Recent Posts in radio

October 17, 2014

by Bill Pearis

artwork for 'THE BEST OF THE BEST SHOW'
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There's a lot of news in the world of Tom Scharpling. Firstly, he announced the return of much-loved, much missed The Best Show, which ran for 13 years on WFMU until going off the air in December 2013. (Dave Hill took over his time slot.) Where is still unknown but its return starts in November with comedy co-conspirator Jon Wurster and engineer AP Mike. Scharping did just announce that the show had a new email address: BestShow2014@yahoo.com. Could this be a clue as to where The Best Show will call home?

In other news, some of Scharpling & Wurster's best Best Show bits are being compiled on a massive, 16-CD box set, which is being released by the Numero Group (!) in March. Here are all the details:

75 calls over 16 compact discs, edited by Scharpling & Wurster (over 50 of them previously unreleased or unaired), a 108-page hardcover book with cover art by Joe Matt that features essays by Patton Oswalt, Julie Klausner, Damian Abraham (lead singer of F*cked Up) and Best Show associate producer Michael Lisk (aka A.P. Mike), a definitive interview with Scharpling & Wurster by Jake Fogelnest, notes on the evolution and inspiration behind each bit written by Scharpling & Wurster, a USB drive with all of the calls plus 4 hours of bonus material, a fold-out map of Newbridge, Philly Boy Roy & Timmy von Trimble Paper Dolls, postcards, and temporary tattoos with The Best Show catch-phrases.
Also, pre-orders come with a piece of the phone Wurster used to make his first call to The Best Show ("Rock, Rot & Rule") and was smashed to bits by Wurster and Scharpling, as can be seen in a video below. When announced, demand was so high it crashed Numero Group's website!

There's a third "secret project" that Scharpling will announce soon. Meanwhile, check out the Scharpling & Wurster box set video, and a special mix Tom made for The Best Show's 14th anniversary (not for folks who don't want to hear a sampled Chris Hardwick repeatedly shout "POINTS!"), below...

Continue reading "'The Best Show' returning in November, 16-disc Scharpling & Wurster box set coming in March 2015"

September 16, 2014

Clear Channel

It's been almost nine years since Clear Channel spun off Live Nation (who went on to buy Ticketmaster). Now:

Clear Channel on Tuesday refashioned itself as iHeartMedia, accentuating how the lines between online and AM/FM radio are blurring at the country's biggest company on the broadcast dial.

"It's not a company with a bunch of old radio stations and outdoor [billboards] anymore," Chief Executive Bob Pittman said in an interview. "We've transformed, so let's now take a name that matters."

iHeartRadio is Clear Channel's digital arm, a Pandora-like online service that also hosts the digital streams of the company's 840 traditional radio stations like KIIS FM in Los Angeles. Effective Tuesday, CC Media Holdings Inc. became iHeartMedia Inc. The company's over-the-counter stock ticker symbol will also change, effective Wednesday.

Streaming is the industry's most promising segment of growth, but tech-centered outfits like Pandora -- the Web's biggest radio operator -- and on-demand subscription services like Apple's Beats Music and Spotify tend to attract the most attention as they race to dominate the burgeoning sector. By recasting itself as iHeartMedia, Clear Channel not only recognizes the company itself has changed but also believes it will get due credit in the tech community for its gargantuan scope, Pittman said. [CNET]

June 23, 2014

Angie Martinez with Honey Boo Boo and Mama June on Extra
Angie Martinez

As the NY Times reports:

In a shake-up of the hip-hop radio world in New York, Angie Martinez, one of the longest-running and most popular D.J.'s on Hot 97, has left that station to join its biggest rival, Power 105.1.

A mainstay for nearly 20 years on Hot 97 (WQHT, 97.1 FM), perhaps the country's most influential hip-hop station, Ms. Martinez announced her resignation from the station Wednesday afternoon. In a post on Instagram, she said only that it was "time to move on, to grow and to be challenged in new ways."

Speculation in the radio world immediately turned to Power 105.1 (WWPR, 105.1 FM), and Thursday morning that station's owner, Clear Channel, confirmed the move by saying that Ms. Martinez would become the new afternoon host on Power 105.1 as well as on one of its Miami stations, WMIB (103.5 FM), known as "The Beat."

Angie Martinez, when not on the radio, can be found diversifying her career with activities like co-hosting The View and interviewing Honey Boo Boo for Extra.

May 14, 2014

by Bill Pearis

EVR

As we learned last night at a meeting for all their radio hosts (our metal blog Invisible Oranges has a show on the station), East Village Radio will be shutting down after 11 years of online programming. The online station signs off for good on Friday, May 23. EV Grieve broke the news publicly this morning. They write:

Popularity hasn't been an issue with East Village Radio, who counted more than 1 million listeners worldwide a month (this after starting as a short-lived 10-watt FM radio station in April 2003). However, under the Congressional Digital Music Copyright Act of 1998, Internet broadcasters must pay a digital performance royalty for every listener.

"We pay a higher rate for royalties and licensing than Pandora pays. We live in a world where these behemouth music-streaming services keep going in for more capital," said Peter Ferraro, the general manager/head of programming at East Village Radio. "It's almost like we are being penalized for our growth.

