WUSB first came on my radar through the now-defunct Long Island Music Coalition, an excellent organization that was started by Rich Hughes. Rich had an “everyone’s invited to the table” attitude as well as a knack for getting things done within the scene. One of the things he did was feature local acts on his weekly WUSB radio show, and one of those local acts was me. (Thanks, Rich!)
If you’re not up on this, WUSB is a real, live radio station (90.1 FM) run out of Stony Brook University, and it’s about as independent and local as it gets. Indie artists covet real radio exposure like nobody’s business. The long, windy drive through campus (I got lost twice that night) only added to the excitement for me. “I’m driving around confused on a college campus trying to find the radio station in time for my interview!” I said to myself gleefully. “The artists I listen to tell amusing stories about just this sort of thing at their shows!”
Apart from giving a singer/songwriter a thrill, community radio stations like this (which are harder and harder to find) provide a much needed connection between the independent music scene and everybody else on Long Island. My blog is called “subterranean sounds” for a reason–but most of us don’t actually want the scene to be underground. Music is made to be heard, danced to, sung along with. Indie music is not an exclusive club by any means, but like WUSB’s station headquarters (in the student union building by the stadium, by the way), it’s hard to find if you don’t already know about it. WUSB bridges that gap–just turn that dial to 90.1, and there’s the local music scene. And a wealth of other local resources, for that matter.
We are living in a time of corporate culture. People know what’s on FOX tonight better than they know what’s going on around the block tonight. People also like to crack ironic jokes about how generic our lives have become (often while sittting in a booth in a chain restaurant at the mall with similarly-dressed friends). I’m here to tell you that we don’t have to go gentle into that good night–instead, we can make a point of seeking out and creating our own culture. It does not have to cost money and it does not take a lot of work. It just takes attention and interest. Here’s a start: listen to independent radio stations like WUSB. Don’t like what you hear? Good news: WUSB has an amazing program that gives ANYONE the opportunity to get on the air if you complete a course and learn the ropes first. Go put your own culture on the radio, just as DJ Eve and Coop Sky Blue (two pretty awesome WUSB DJs) are doing every week. Or just tune in and revel in the knowledge that community still exists on Long Island.
For more information about WUSB and their schedule of programs, visit http://wusb.fm.