2004 Year In Review


    The 2004 management team worked well together and included a number of very dedicated students.  It consisted of John Ramsey-General Manager; Susan Mullis-Director of Development; Kris Powerll/Kate Horrigan-Operations Director; Chris Heerema-Program Director; Mary Dowst-Business Manager; Mike DeRosa-Community Affairs Director and Jim Christensen/Marissa Lindgren-At Large Members.  
    Also Rock Music Director; Andy Taylor; Chuck Obuchowski-Jazz Director; Steve Petke-Classical Director; Kevin Lynch-Bluegrass Director; Bart Bozzi-Blues Director; Ed McKeon-Folk Director; Chris Larsen-IT Manager & Assistant Chief Engineer; Kevin Lynch-Webmaster, 
    Staff:   McNal Allison, Keith Barrett, Denise Basture, Larry Bilansky, Carl Bolkavic, Bart Bozzi , Keith Brown, Dave Buddington, Michael Carrol, Bob Celmer, Mark Channon, Jim Christensen, Deborah Conklin, Mark DeLorenzo, Dave Demaw, Mike DeRosa, Scott Deshefy, Steve Dieterich, Vijay Dixit, Bill Domler, Mary Dowst, Marsh Dubaldo, Chuck Dube, Al Dzikas, George Michael Evica, Stu Feldman, Dawn Finnemore, Mario Greitti, Donna Giddings, Nicole Godburn, Brian Grosjean, Bonnie Hast, Pretlow Harris, Sam Hatch, Eugene Hazanov, Chris Heerema, Gilberto Heredia, Dean Hilderbrandt, John Holder, Harvey Jassem, Wayne Jones, Rick LaBrie, Kevin Lampkins, Chris Larsen, Gregory Laxer, Gary Levin, Marissa Lindgren, Rohan Long, Kevin Lynch, Will Mackey, Tony Magno, Doug Maine, Chris Marti, Mike Marti, Walter Mayo, Ed McKeon, Bill Measom, Gail Meyers-Jaworski, Peter Michaelson, Phillip Mitchell, Susan Mullis, Nay Nasser, Ted Neihay, Chuck Obuchowski, Kevin O’Toole, Stephen Petke, Kris Powell, Anthony Price, John Prytko, Johnny Prytko, jr, John Ramsey, Henrique Ribeiro, Maurice Robertson, Justin Rockafellow Katherine Rossner, Peter Rost, Mark Santini, David Schoenfeld, John Scott, Jack Seidl, Kevin Shively, Doug Sturbins, Kapil Taneja, Andy Taylor, Steve Theaker, Dwight Thurston, Rob Turner, Rob Tyrka, Terry Weichand, Lloyd Weir, Joan Wright-Lee, Dave Zaluda, Andy Zeldin.
    Workstudy; Alex, Ben, Greg, Kate Horrigan, Jason, 
    Intern from Hall High School: Mike.
    Jim Christensen was elected to a second term as At Large member, and student Marissa Lindgren was elected as an At Large member as well at the April meeting.  Kriss Powell resigned as Operations Director and Kate Horrigan was appointed Acting Operations Director in her place.
    In February, the renewal of the tower contract came through.
WWUH took Second place in the Advocate Best of contest.
The station received a $500 donation from the Allman Brother’s Band foundation.

     Mike Derosa presented the Ecom with a proposal to incorporate Democracy Now, a syndicated public affairs program, into the WWUH schedule.  The ECOM chose not to accept the proposal for two reasons.  First, the show was already available in the Hartford area on WHUS at Storrs.  Second, there was no place to put the show without displacing other programs.
     BBC reporter Greg Palast spoke on campus at a WWUH benefit event. His presentation of "How the election will be stolen in 2004" was well received.

    John Ramsey wrote:
    “When WWUH Director of Development Susan suggested in 2003 that we produce a special program consisting of twelve hours of live programming, I loved the idea, but at the same time I had some concerns about whether or not we would be able to pull off such a complex event. Don't get me wrong, I don't for a second underestimate the talents and energy of our volunteer staff. We had produced literally hundreds of live shows over the years, most of them were three to four hours long an nearly all of them involved WWUH covering an outside event, someone else’s event. However, this event would be three times longer, and we would be responsible not only for everything that goes into a live broadcast, but the actual content as well.  Such an undertaking, which would tax even a seasoned professional staff, was a tremendous job for our volunteers to take on. Not surprisingly, the staff got behind the idea in a big way.