"It's very difficult for an independent medium music company to survive in a world where Apple is paying $3.2 billion for Beats by Dre."

I guest hosted more than a few times for DJ Pledge's show and there was something special about having the booth on right there on 1st Ave, having passers-by peering into the tiny room. Invisible Oranges' final show on EVR will be Tuesday, May 20 from 10 PM - Midnight (you can listen to archives now).

East Village Radio is/was founded and owned by restaurant owner Frank Prisinzano (Frank, Lil Frankie's, Supper & Sauce). Frank himself held the meeting where we found out last night, at Lil Frankie's right before our 2nd to last Invisible Oranges show.

East Village Radio, you'll be missed.

May 12, 2014

Stephin Merritt

The five-day RadioLoveFest is coming to the Brooklyn Academy of Music in June, featuring various live radio shows with a variety of performers including Andrew Bird, Hamilton Leithauser of the Walkmen, They Might Be Giants, and Jonathan Coulton. On June 7th, Ira Glass will host an episode of This American Life live from BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, and though it is being billed as "one night only", it is now two shows in that one night. This is the updated description:

This American Life uses this evening at BAM as a chance to try something it's never attempted before: true stories staged as radio dramas. One of the stories will be an original mini-musical by Broadway composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of In the Heights and Bring It On. In another, The Monica Bill Barnes Dance Company will perform while Glass narrates. Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields) is writing and performing a mini-musical of his own, built around a real story from This American Life, and Mike Birbiglia will narrate another true story in his inimitable comedic form.

This American Life is a public radio show broadcast on more than 500 stations to 2.2 million listeners each week. Another million people listen each week by podcast. It's produced by WBEZ Chicago.

Tickets at BAM's website.

Stephin Merritt, who has a book of Scrabble-based poetry coming out in the fall, also has a show coming up in North Carolina as part of Merge Records' continuing 25th anniversary celebration. His Merge25 performance, not part of the actual Merge25 fest, is instead part of a special Merge parternship with the 'Duke Performances Concert Series', as part of Duke's 'Music in the Gardens' series on the Duke University campus. All shows in that series are listed below:

Continue reading "2nd 'This American Life' BAM show added (Stephin Merritt included) ++ Merge25 Fest updates (Duke University shows)"

December 18, 2013

marquee from Toronto listening party & Tom's post-show Tweet...
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If you had to estimate how much planning went into the final show, what would you be looking at?

It's hard to say. Jon [Wurster] and I talked about what the final bits would be for well over a month. And there were five people helping pull sound clips from the 13 years of the show for the audio collage. I have no idea how many actual hours, but it was a lot. I went into that show last night wanting it to be perfect, but that's an impossible goal. So I was kind of glad when I flubbed a cue on a record in the opening set and then had a technical problem with my headphones. Because after that it was impossible for the show to be "perfect."

Tell me about the decision to not include any in-studio guests for the final show.

As we were building up to the final show, I decided that we would have the second-to-last show be some version of the in-studio guest/all-star episode. But I wanted the final episode to be representative of what people would actually tune in to hear every week. If we did in-studio guests, it would've ultimately been a wake for the show, with everybody talking about what the show was to them. I wanted the final show to be an actual episode, not a retrospective. - [Grantland]

Tom Scharpling's much much much loved The Best Show on WFMU signed off last night (12/17) for good, and the final show was one that was so listened to it taxed WFMU's streaming servers (many people kept having their connections interrupted). And it actually even was trending on Twitter. There were also listening parties all over the country, and at least one in Canada -- check out the picture of the Toronto one above. In studio, meanwhile, it featured an appearance from frequent caller Philly Boy Roy who was on the run from the cops after crashing a helicopter into a sub shop. That, of course, is one of the many "Best Show" characters from Tom's comedy partner (and Superchunk drummer) Jon Wurster who also for the first time ever spoke on air not as a character.

Other highlights: Tom's headphones not working in a Murphy's Law moment ("of course this has to happen on the final show"); a crazy audio-montage of past hilarious moments while the heartbeat from Huey Lewis' "Heart Of Rock and Roll" beat throughout; and he closed out the show with Black Flag's "Gimme Gimme Gimme."

If you missed it -- or your connection cut out on you last night -- you can stream it below. In fact you can stream EVERY episode of "The Best Show on WFMU" at the station's archives. Ever heard the 2010 episode where Tom and John Hodgman drink soon-to-be-off-market Four Loko?

Dave Hill will soon be taking over the Tuesday 9 - Midnight slot on WFMU. Tom promises that he and Wurster will continue to work together. Meanwhile, stream the last "Best Show on WFMU" below...

Continue reading "Listen to EVERY episode of "The Best Show" (RIP)"

November 29, 2013

by Klaus Kinski

Tom Stoppard (center) with Darkside voice cast
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In case you didn't know, Pink Floyd's epic album The Dark Side of the Moon turned 40 years old on March 1, 2013. Since its release, it has been hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time and a feat of masterful engineering and production thanks to the great Alan Parsons. As a matter of fact, Dark Side remained in the charts for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988 and cashes in with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide. Your man Klaus is a life-long devotee of Pink Floyd and will gladly and blindly buy into any Pink Floyd-related project with great zeal (even Nick Mason's unfortunate release Fictitious Sports... holy moly. Ouch.). And as Pink Floyd and Co. are masters of the remix/remaster/repackage/rerelease scam, I was prepared for the inevitable onslaught of Dark Side rereleases.

