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How Do You Listen To Music

January 11, 2012

 

Jeff Kent

Croton & Ossining’s WDFH: The Case For Radio

Why radio? With all of the ways you can listen to music these days, why choose radio? And if you’re going to listen to radio, why choose WDFH? Good questions, I’m glad you asked.Two popular options for listening to music these days are Spotify and Pandora.

Spotify is a free service that’s good if you want to stream a specific song or album. But you’re limited to what they have in their digital library. Granted they have a lot to choose from, but it can be frustrating not to find what you’re searching for. Pandora is useful if you already know what you like and would like to expand upon it. You can generate playlists based on keywords, usually an artist or genre. Say you were a Tom Waits fan or were interested in sampling some Afro-Pop. Simply enter those keywords in and sit back to see what was tagged as such. There’s a certain amount of logic involved with both sites, but what they’re missing is the human element.

WDFH has the human element, in spades. Setlists for our live shows can be arranged ahead of time, but more often that not are put together on the fly like a great improvisation and like any improv things can go awry. But when they’re going well they’re a thing of beauty. Take our own John ‘The Deacon’ Dyer for example. He’s been known to choose records based solely on the cover (something I doubt Pandora can do) or reach for one record and pull out another. Most DJs would replace the ‘wrong’ LP and retrieve the ‘correct’ one, but not The Deacon. He’s up for a little exploration and wants you to go along with him as he discovers new and interesting music. Every time I listen to his show (Spangle Tangle) I hear something I’ve never heard before. Sometimes I hear a whole show full of such music. As an added bonus The Deacon always provides color commentary that is unlike anything you’ve ever heard on radio…for better or for worse.

While all of the music on WDFH is freeform, DJ Vinny Cohan’s sets are probably the most coherent. Close listeners will be rewarded as Vinny often plays short sets of music that may seem unrelated, but might be linked by a single word in the song’s title or by a member of the band. Sometimes he’ll clue you in to these, but more often than not he allows you to discover these musical clues on your own. Vinny is not afraid to delve deep into an artist’s catalog or to play some of their more experimental music that you may not be familiar with. You might hear John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’ on a traditional Jazz station, but you probably won’t hear the 27 minute version of ‘One Down, One Up’ recorded live at the Half Note in 1965.

That leaves Dave, whose sets are usually a snapshot of what he happen to be listening to at the time. One week it may be B-List 70s rock and the next it may be 60s avant-garde Jazz. Sometimes a single song will inspire a whole set and other times the listener is along for the ride as Dave searches for something he’s not familiar with. One night Dave surprised us all by playing an all 90s CD show, who knew?

Some of my favorite elements of the human factor are the segues that come out of nowhere…here are some examples: Mercury Rev – Allan Holdsworth Chuck Berry – Eric Dolphy Big Maybelle – The New Bomb Turks John Coltrane – Neurosis XTC – Junior Wells Superchunk – Freddie Hubbard Marvin Hamlisch – Daft Punk Cheech & Chong – Champion Jack Dupree

Based on what I’ve said above, it might sound like the music of WDFH is rooted in the past and while that may be partially true, a lot is simply because the majority of our library is old vinyl. In fact the majority of what you hear on WDFH is being played from the old warm analog vinyl…pops, clicks and all. That’s not to say we don’t feature current music. We have a growing section devoted to local music on CD and will add the occasional new release to the library. If you’re a local artist and would like to hear your music on the air, please drop us a line.

You can hear WDFH on the airwaves at 90.3 FM in Central and Northern Westchester or you can listen online anywhere at WDFH.org

Please Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter @WDFHRADIO for daily updates

This post was written by Mount Kisco’s own Jeff Kent – If you haven’t tuned in to WDFH I would urge you to give it a listen – you will be presently surprised

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