    The station's programmers pooled their resources and made the arrangements for booking the dozen or so artists and performers who would be on-the-air during the marathon event. Eugene Hazanov, who is a relatively new WWUH volunteer and host of Wednesday Synthesis, stepped forward to produce the event. Eugene worked along side such key behind-the-scenes players as Chris Larsen, Kevin Lynch, who would be doing the live sound, and Kevin O'Toole, who took on the duties of floor manager and foley operator.
    This unprecedented event took place on Wednesday, April 28 from 6am to 6pm. Everything on-the-air during that time period was live, we did not use tapes, CDs, or any prerecorded material. To the credit our the staff, the event came off without a hitch. Our listeners were able to hear radio the way it was done in the days before recordings were in common use. This was probably one of the first times in many years that a station aired only live programming for this length of time, with the possible exception of stations doing charity telethons or those covering live news events. In addition to the volunteers mentioned above, Ed Mckeon, Bob Celmer, Mike DeRosa, Dave Buddington and Walter Mayo helped with this historic broadcast.”

Rocking the First “It’s All Live”
By Kevin O’Toole

     5:30 AM on Wednesday, April 28th of 2004, and a crowd was forming around the basement studios of WWUH Radio.
Now it’s very rare... in fact, virtually impossible... that our studios are desserted at any time of day, but this morning was a particularly busy one.  There were at least six people milling around.  Among them, the usual suspects for a Wednesday morning around here.  The Tuesday All Night Show host was wrapping things up for her time slot, playing CD’s on players that, after her show, would not be used for another twelve hours.  Ed McKeon was in the wings, ready to step to the microphone and introduce Julee Glaub who he had the privilege of hosting as his live guest on the show that morning.  Less common at that hour were sound engineers Kevin Lynch and Chris Larsen, unspooling wires and hooking up multiple microphones in three of the four studio facilities we have here in the Harry Jack Gray Center.  Thursday morning FM on Toast host River City Slim was standing by in anticipation.  Short minutes before six, Celtic folk vocalist and instrumentalist Glaub appeared, tired but ready to perform at a time most people are rolling out of bed.
    At six o’clock, the microphones went live, and the CD’s, mini-discs, cart machines, cassette players and turntables went silent.  Then I talked.  Then Ed introduced Julee.  Then we proceeded to spend twelve hours in the oh-so-fun pressure cooker of completely live broadcasting.

    IT’S ALL LIVE had begun.
    Many of the best creative ideas can seem the most simple.  Back in 2003, our director of development Susan Mullis suggested the idea of doing twelve ideas of completely live programming as a special event.  As he related on our website, general manager John Ramsey “loved the idea, but at the same time... had some concerns about whether or not we would be able to pull off such a complex event.  (He didn’t)... for a second underestimate the talents and energy of our volunteer staff. But while we had produced literally hundreds of live shows over the years, most of them were four hours long at most. This event would be three times longer, and would tax even a seasoned professional staff.”
    To be sure, the longest such event we tried before was an epic production for the second “Folk Next Door” concert.  From the Wikipedia article on the event:
    “The 1993 concert was to be an all-day affair, starting outside with a free concert, with an evening paid event. Rain forced the event inside after the third act and threw off the schedule till the concert ended around 2 a.m. The... audience was not entirely awake by the end of the affair, and on the way (they) lost a Chinese brother (a member of the band “7 Chinese Brothers”).”
    A good portion of that show was broadcast, but with recorded music and announcements filling out any gaps in the show longer than 5 minutes.  Ambitious for a community station, yes, but It’s All Live would be a bigger challenge still.  Without a live audience, but also without the opportunity for “breaks” that could be filled by playing a tape or a disc of any kind.  Also, not every act would be as easy to accommodate as one singer songwriter, or a string band with no drum kit or amplified instruments.
