Hey guys so you know, I just registered the domain Fuck Yeah Shoegazer Pedals.
The official website thingy of pop culture writer Chris Cummins
I first tuned in to Strangeways Radio because of Slicing Up Eyeballs’ great weekly show on the “station,” and it quickly became my favorite thing to listen to while spending time online. If you are even remotely into classic college rock, new wave, indie or darkwave music, you’ll find plenty of shows on there to your liking. In fact, since I began listening to Strangeways last December, I can count on one hand how many songs I’ve heard there that haven’t totally blown me away. It’s eerie, and the station is so tapped in to my musical tastes that I’m not entirely convinced that it isn’t some kind of weird Truman Show-esque trickery that exists for me and me alone. I became so obsessed with it to get some insights from station mastermind Michael Foster. Here’s what he had to say:
How did Strangeways Radio start?
After Auralgasms.com (an internet radio station run by myself and Scott Zumberg) shut down in 2009, I found myself using services like Last.FM, Pandora and other similar sites as my sources for music. And, while I was entertained for a while, I eventually found that all of those sites were very repetitive and I was quickly becoming bored. At the same time, there were a few really good indie club nights going on and what was interesting about these nights is that the DJ’s of the nights were very supportive of each other, and not competing against each other which so often happens in this industry. The music of these clubs and the mutual support of the DJ’s inspired my creative juices. I did some technology research and discovered that I could get a radio station running at ½ the cost of Auralgasms, with a much improved user experience. I immediately started developing the website and lining up the DJ talent (with an initial focus on the DJs in the Detroit scene) for the station which launched in later 2010, less than a year after the demise of Auralgasms.
What is your role in the station? How did you get involved?
I am the creator of the website, owner of the company, program director of the station, and host of a show called Halcyon Waves on Monday nights. That’s a lot of titles. In simpler terms, I’m the caretaker of the station. A lot of the other DJ’s bust their tails as well to help keep things running and provide amazing content to the site.
What is the goal of the station?
The motto of Strangeways is “Taking Alternative Back”. What that means is that we are tired of the Alternative music that cookie cutter radio stations shove down our throats. Alternative is not Green Day or Nickelback. We want to go back to celebrating the legendary bands that helped revolutionary the industry (The staples like The Cure, New Order, The Smiths, etc) and the new bands that are carrying the torch forward. We aim to provide a community for our listeners to hear great music and interact with each other.One of the great joys I take in the station is seeing all of the friendships that have been formed globally because of the station.
How many DJs does the station have currently? How many shows?
This page lists all of the DJs on the station. They are all active DJs except for the last two listed who are no longer with the station
How can listeners support the station?
The station is completely listener funded. We are commercial free and intend on staying that way. All of our money comes from donations. This link shows all of the different ways people contribute. However, we don’t like taking money for nothing in return, so we try to make the donations fun. Each donation comes with certain rewards or privileges. A $5 donation allows listeners to request songs to be played in real-time. A $10 donation allows listeners to create a one hour listener show where we will dedicate an hour of music to the listener and play the music of their choosing during that hour. We call it Listener Appreciation Mondays. That is our best deal because the $10 helps the station and the listeners have great time putting together their own setlists. Other packages come with t-shirts, hoodies, etc.
What are some of your favorite bands featured on the station?
Tough question…it really depends on my mood. I love all of the classic bands obviously (The Smiths, New Order , Depeche Mode, The Cure) but I do love the great variety of music that have been coming our way recently. Some of the newish bands that I have beenloving are M83 (not really new), Cold Cave, Chapel Club, New Division, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. Really though, there so many great bands and it’s great to see some of the bands adopting the 80’s sound that many of us grew up with.
Thanks to Michael for taking the time to answer my questions…and for running such a terrific station. Tune in and see for yourself!
Live from the Artist’s Den is my current favorite live music series. In case you’ve somehow missed the show thus far, here’s a recap: each episode features a band performing in a historical or just downright interesting venue. It’s that simple, just great music performed in a noteworthy space. Past artists featured on the show include Tori Amos, Aimee Mann, Ringo Starr, Elvis Costello and a variety of others.
The fourth season just kicked off with a new talent named Adele. (I have a feeling she might be big). Anyways, you can check out past performances as well as clips from upcoming shows here. I personally am really looking forward to the Death cab For Cutie (making their second appearance on the program) and Iron and Wine installments.
Courtesy of the show’s PR folks, I have a Live from the Artist’s Den Prize Pack to give away consisting of a T-shirt, a sampler CD and a DVD of The Swell Season’s performance on the show. The first person to email me wins it. Good luck!