Category Archives: Music

Live Blog: “Not Quite College Radio”

iprI don’t think I have previously mentioned on this blog that, in addition to my college radio work, I am also the assistant producer of a music program on Iowa Public Radio.

[View the story “Not Quite College Radio” on Storify]

This week, I thought it would be fun to do a little live blog to show you what my job entails.

  • 11:00 AM — Piano is delivered to the coffee shop venue we record in every week
  • 11:30 AM — I arrive, move around chairs, clear the stage, and attach the station’s banner to the wall
  • 12:00 PM — Band arrives
  • 12:30 PM — Load in Iowa Public Radio equipment while the university TV station loads in their equipment
  • 12:45 PM — Park van in university lot & return to the venue
  • 1:00 PM — Set up mics and stands for the band, which, in this week’s case, involved some minor dismantling of the piano
  • 1:30 PM — Sound check with band, host arrives
  • 1:45 PM — Host goes over the show format with the band members while I buy them coffee and distribute fliers to the audience
  • 2:00 PM — Record live promo spots, complete with audience participation! (This week it took two tries to get the 30 second spot just right.)
  • 2:05 PM — After a brief intro, this week’s band, the Eddie Piccard Jazz Quartet, starts off by performing “In A Mellow Tone” by Duke Ellington. This song amuses me, as my uncle’s (somewhat legendary) high school band was called The Mellow Tones, a name which was inspired by this composition.
  • 2:10 PM — The host takes a few minutes to interview the band. They play each weekend at The Light House in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • 2:30 PM — Halfway point in the show
  • 3:00 PM — Show concludes
  • 3:30 PM — Pack up, load out
  • 4:00 PM — Return to station, put away equipment, extract audio to the computer syustem, mail CDs to artists of past shows, and go home.

Sounds like fun, right? Though my job does require a lot of heavy lifting (and I am a complete weakling), I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Last week we had a folk singer, this week we had a jazz act, and next week a gypsy music group. The variety of acts always keeps me on my toes.

Are you a listener or supporter of public radio? What are your favorite shows?

“College Radio – Off the Dial” New York Times Piece

Hello there! I hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday. I just wanted to drop in to share with you this great article, “College Radio – Off the Dial,” that I read this morning.

“Music is what brings people to the radio,” he retorted. “Personalities are what keep them coming back.” Mr. Neves said later, “It’s an ongoing debate between certain people — what drives people to come and why iPods and Pandora are different.”

Happy reading, and enjoy your day!

Poison Control Center (Redux)

Did I mention that the Poison Control Center crew is just the nicest? pcc

They were kind enough to feature my last post on their website. Because I can never have too much PCC in my life, check out some more of our coverage:

Music Monday: Poison Control Center


The 90s-inspired indie rock band Poison Control Center get down at RayGun last April at an event sponsored by our station.

Don’t let the name fool you into thinking that this band is anything but pure, unadulterated awesome.

Poison Control Center is a four-piece indie rock outfit (with a few rotating members). Based in Iowa, the group has toured nationally for years and has gotten a lot of attention from industry heavyweights like Pitchfork and SPIN. Their Midwestern friendliness and charm has also paved the way for a lot of younger Iowa bands to go out and tour successfully, as well. What swell guys!

Ready to give them a whirl?

Because Sometimes Things Just Get Weird:

College radio has its fair share of weirdness. Scratch that. I’m willing to officially put it out there, for those of you who may not know from firsthand experience, that college radio attracts tons of “weirdness.” It comes in the form of offbeat staffers, creative music reviewers, and voracious listeners. To be 100% honest, that weirdness is why I personally love, love, love working in college radio.

But, while opening CDs with our music director today, we discovered something a little too…avant-garde for my personal tastes.

But, our station also plays artists like Jandek, Daniel Johnston, and The Shaggs, so I suppose I can’t even really categorize anymore. Rock on, Robert Alberg.

So, This Happened: They Might Be Giants (Redux)

Signed They Might Be Giants Poster

The assistant production manager of the theater I work at surprised me with a signed poster from They Might Be Giants this morning. (She must have noticed me having a dance party in the front row during their show.) Needless to say, I was completely overjoyed! How is your Monday going?

Live Blog: They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants performing at The Englert Theatre in Iowa City on October 30, 2011

Tonight, I was lucky enough to be in the front row at the sold out They Might Be Giants concert. The show was the tenth installment of our college radio station’s “Low Frequency” concert series. The Brooklyn-based duo, made up of John Flansburgh and John Linnell, was the perfect fit for a show sponsored by a campus radio organization. Why? Because they got their start in the music business when their self-titled EP was a smash hit on American college radio stations…and have been successful ever since!

Check out my “Storify” assessment of the whole, wonderful night, and let me know what your favorite They Might Be Giants song is in the comments section.

[View the story “They Might Be Giants” on Storify]