    I.D.’s, public service announcements and promos all came out of my mouth, leaving introductions of, and interviews with the talent to the day’s regular Wednesday show hosts (Ed, Bob Celmer, Mike DeRosa, Eugene Hazanov and David Buddington) along with guest hosts (including Steve Theaker, Dean Hildebrandt and Will Mackey).
Additionally, all the programming had to fit into the regular programming style that a UH listener could expect to hear at various times between 6 AM and 6 PM on a Wednesday:  6-9 am could only be folk music of various kinds; 9 am – 12 noon, Jazz; From 1-4 pm, programming had to be approved by Eugene Hazanov, fitting his usual Ear Stretcher format; from 4-6 pm, it had to be live classical performances.
    Of course, there was a good deal of co-operation from the Wednesday show hosts and their genre peers, in order to make room in that time to better showcase other musical ideas and approaches featured on other shows on the station.
    Ed’s show began with vocalist Julee Glaub as noted before, then featured local singer/ songwriter favorite Kate Callahan.  Then, River City Slim and the Zydeco Hogs became the first “big” act of the day, with the full band occupying our largest studio in the rear of our space, and making sure that none of us needed coffee to wake up at 7 AM.
Folk Next Door favorites, The Roadbirds featuring Patrick McGinley and Jim Mercik were next, delivering a typically tasty acoustic set.  Then, rounding out FM on Toast were Nerissa & Katryna Nields, who are regional folk legends by now with a decent worldwide following (of course, WWUH had something to do with that, as far back as 1992).  Jim Christensen, Steve Theaker and Kevin Lynch co-anchored the show.
Bob Celmer’s show began somewhat atypically with a set by the New Farmington River Royal Ragtime Ramblers, a Dixieland five piece.  He followed that by hosting some student ensembles, one of which featured near-future WWUH host Pete LeBlanc on sax.  The show ended with a set by singer Ema Walker with bassist Dezron Douglas.
Mike DeRosa hosted an hour of live, in-studio public affairs next with in-studio guests.
    Eugene’s Ear Stretcher began with a set from burgeoning young singer/ songwriter Sonya Kitchell and her Band, in a set that left quite an impression on us, a full year before her debut on the NYC label, Velour Recordings (her latest release is 2006’s “Words Came Back to Me”).  Kevin Lamkins came in to host local rockers The Ders.  The middle of the show featured a set, hosted by Geetanjali host Monica, featuring Stan Scott, an associate professor at Southern Connecticut State University and exponent of the Indian drone instrument the tanpura, a sort of fretless sitar.
Next, I had the pleasure of hosting local duo, and great people, the Sawtelles, Peter and Julie Riccio whose small duo (with tint drum kit in tow) rocked the main studio.
     But the loudest was yet to come.
    Rock mavens now know the band “3” pretty well.  Lead vocalist and guitarist Joey Eppard is related to drummer Joshua Eppard of the slightly better known Coheed and Cambria.  Joey led his four piece through a loud, rocking full hour of noise that, literally, knocked stuff off of the studio walls.  It was awesome.
    We also had to commit to an otherwise “normal” programming day.  At or near the top of every hour, we had to broadcast our call letters and the origin of our radio signal (“WWUH, West Hartford”). We also had to read an average of two public service announcements an hour.     Actually, reading all that stuff was my job.
    It was fun being the Don Pardo to the station’s SNL for 12 hours, but it also required me to put together carefully worded copy for all the Public Service spots, and, well, to do something special with those breaks, if possible.
     Toward that end, I went shopping for items with which to make interesting, if not strictly musical noises: a ticking mechanical alarm clock; a train whistle; a light bulb...
    Yes, a light bulb.
    My partners in crime in arranging some of these noises were Kevin Lynch and Chris Larsen.  I had discussed doing a parody of the Memorex “Is it live or is it Memorex” spots, which usually involved the breaking of a wine glass, seemingly through the fidelity of a recording of a human voice hitting a high note.
    Now, I couldn’t break glass with my voice, and the rules of the day said we couldn’t use a recording of any kind, even if we could find one that we could engineer to shatter a wine glass without cracking the windows of our studios.  Also, we couldn’t get anyone to volunteer a wine glass.
