An old friend, Lauren, who lives and works around Hartford, messaged me on the Book of Faces the night before to ask if I could play the Velvets. I started, at long last, pulling boxes of CDs from my storage space to rip into this laptop that serves as my radio station and traveling music library. But I haven’t found my Velvets box set yet. Anyway, I did find one VU song, but not until after I steered her to Jonathan Richman, the onetime VU groupie, singing “Velvet Underground” … and one of our mutual faves, “Double Chocolate Malted” (No nuts! No nuts!), and, for good measure, The Groovie Ghoulies playing a Jonathan song.

Well, that’s enough for now. Back to a single Cygnus shift this Friday, leading into the holiday weekend. Please drop in and give a listen. And if you like what you hear, tell your friends, and tell your friends to tell their friends. And “like” my Franorama 2.0/Franorama World Facebook page. And if you’re so inclined to help out financially, there’s a PayPal button at the end of each blog post.  Anyway, catch you this Friday!

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Cygnus Radio playlist, 3/8/13: Before I was so rudely interrupted …

March 18, 2013

cygnusNewlgMarch 18, 2013

For a link to this and my other archived Cygnus shows, click here.

So, a funny thing happened on the way to doing my second Franorama 2.0 show on Cygnus Radio:

Nothing.

I was prepared for March to come roaring in like the proverbial lion; instead, the first of March greeted me with deafening silence — except for the frenzied voice of yours truly, wondering what the hell happened and trying for three hours over the phone to fix what was wrong.

Remember when I said last post that technology could be pretty cool sometimes? Well, I lied. It could be pretty fucked-up.

Apparently, the broadcasting software didn’t like the fact that had gone out and bought a new USB mic/headphone headset from Target, and even though I plugged the new set into my laptop a couple days before, just to make sure everything was on the same page, when it came time to do the show that first Friday, I was on for about four seconds — then nothing. The software froze.

A quick, frantic call to Gary Gone? No good. Same with Swannie down in Maryland. The three of us wasted three hours trying every diagnostic thing they knew, tried improvising and running every possible contingency … nothing. The software somehow was totally corrupted. I felt badly because I had talked up the show so much to everyone, and then it didn’t even happen.

Anyway, the following Monday, I was over at La Casa de Gone, and we ripped out the offending software and downloaded an updated version. A little tinkering, some abracadabra, and that was more like it. And, that Friday, a week late, my second show was good to go. The mic volume controls and the delay echo in my headset are still a little boggling, but I’m slowly adjusting and ironing out the sound levels..

Anyway, it was an ugly late-winter Friday morning. I had driven in the snow down to Bridgeport the night before to do a midnight-to-2 a.m. show on WPKN as part of its special Speaking of Women programming, coinciding with International Women’s Day. A 40-minute drive home became an hour-and-a-half ordeal, driving very slowly in second gear uphill on state roads that hadn’t even been plowed. When I pulled into the driveway, there were three inches of snow; there would be about nine more by the time it ended in the afternoon (twice what the TV weather clowns had predicted — true to form for them this winter).

I got to bed around 4 and was up at 8 to get the Cygnus show ready and make sure the software was simpatico with the headset. And outside my window, the snow was damn near horizontal. Didn’t let up ’til about 2. So, thanks to the magic of radio imagination, I was able to give a summery feel to the show, especially early on to set the tone.

Also threw in some CDs that musicians had sent me (Edward O’Connell, Stark Raving Lulu, The Zambonis). In addition, I had received a huge care package of CDs from Sharon, a Facebook friend in Minneapolis. Some things I had, some files I had lost in the midst of a couple mass computer file transfers the past year, so I stocked up on my early Stones material, as well as The Left Banke.

A couple of visual elements also worked their way into the show. Earlier in the week, guitartist extraordinaire Deke Dickerson had posted a YouTube video compilation of the legendary R&B group The Treniers; while they were one of the most underrated musical acts of the rock’n’roll era, you just have to see them in action, too. Also, a couple nights before the show, I watched the Showtime premiere of the intense, totally depressing, yet somehow inspiring documentary Family Band: The Cowsiills Story.

And, the fun thing about doing this here show is that I’m starting to find mp3s of really cool songs that are awfully hard to find in physical form. There was The Ronettes’ original version of “I Can Hear Music” — which, until recently, was omitted from Phil Spector compilations. Or “Guess I’m Dumb,” the song Brian Wilson gave to Glen Campbell when he was launching his recording career. And especially Johnny Cash’s “The Folk Singer” — a very obscure song he recorded in 1958, which Nick Cave recorded as a 12-inch B-side at the time of his Kicking Against the Pricks album in ’88.

Anyway, technology sucks, but radio is fun. The show airs live on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern (7-10 a.m. Pacific, 3-6 p.m. GMT).  Hope you can drop in and keep me company. And please pass the word to your friends and loved ones — we want to grow this show and this station.

And if you’re a musician who has a CD and wants to get some airplay here — well, if I like it, I’ll play it. Drop me a message here on or the Cygnus Radio Facebook page and I’ll get you my mailing address.

I’ll finish catching up to playlists asap.

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