- I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org). As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia! Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton. I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times. I also wrote the liner notes for the three THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me? My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored. Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.
Monday, August 1, 2016
The Roots Of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO: 1992 Press Releases From WE'RE YOUR FRIENDS FOR NOW
By the time of the very first This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl back on December 27th, 1998, Dana and I had already pretty much developed our chosen format through a few previous incarnations. The first was We're Your Friends For Now, which ran from January through June of 1992 on WNMA. WNMA was...well, WNMA was certainly WNMA. The Westcott Nation Music Association was an attempt to offer and operate a community radio station in Syracuse. At the time of those first Dana & Carl shows, WNMA had no AM or FM signal, but was instead airing as something called Radiovision, which was the audio track on Syracuse's Adelphia Communications cable channel 7. WNMA's listeners--the few, the proud, the what-are-we-THINKING?!--would turn their cable sets to 7, and listen to WNMA programming while reading on-screen PSAs and posts about job openings and community events. Our pal Dave Murray--the world's first Dana & Carl fan--quipped that we weren't a real radio station, but we played one on TV.
WNMA was short-lived, and its demise was messy and frustrating. Nonetheless, during its brief and murky moment, Dana and I put all we had into WNMA and We're Your Friends For Now. There ain't no This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with We're Your Friends For Now training us first.
And We're Your Friends For Now did get some publicity. Russ Tarby at The Syracuse New Times was supportive, and so was the late Brian Bourke at The Post Standard. We're Your Friends For Now specialized in weekly theme shows, so I frequently sent out press releases to Russ and Brian, hawking the virtues of whatever the hell we had planned that week. We didn't get mentioned in the press every week, but we probably got more mentions than we deserved. (Brian, as I recall, drew the line at promoting our theme show spotlight The Monkees; guess he wasn't a fan.)
I've discovered three of my original press releases amongst the yellowing mass o' paper 'n' scraps I laughingly refer to as my archives. And here they are:
WNMA SPOTLIGHTS THE ROCK CONCERT EXPERIENCE
Here's your chance to be a friend of a friend. Tune in to WNMA, the Westcott Nation Radio Station, Mondays from 11 pm to 2 am for the Dana & Carl show, We're Your Friends For Now.
Each week, Dana and Carl dig deeeeeeeep into their massive record collections to serve up three hours of music centered around a specific theme. Previous shows have included salutes to psychedelic rock, pure pop, soul/jazz/R & B, instrumentals, and heavy metal/polka fusion. (Heh, heh--just kidding on that last one!)
Join Dana and Carl this Monday, March 16th, for three solid hours of the best in live concert recordings. Yes, it's time to unpack those cherry bombs and prepare to waive those cigarette lighters in a pathetic, mock recreation of the concert experience. Upcoming theme shows will include a rock 'n' roll soundtrack special, and a Beatle rarities show 'roundabout the end of March. A splendid time is guaranteed for all!
So set your VCRs now for the Dana and Carl show, We're Your Friends For Now, Mondays from 11 pm to 2 am on WNMA. Because it's important to have friends.
WNMA SALUTES THE BRITISH INVASION
Tune in to WNMA, the Westcott Nation Radio Station, this Monday, April 13th, from 11 pm to 2 am for three hours of great rock 'n' roll from the mid-'60s British Invasion. It's all happening on this week's edition of We're Your Friends For Now, hosted by local record collectors Dana Bonn and Carl Cafarelli.
This week, Dana and Carl promise a mix of hits and should-have-been-hits from various British artists of the 1960s, with timeless nuggets from The Dave Clark Five, The Hollies, The Searchers, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, and The Zombies, plus more obscure names like The Big Three, The Mojos, and The Warriors (featuring Jon Anderson, years before he fronted Yes). You can expect more than the usual "yeah-yeah-yeah."
During the show, Dana and Carl will take phone calls for your British Invasion requests. Wanna hear "It's Alright" by Adam Faith and the Roulettes? Something by The Merseybeats? Perhaps a Manfred Mann number that isn't "Do Wah Diddy Diddy?" Give 'em a call!
Future editions of We're Your Friends For Now will spotlight the sounds of summer, the best of 1987-1992, debut singles & demo tapes, the 1970s, and girl groups & female singers. WNMA is Radio Free Syracuse, heard as the audio track on Adelphia Cable Systems Channel 7.
WNMA TO SPOTLIGHT THE MONKEES?!
That's right, we said The Monkees--the world's very first made-to-order rock group, and probably the most critically-reviled of all 1960s hitmakers. On Monday, May 18th, WNMA will present a three-hour retrospective on The Monkees on the We're Your Friends For Now show, hosted by local record collectors Dana Bonn and Carl Cafarelli.
Although The Monkees were attacked for their artificial origins, many of the recordings released under the group's name have stood the test of time. That's not surprising, considering that the tunes themselves were crafted by some of the finest pop songwriters of the mid-'60s, and were performed in the studio by such noted musicians as Glen Campbell, Stephen Stills, Ry Cooder, Neil Young, James Burton, Billy Preston, and even (occasionally) The Monkees themselves!
The WNMA retrospective, airing 11 pm to 2 am (with a repeat broadcast on Wednesday from 8-11 am) will focus less on The Monkees' twelve Top 40 hits and more on album tracks, live cuts and a few alternate takes, plus material from the individual Monkees' solo careers.
Co-host Carl Cafarelli does know his stuff when it comes to The Monkees. As a freelance writer for Goldmine, a bi-weekly newspaper for record collectors, Carl was the prime innovator and main writer of that magazine's Monkees 25th Anniversary issue. The Monkees issue of Goldmine was published in December, and quickly sold out nationwide. Dana and Carl are both rabid Monkees fans.
WNMA is Radio Free Syracuse, heard as the audio signal for Channel 7 on the Adelphia Communications cable system.
2016 POSTSCRIPT: "Prime innovator" of Goldmine's Monkees issue? I had a lot to do with that issue, but calling myself "prime innovator" strikes me now as a slight case of padding the ol' resume. (Though Russ Tarby at The Syracuse New Times got a kick out of the garbled-but-appropriate phrase "rabid Monkees fans.")
My We're Your Friends For Now records are spotty, sporadic, and incomplete. I know we never got around to doing the "debut singles & demo tapes" show, but I think we did all of the other themes mentioned in these press releases. And I specifically remember the "Sounds Of Summer" show in June; it had been raining a lot in Syracuse, the atmosphere was overcast, wet, and gloomy, and we arrived at the studio that evening to discover that WNMA was pulling the plug on Radiovision, effectively cancelling We're Your Friends For Now and all other WNMA programming within the next few weeks. We were asked not to announce Radiovision's termination yet, so we did our "Sounds Of Summer" show with silent surliness. At the end of the show, Dana closed with a spin of The Tearjerkers' "Syracuse Summer," played simultaneously with a sound effects record of a rain storm. That matched our mood perfectly.
WNMA itself continued for a short while thereafter, pursuing a long-term goal of establishing a community radio station on the FM dial, but the project dissolved in a flurry of bickering and bad feeling. Dana and I joined several other former WNMA folks as founding members of Syracuse Community Radio, and we continued to do some short-term collaborations under SCR's aegis. When Syracuse Community Radio launched its own radio station at the end of 1998, This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl officially began its long, mutant existence.
And this was how it all began. Nearly 25 years later, looks like we're still your friends.