     We could, however break a light bulb.  Carefully.
The light bulb was chosen because it would make a loud enough shattering sound, and could be thrown with some accuracy at a hard target, like a cinderblock.
In order to achieve this in studio, we had to lay down a large tarp in our largest studio, and to find a handy cinderblock that was sitting in the back of the Harry Jack Gray Center, near the dumpster.  Next, I had to be decked out with safety glasses and a long sleeved shirt and microphones had to be situated to best capture the breaking glass sound.  Of course, we also had to set up my announcing mike, since I would be reading my top of the hour announcements immediately following the stunt.
    That was particularly fun, but what happened during Evening Classics got downright uncanny.
    First, David Buddington hosted the string duo, Alturas Duo performed.  Faculty members from Hartt School, Carlos Boltes and Scott Hill performed on guitar, violin and the charango, a mandolin-like instrument with a small hollow body and a long wide eight stringed neck.
Now here comes the weird part.
    Now former Friday Classics host Will Mackey hosted a segment with Pamela Siskin and Natasha Ulyanovsky (currently and respectively Cantor and Musical Director/ Organist for Congergation Beth Israel in West Hartford).  (Natasha played a piano on this occasion).  They were to perform a piece which I have sadly forgotten the name of, but they were in need of a sound that was present in the orchestration, but had not been arranged for.
    Strangely, that sound was to be made by an entirely appropriate and unplanned for train whistle which I had picked up at a music shop the Sunday before with real idea of how I could use it.
The twelve hours ended with more classical performances from Katie Lansdale and, finally, the Judy Handler and Mark Levesque Duo.  The twelve hours ended at 6 PM, as Dave Buddington played the first CD heard since early the previous morning.  The hours were chock full of great music, loud, live and soulful, live talk, shattering light bulbs and events as close to serendipity as a meticulously planned radio program can get.
    We launched a second It’s All Live, which I was unable to attend.
Now, however, I understand we have another one being arranged for Thursday September 20.  At this writing, we are still arranging details.  I and my Culture Dogs co-host Sam Hatch are scheduled to do yapping of some kind during the event.
    I’ll try to go shopping for materials for creating live Foley sounds in the meantime, and, with any luck, I’ll get to enjoy a lot of great live music and rock out and accidentally make some music of my own.
And break stuff.

 The New England Fiddle Contest returned to Hartford's Bushnell Park in May and WWUH broadcast the event from 10:30 am to 7 pm.  Chris Larsen and Kevin Lynch produced the broadcast. Kevin Lynch, John Ramsey, Chris Larsen, Jim & Madeline Christensen, Steve Theaker participated.
    In January we were contacted by the town of West Hartford and asked if we would like to participate in their 150th anniversary celebration scheduled for four weeks in May and June.  Town resident Arnold Chase was donating a huge fireworks display to the town as the finale for the event, and we decided to broadcast the music that was choreographed in synchronizaition with the music.  WWUH was extensively promoted by the town in all of the publicity they generated leading up to the evening of the event.   A special ISDN digital phone line was used to broadcast from the Rocklege Golf Course, the site of the fireworks display.  Engineer Chris Larsen coordinated the broadcast which started at 7:30 pm with theairing music provided by Arnold.  Doug Maine and Kevin O'Toole hosted the event, with Doug at Rockledge and Kevin back at the studio taking turns going on the air live about every fifteen minutes to invite listeners to come down for the show and to promote the station and the town.  In addition, they provided traffic and parking information, and described the best viewing locations.  The actual fireworks display was spectacular and listener response was very good.  The town was very happy with our participation and the station got lots of good press. In addition to the above volunteers, Eugene Hazamov helped with this project. 
WWUH once again aired the Monday Night Jazz Concert Series live from Hartford starting on July 5th from Bushnell Park.  Chris Larsen served as remote engineer for these broadcast.  Hosts included Chuck Obuchowski, Peter Michaelson, Stuart Feldman, Maurice Robertson, Terry Weichand and Dean Hilderbrandt.
