MY BAPTISM OF FIRE – GETTING INTO THE SWING OF HIGH VOLTAGE ROCK N ROLL RADIO SHOW

As was discussed in my last installment, following Curt Mason’s death in the fall of 2010, me and Chuck Cannon ended up filling in for the show, training, and ultimately being officially given the Tuesday overnight time slot on 90.1 KKFI that Curt had manned for over 11 years. By March 2011, we renamed the program High Voltage Rock N Roll Radio Show and have been doing the show ever since. During the 12 to 18 months after that we had others who we allowed to participate in doing the program and select some of the music such as Anarchy Al, Big Jon Willis, Travis Sloan, and others. This helped add to the eclectic nature of the program during this time as each person had their own preferences. The styles I like are very eclectic with a particular fondness for local and regional artists, garage, psychedelic, punk, alt rock, noise rock, and sludge, Chuck tends more toward sleaze rock, thrash, and melodic hard rock, Big Jon leaned toward gothic metal, prog metal, and thrash, Al leaned toward L.A. style glam rock and thrash, Travis leaned toward arena rock and Euro hard rock. By fall of 2012, Big Jon had started doing internet radio through Hard N Heavy Radio, Al moved back to Southern California, Travis dropped out, so it was basically left to Chuck and me at this point. In addition to this, earlier this year KKFI made a policy change in which they would no longer allow people to regularly participate in programming shows and hosting on-air unless they were certified by the station and me and Chuck were the only 2 out of our group officially certified to be Programmers.

Putting together a 5-hour show for each week involves a tremendous amount of work and preparation, especially if you want to do it right and make it something special. Typically, I will spend a good amount of my free time looking for different groups and sounds that I feel might fit the show well, in addition to trying to make it out to a lot of shows to check out as many different groups as I can and become acquainted with the performers, which is good because it gives me more insight into what they are seeking to convey with their music. I have to screen all of the music I plan to play for a given week, not only for language issues, but also to time all of the songs out. I have found from experience that for a 5-hour show I usually need between 260 and 270 minutes of total music, this will get me to cover the 5-hours when my talk time and time to play Public Service Announcements is factored in. I usually can hit it right on the button.

I try to arrange the songs in a fairly logical order, I have to take particular care since I typically play a variety of genres each week. I try to put songs that sound well together in a block and arrange the opening and closing songs of each block in a way to where it makes something of a smooth transition to the next style I will be switching to. I want to avoid “jerking” the listeners around during the overall experience. I will tend to play faster or harder music like hard rock or punk earlier in the show and more psychedelic, space rock, or experimental material later. I also try to play a little more international artists later in the morning as most of my local night owls have conked out, however, people in Europe or Australia are awake as it is daytime for them listening live online. I try to have a purpose for whatever I do and I plan everything out ahead of time and write everything out in order on notebook paper so that I can follow along. This helps me stay relaxed while doing the show and minimizes mistakes, as I am busy the entire time, doing all of my own engineering while I also host the program live, and it is live terrestrial FM radio, it moves right along and doesn’t stop for you to catch your breath. I feel like the preparation, although time-consuming, is worth it, because I feel blessed to have the opportunity to do what I do with radio and be able to express my creativity and also encourage the artists who I play, therefore, I want to take it seriously and do my best. Be sure to check us out at http://www.facebook.com/highvoltagerocknrollradioshow   

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