In this weekly feature, I invoke my days at college radio station quite a bit, especially those from my first year as an undergraduate. I mean it with utter sincerity and not an ounce of hyperbole when I celebrate everything my time on the left end of the dial has given me. That wonderful extended experience includes a hitch as the staff advisor to a college station several years later, in the sweltering not-so-wilds of Florida. But there was something different about my time at WWSP-90FM, located in the heart of Central Wisconsin. That’s partially attributable to the early go-round in radio corresponding to a highly formative time, to be sure. There’s something more, though. I believe there’s magic there.
Luckily for me, I get to dip back into that place of happy wonders every now and again. A few years ago, some intrepid friends of 90FM launched an annual fundraiser inviting station alumni to come home and play on the radio for a couple hours apiece. I listened enviously to the first few editions of this event, unable to justify the travel from distance perch in North Carolina. Little did I know that I’d have a home address back in America’s Dairyland before long.
This weekend is 90FM Reunion 5, and I’ll be attending for the second year in a row. Few things feel so right to me as sitting in that particular broadcast booth, filling the airwaves with music that moves me, thrills me, represents me. When I plunked down in the air chair at around this time last summer, it was immediately comfortable, even though it had been around fifteen years since I’d last commandeered that board.
I’d love to offer up a single song that represents the totality of my 90FM experience, but there’s no such thing. It was the exuberant variety, the rampaging wildflowers of an ever-changing music scene, that thrilled me the most. Instead, here’s a preview of my playlist for Sunday, when I engage in a sort of homecoming. If all goes according to plan, this will be the first song I humbly offer up to the listeners.
Listen or download –> Big Audio Dynamite, “Just Play Music!”
(Disclaimer: I’ve previously shared a track from the 1988 album that was the original home to the above song. At the time, it looked to me — somewhat improbably, I will admit — that the record is question was out of print. I believe that to still be the case. However, I am fairly confident that there must — must! — be a Big Audio Dynamite greatest hit compilation that includes this track, so it probably can be purchased from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said store and the original artist. Let the shared track be enticement to do so rather than a replacement for commerce. Although I believe sharing this song in this space in this way should could for fair use, I do know the rules. I will gladly and promptly remove this file from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)