    WWUH volunteer Brandon Kampe surprised everyone by producing an outstanding documentary on the 1944 Hartford circus fire.  This was the first documentary that Brandon had ever made, and it was one of the best programs we ever aired.  The show was initially aired to coincide with the groundbreaking for the memorial in July.  The program was aired two more times later in the year by listener demand.
Student Mark Helpern became the first Production Director the station had in years and he quickly went to work doing station production work and assisting station volunteers learn the art of production.
    The annual holiday party was held in the station office.  The staff was given the opportunity to record holiday IDs to run on the air through December.
   In June the licensee of WAPJ decided to transfer the station to another Torrington group which would involve relocating the studios.  WWUH was rebroadcast 24/7 at least through November.

     Jazz in January.
     Music for a Change: Eddie From Ohio*, Aztek Two Step and the Acoustic Jamboree*, Devrish, Tom Paxton*, Brooks William and Kenny White*, Mad Agnes*, Jonathan Edwards, Ellis Paul, Greg Greenway, David Roth and Sonia,  DaVinci’s Notebook, Groove Lily, David Massengill, Klezperanto, Tish Hinojosa, , Thy Mayocks plus The Lonesome Brothers, Cheryl Wheeler and Kenny White, Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, 
     Celtic Series in 2004: Cathy Ryan Trio, Julie Glaub Bohola , North Sea Gas, Tannahill Weavers, Teada,  Andy Irvinw/Niamh Parsons. Cherish the Ladies 1/9/04,  Dervish 3/5/04, Teada 4/3/04, Niamh Parsons/ Andy Irvine 5/7/04, Lunasa 6/11/04, Tannahill Weavers 9/24/04 ,  Danu 10/8/04,  Cathie Ryan Band 11/13/04, Julee Glaub/Joe Newberry/ Pete Sutherland  12/11/04.
     In January, the Hartford Courant ran a long article about Hartford’ s influence on Reggae music in the US.  WWUH was mentioned several times and West Indian Rhythms host Phillip Mitchell was quoted extensively.
     The November 4th edition of the Hartford Courant featured a huge picture and short article about our Its All Live program.
        The station’s record and CD library had grown to such an extent by the beginning of 2004 that the ECOM was looking at a situation where we would run out of space within the year.  Many options were explored, and a decision was made to sacrifice the business office and to make it part of the library.  This meant having contractors cut a door through the back of the office into the library.  Conservative estimates showed that the increased library space that this would provide would last a minimum of four more years!
     February 28- March 5.  Goal $70000.  A dark green T shirt with a “green man” logo was offered as a premium. The week ended with $68,250 in pledges! Close to 1,500 listeners made pledges of financial support to keep WWUH on the air, and many took advantage of the great premiums (the “green man” shirt and CDs) that were offered during the week. 
    The goal of the fall drive was $20,000. By week’s end just under $40,000 had been pledged. The premium was a long sleeved black shirt with red embroirdered logo.

    The Ecom convened a working group consisting of Marissa Lindgren, Luke, Heather Rupp, Chris Larsen and Kevin to explore the possibility of starting a second, web-only station to be known at “WWUH2”.
     An RDS generator was installed that would allow RDS equipped radios to display “WWUH” when tuned to our station.
WWUH connected to the UH fiber optic backbone and utilized fiber at the connection between the studio and the Gengras STL location.
Renovation of the recording studio was undertaken by Chris Larsen.
       In February Infinity, the owners of WTIC, renewed our contract for use of their tower for another five years.  We were able to keep the same CPI rate increase.
    Staff Members Andy Zelden, Will Mackey, Brian Burness and Eugene Hazamov represented the station at the freshman resource fair in May.
      In June, a door was cut throught the wall between the station library and the inner office to provide space for the expansion of the library.

    FOLK STUFF IN WWUH HISTORY submitted by Ed McKeon on the occasion of his 20th anniversary on the air at WWUH:

    Here are some random thoughts that I hope will help fill in the blanks.
