I had no idea... The month is almost half over and I just found out that April is "Public Radio Month." Appropriately enough, I learned about it through an email from one of my favorite public radio stations: The Alternate Side, which is part of WFUV.org. It referenced a letter of thanks signed by artists, bands and even record companies, with appreciation for these stations that "take chances" to play music even when "it doesn't sound like everything else on the radio dial." This was signed on April 9th by some of my treasured music makers from MGMT, Passion Pit, and My Morning Jacket, to Ozomatli and Chairlift. Additional names have since been added with Rolling Stone sharing the story, such as The Decemberists and Andrew Bird.
As listed on the right sidebar of this blog, my best sources for new music are public radio stations. Two years ago, the very first article I wrote for PopMatters was "Radio is Doing Just Fine... Online," where I extolled the virtues of my coveted time listening to (mainly public) radio over the internet. My daily routine revolves around KEXP's "John in the Morning" show from 9:00 am to noon EST and KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic" from noon to 3 pm EST, with gaps filled by The Alternate Side online or in the car weekday mornings on WNYE 91.5 in the New York City area. These three outlets feed my soul with new music, news and live sessions. Their blogs detail upcoming concerts, more news and vast archives are available anytime I care to access something new or revisit a session truncated when life intervenes. My membership in these stations has also outfitted my wardrobe with various T-shirts, tote bags and baseball caps, worn proudly everywhere I go. It's music and more... community plus a sense of involvement in the music scene by simply tuning in, wherever I am.
Listening to my iTunes or even Pandora plays music I already know, it's as basic as that. These stations provide new discoveries to add to my playlists and djs who speak from the heart about music they love. As a lone writer at a desk in a home office, I'm connected to others with a shared commitment to new music day in and day out. Let me add my thanks to public radio music, with gratitude from a very dedicated listener.