Saturday, September 24, 2005

Saturday is WERS day

My first real post for this blog = pressure. I'll start with the fact that I'm playing with the templates here on blogger, so even if it looks completely different anytime you click on it, I'm pretty sure it'll still be mine. :) So far, I don't like the way that the left information tab winds up at the bottom of the page... but my html knowledge is certainly not up to figuring it out, so I'll keep playing until something I like better comes along.

So listen, I don't know much about music... I will confess my ignorance of all things rap, hip-hop and alternative; I am sure to change the subject if you ask about who won a recent Grammy award or whose video is the best on MTV right now (especially since every time I turn on that channel, it's either Road Rules or My Super Sweet 16 - do they even SHOW videos anymore?); and I bet I couldn't recognize more than 10 of the "Top 40." (I checked - I didn't know most of the songs, but there were actually some names I knew - all of them older: Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, etc.)

So, yeah, I'm not up on today's popular music, but I know what I like. I'm eclectic in all things, perhaps most of all in my musical tastes. The IPOD shuffle is right up my alley: Since I've gotten my laptop, I've almost totally given up listening to the radio, instead shuffling my entire musical collection through Windows Media Player. I play them by genre (musicals, theme songs, ballads, oldies, big band, live, etc), by decades (I have a little bit from each, I think), or by length of song (which tends to produce the best variety, BTW). I'll listen to just about anything, with just one basic, guiding rule - NTE's Rule of good music - If there are words, I have to be able to understand them. I just can't enjoy a song if I can't figure out what is being said. There's more than one rap song that I've read the lyrics to and been impressed, only then I'd hear the actual song and not been able to understand any of it. If it's a song, I'm supposed to be able to figure it out while listening to it...Or else, why am I listening to it?

There's really only one thing I listen to the radio for anymore, and that is WERS.

WERS is the student run radio station of Emerson College. The actual station is located on their Boston campus, so my radio gets it clearly (88.9 FM if you're in the New England area) but, happily, you can listen to the broadcasts on-line:

Here's the link
(I've also heard the hosts mention that it's available through ITunes, but I don't use that program, so I didn't really pay attention to how to do it.)

They play a unique jumble of musical styles (everything from jazz to folk, from sports programs to a church service), but, for me, WERS is all about Saturdays: On Saturdays WERS has three excellent shows back-to-back, starting at 10:00 in the morning.

First they play "the best of Broadway and beyond" during their Standing Room Only program.

The hosts for all of these shows vary, as the school year brings new students, so the formats may change from time to time, but the quality of the music they play doesn't.
Musical theatre at its best, SRO plays current Broadway hits, standards by classic artists and everything in between. Like all WERS programs, Standing Room Only has live performances in the studio by both locally and nationally known performers (this morning's live performances, for example, were from a local benefit for rebuilding after Katrina and an interview with Alice Ripley) and plays listener requests - often these make up the majority of the playlist. They also regularly give away tickets to local productions and give a calendar of theatre events going on around Boston.

After Standing Room Only, starting at 2:00 EST, there's All A Cappella. And, obviously, they play a capella music - which, in case you didn't know, is just music without instruments: it's all the human voice. I am a late-comer to this particular bandwagon, but I've jumped on full-force, because the kind of songs I've heard on this program are amazing. The program is populated by unique and awesome versions of many well-known songs, new and old, sung by professional and collegiate a cappella groups from around the country.

To round out my day of listening pleasure, there's the Playground from 5-8 pm I actually started listening to this station because of the Playground - hunting though the radio dial one day, I stopped when I heard a Schoolhouse Rock song. School House Rock? On the radio?! I kept the tuner there and they played one childhood memory after another.

Technically, the Playground plays 'children's music,' so there's some Pokemon or Wiggles that you may have to suffer through (ugh), but aside from that, they play everything from Disney standards to cartoon theme songs, from the Muppets to Weird Al's parodies. If you have kids and happen to be driving for the three hours that this show is playing, you will want to send them gifts. If you're a grown-up in a bad mood, listening to the Gummi Bears theme song or Ozzie Osbourne and Miss Piggy sing Born to Be Wild can improve your whole day.

I've been a regular listener to the station for about 9 years now, and have always been impressed with the shows - enough to become an WERS member during their twice yearly pledge drives. This is the only minor drawback for me - it's a "listener supported" station, which means there's no commercials, but they do come on for two weeks out of the year to ask for money... It's not a huge deal, but those pledge days can get annoying.

If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, please check it out and let me know what you think.

Phew! First "real" post = done.

1 comment:

kidslovecandy said...

WERS has changed it's programing starting today. I'm not sure I like it. I googled "What happened to WERS" and got your blog.
Good luck with the blog and it's design.