When I came to the station for training in 1984, every FM on Toast show with the exception of Wednesday was Folk music.  Wednesday’s show was rock and called “Folk Off.”  I trained just behind Ed Savage, and when the Tuesday show came open, Ed turned it into a Celtic show (he was followed by Maureen Brennan and then Steve).  The Wednesday show opened in 1985 and I stepped in.  I don’t think the rock show had many listeners, because I didn’t get many complaints when it became a folk show.  In fact I got a lot of calls from listeners happy to hear that folk was being played every weekday.  Then I got a lot of calls from listeners complaining that what I was playing wasn’t “folk.”  I played a lot of folk-rock, electric protest music (Billy Bragg, in particular), and raucous Celtic music.  I also played a bunch of blues, zydeco, Cajun and world music.  Edgy stuff for folk listeners.  Obviously, all those genres are now pretty well represented on other shows.  And I named my show “Fringe Folk” so I didn’t have to defend myself against the folk police.
    Bill Domler brought me to the station.  I used to buy some of the wildest folk albums at his shop on New Britain Ave in Elmwood.  I first visited his shop to find a copy of a song I heard while driving West on I-84.  I can remember the precise location, just past West Farms, and he played Kate Wolf singing “Give Yourself to Love,” followed by Andrew Calhoun singing “The Gates of Love.”  I thought, “What’s this?”  And I was hooked.  We chatted frequently at his shop.  Then I let him borrow some albums by Billy Bragg, the Pogues, the Men They Couldn’t Hang and others. I had bought these albums at Capitol Records where I first met Susan Mullis, Mark Santini, Michael Clare, Mark Delorenzo and Andy Taylor.  The music I was listening to  didn’t appeal to Bill but he asked me to appear as a guest on his show to play some of them and to talk about them, and I did.  Then he convinced me to go through training.  He didn’t have to twist my arm.
    Bill started his show because he listened to Susan Forbes Hansen on WHUS and WFCR, and figured he could do that.  His was the first non-rock show in the FM on Toast slot (though not the first folk show on WWUH – there had been folk many years before, as old program guides atest).  As he always told me, he didn’t know a lot about folk music when he started the Sounding Board, and then the radio show, but he learned as he went.  He loved really traditional folk music, and didn’t care too much for the progressive stuff.  But occasionally his ears would settle on a newcomer (Nanci Griffith for example), and he would play the album relentlessly.  He was also a big fan of old, old jazz (The New Black Eagles, the Cheap Suit Serenaders) and of Sir Harry Lauder, a Scottish balladeer from early in the century.  Bill owned some amazing audiophile stereo equipment, but the irony was that he was deaf in one ear.  For the longest time he was an analog defender, and wouldn’t play CDs.  He left the Sounding Board, and started the Roaring Brook Concert series, and then the Print Shop Concert series in his shop when it was on South Whitney.  Though he was the Speediest Printer in Town, his little shop within a shop was called Music Vale.  Bill was also a relentless concert taper.  I wish I knew where his collection of cassettes, dats and mini-CDs are because he taped (including one great Silly Wizard show which has reached legendary status - - Bill played it often on the air) nearly every concert he produced, or helped produce and he likely had some amazing early performances by some great musicians.  If we could put our hands on them, we’d have a treasure trove.
Prior to, and certainly after, the Folk Next Door, I produced several concerts at the station.  To be honest, my recollection of who performed is pretty hazy.  I was usually going for the unknown artist.  Most of the files I had concerning those shows were lost in my divorce.  I do remember Dar Williams, The Nields, John Gorka, Eileen Weiss, Dick Gaughan, Rory McLeod, Richard Shindell, the Five Chinese Brothers, Susan McKeown and Chanting House, Eddy Lawrence, Kila, and…and…I think the station has taped copies of some of these.
Bill produced one big show at Lincoln Theater with Nanci Griffith and Eddy Lawrence opening.  He also produced Nowell Sing We Clear as a Christmas show at least twice in the Wilde.
    John Chapin produced a number of shows at the Wilde and Lincoln in his Lloyds Series, including Alison Krauss and Union Station, and a Winter’s Night tour with Cheryl Wheeler, Patty Larkin, John Gorka and Cliff Eberhardt.
    The Folk Next Door was an idea that emerged in a phone conversation between Bruce Pratt and myself.  We wanted to do something that would bring money into WWUH, expose our listening audience to new artists, and create a permanent record of the event.  CDs were pretty new, especially in the folk world, at that point, and we wanted to make one.  So we came up with the scheme to charge a good ticket price, give each audience member a copy of the CD, ask the artists to perform for free and use the funds from the concert to press the CD (and cassettes, of course).  The rest is history, and I think, documented in the Folk Next Door history I wrote at one point.
The second FND was a near disaster, as you likely remember.  The daytime, outdoor, free show was scuttled and brought indoors.  It put us hours behind, and brought noisy children into the Wilde which made taping nearly impossible.  I remember the Nields, Hugh Blumenfeld and Bruce Pratt holding an impromptu concert under the eaves of the Harry Gray Center while we set-up inside.  Folk Next Door concerts, especially at the beginning, were always long, but the second one was way behind schedule.  I had bandmembers from Last Fair Deal screaming at me, and the Five Chinese Brothers, who had rented a car to drive down from NYC, left at 2 a.m. without having performed (we later mended fences).  I remember getting out of there sometime around 3 a.m., and as I remember, my son Colin and your twins had used the elevator so much, it broke down.  The star who emerged from that concert was Dar Williams.  When the selection committee met to listen to prospects, her tape was rejected, but in my capacity as FND executive, I put her back into the show.  She was the first performer in the evening ticketed session, and she floored the audience.
    The Folk Next Door side project, At Home For the Holidays with the Folk Next Door was a successful concert we held in a hall at the Village For Families and Children, who also were beneficiaries of the concert.  We convinced the Nields and Dar Williams to record their holiday songs in advance to use as promos on the air prior to the event.  Nerissa Nields was a quick writer and she wrote “Merry Christmas, Mr. Jones,” but when she asked Dar to write a song, Dar was aghast.  She wrote her songs methodically over the course of several weeks, and she didn’t think she’d come up with something in a matter of days.  She wrote, “The Christians and the Pagans” which has become a Dar Williams classic.  The original version has one slightly different verse.  The CD is still very popular with listeners during the holidays.
    The Nields have always been friends of the station.  As you know, Katryna had a show for a while.  They visited my show frequently when they lived in Windsor.  And Nerissa wrote, “Ash Wednesday” for an Ash Wednesday appearance after I complained that as a Cajun and Zydeco fan, it was often difficult to do a show the day after Mardi Gras.  Nerissa wrote the song while at a conference, and Katryna didn’t have time to learn the hellbent lyrics, so Nerrissa performed it on the show.  The Nields, Hugh Blumenfeld, Stan Sullivan, Dar Williams, Steve Nystrup, Mad Agnes and others appeared live on various Marathon shows, which often ended with hootenannies.  Hugh also wrote a song about Wednesday FM on Toast, and often composed impromptu songs for supporters who pledge to the station.  I still recall one called “Rockadundee Road” based on an address on a pledge form.
For me, the highlights of the show have been the interviews with musicians that I’ve conducted, either at shows or during visits to the station.  Here’s a partial list, from memory.  Billy Bragg, Michelle Shocked, the Horse Flies, Dewey Balfa, Leon Rosselson, Eliza Gilkyson, the Pogues, Shawn Colvin, Patty Larkin, Robbie Fulks, Dar Williams, the Nields, Mad Agnes, Madwoman in the Attic, Rod Picott, Eddie Reader, Peter Case, Richard Thompson, Dave Moore, David Mallett, Mojo Nixon, Michael Doucet, Steve Riley, the Oyster Band.
Very occasionally, I’ve played some on-air jokes, often around April 1.  For instance, I’ve pretend that the show is pre-recorded at an earlier date, usually from several years prior.  The joke is that I insert current songs and concert listings with ancient ones.  I do a fake announcement, something like: “this is a rebroadcast of a Folkrama show recorded July 14, 1988”.  Most listeners don’t catch on.  The phones go silent, and later in the week I bump into people who ask me where I was on that day.  I’ve also used an alter-ego, and an alter-voice.  I disguise my voice as a gravelly, Southern slur and call myself Tom Flighs (I haven’t done this one in awhile).  I sound like a cross between Lightnin’ Hopkins and Tom Waits.  I used to do this for a very practical reason – I used this voice when I was filling in for another folk show, having already done mine that week, and I didn’t want my bosses or co-workers to know that I was coming in late because I was doing another show at the radio station.  One morning when I was using this voice the studio line rang, and on the other end was Joe Hoke, who at that time was president of Mintz and Hoke Advertising, Connecticut’s largest agency.  He wanted to hire Tom Flighs to do some voiceover work for a commercial his agency was preparing.  I tried to convince Joe that Tom Flighs was really me, and that I couldn’t do the voice for a commercial, because Tom Waits had just successfully sued someone who had done an imitation of his voice on a national commercial.  My most successful sound effect gag was one you’ll remember, John.  During one horrendous flu season I was talking, on air, about how the foam microphone windscreen probably was full of spittle that had flown from dozens of announcers’ mouths and that, as such, it was probably the repository for some really potent bacteria.  So I told the listener I was going to wring out the foam windscreen into the wastebasket,  I pulled it off, on-air, then slowly poured a cup of water into one of the metal wastebaskets.  It sounded gross, as many listeners called to tell me.  Finally, one Marathon a few years back, I knew I was going to be in Omaha Nebraska during my day for fundraising, so I convinced Steve Theaker to sub for me, but I left almost three hours of Marathon programming behind on CD.  Steve did a great job, answering questions that I asked on the recording, like: “What’s the total now?”   With some basic cue sheets, he handled them all with aplomb.  As I recall, we raised a record amount, and no one knew I wasn’t there.  I also used to do a feature called “Keeping Up with the Smiths,” based on the group the Smiths (I used the song “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”) as a theme, and each week I’d play a piece of a cut from an alterative rock group with an odd name so parents would know what their kids were listening to.  After about a year, I abandoned the feature by breaking an actual LP record on air.
    One other feature of the show has been the Visit to the Library, a short, three-minute book review feature, first with Mike Donohue, who was an avid reader, and President of the Boothe and Dimmock library in Coventry, and later with Andrea Gaines, aka the bibliobabe."

  5,000 new CDs were received during 2004, including, 3413 Rock CDs, 692 Jazz CDs, 531 Folk/BG CDs, 417 Urban 259 World/Reggae CDs and 204 Blues CDs.

    Without the help of the family of Lewis K. Roth, WWUH would not exist. However, the station had lost touch with Mr. Roth’s family in the late seventies, and little was known about our benefactor other than what was inscribed on the plaque that hung on the wall next to the WWUH Air Studio since Day One:
    “WWUH was dedicated on November 20, 1968 to the memory of Louis K. Roth. His encouragement and generosity, and that of his family, helped make possible the creation, expansion and continued operation of WWUH.” Through research, we discovered an obituary written by Rabbi Silverman, c 1970, (reprinted courtesy of The Connecticut Historical Society) that provided us with some new information about Mr. Roth. 
     “Born in 1896, Mr. Roth was educated at NY and Columbia universities.  He began his career in 1924 as an independent distributor of radios.  In 1935 he joined Radio Corporation, Victor Division as production manager of their electronic division.  In 1944, he set up, with two partners, Radio and Appliance Distributors in Hartford.  This firm eventually became one of the largest radio wholesalers in Connecticut.
     “Mr. Roth was involved in many civic and community organizations.  In addition to being a trustee of the Connecticut Opera Association, Mr. Roth was a trustee of the Julius Hart Musical Foundation here at the University of Hartford.  He also served on various university committees and served on the Board of Regents of the University of Hartford from 1961 to 1967.”
     The Hartford Times, in a May 1967 editorial said:
     “In the brief span of 23 years Louis K. Roth made an indelible mark on the civic, cultural and business life of this community.  He was a man of diverse interests, unbounded energy and willingness to give uncounted hours to non-business activities in which he had a special interest.
     “The list of the social and civic agencies with which he was identified in lengthy.  They range from those formed to help needy persons to societies of a musical or other artistic or cultural nature.
     “Mr. Roth took his community responsibilities seriously.  He was generous with his money, time and counsel whenever the call came for assistance.  Hartford will recall Louis Roth with the warmest recollection as a civic-minded citizen of the highest quality.”


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