But what I simply did not expect in this anniversary-time was the development and release of a play by an Oscar winning playwright set to the album The Dark Side of the Moon and the themes within it. But guess what: That's exactly what happened! Darkside (not to be confused with the group who is headlining Terminal 5), a radio play written by Academy Award-winning playwright Tom Stoppard for BBC Radio 2, incorporating the music from Pink Floyd's iconic The Dark Side of the Moon, was released worldwide as a deluxe CD package this week (11/25):

Darkside incorporates music and lyrics from The Dark Side of the Moon which serves as the underscore to an abstract and compelling interpretation of the album's series of grand themes, which are both thought-provoking and laced with Stoppard's characteristic wit and humour. The play follows Emily, a philosophy student, through a series of thought experiments, which are vividly brought to life by a cast of characters portrayed by Bill Nighy, Rufus Sewell, Iwan Rheon and others.
Now, I can hear you all cracking your knuckles and sidling up to your keyboards to lay into me for suggesting this album has any potential, but hear me out! I will defend Pink Floyd to my (probably shallow and unmarked) grave. Believe you me; this album has been re-spawned in the form of so many frustratingly expensive editions over the years that it borders on complete insanity and obvious greed. Because what it boils down to is putting a fancy silk hat on an already perfect thing. All the fancy packaging in the world won't enhance the one fact that really matters; that this is one of the best, most pristine records of all time. The only edition I need is the one that came out in 1973; a gatefold album on vinyl that came with two posters and two stickers. That's it. Perfection.

What this Tom Stoppard/BBC2 release brings to the table is a brilliant writer's interpretation of an extremely heavy album. Since its release people have discussed how inspiring and how open to interpretation this album is. And now, to celebrate the anniversary, we are given the opportunity to hear interpretation at work. I think it's a pretty cool idea, and so does Pink Floyd. David Gilmour was quoted as saying that "I found the script of Tom's play fascinating; I can't think of a better way to celebrate The Dark Side of The Moon's 40 year anniversary." And Nick Mason approached it the way a fan probably would when he said, "I love it. If anyone is going to mess with the crown jewel of albums, Tom is a very good choice."

The radio play, which aired on BBC 2 in August, is out now on deluxe package CD with a 54-page booklet including the original script and Roger Waters' lyrics. Get it at Amazon. Or maybe Rough Trade? Or win one from us! Contest details (and a promo video) are below!

Continue reading "Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' turned into BBC Radio play (win a copy of the CD)"

November 26, 2013

Dave Hill rocking out @ Bumbershoot (more by Melissa O'Hearn)
Dave Hill

Current.Org reports the exciting news!

New Jersey-based freeform community radio station WFMU will replace The Best Show on WFMU in January with a program hosted by comedian and musician Dave Hill.....

...Hill and Ken Freedman, WFMU's station manager, are still discussing plans for the content of the new show, but it may also include interviews, according to Freedman. Like most other WFMU DJs, Hill will hold down his show as a volunteer.....

We couldn't think of a better man for the job. Congrats Dave! More info at Current.

Dave Hill's new show which will not be called "The Best Show" will air in the "Best Show"'s Tuesday night 9 p.m. to midnight slot that Tom Scharpling recently announced will become available.

October 30, 2013

by Klaus Kinski

best show

Ladies and gentlemen, last night the great Tom Scharpling announced that he will be shutting down the venerable Best Show on WFMU radio show after 13 incredible years. At the tail end of last night's episode Tom dropped the painful and, to many, literally tear-inducing shit-bomb of an announcement to his legions of admirers that The Best Show will cease transmission forever more after the December 17, 2013 installment. Tom has threatened a Best Show shutdown several times over the years; sometimes petulantly, sometimes jokingly. But there can be no mistaking the earnestness of last night's declaration. Most people who didn't hear the news live last night most certainly heard the news from Splitsider who seemingly broke the story first. Splitsider summarizes:

For the uninitiated, The Best Show is a weekly comedy/music radio show that Tom Scharpling started out of New Jersey in October of 2000 before the program grew a devoted international audience thanks to it being released online in podcast form. Clocking in at three hours each week, Best Show finds Scharpling taking listener calls, playing music, doing popular pre-written bits with his comedy partner Jon Wurster, and playing host to a slew of comedy and music elite as guests like regulars Patton Oswalt, Aimee Man, and John Hodgman.
Tom Scharpling is one of my personal heroes, most notably for his role as one of the key figures in bridging the gap between comedy and music. And the bits he and Jon Wurster spawned are without exaggeration some of the funniest moments of comedy I have ever experienced in any environment. I simply don't have the brain power to adequately tell you how important a show The Best Show is and on how many different levels it has played a role in the evolution of music and comedy. It's insane. And he did it all for free. And I am a card carrying Friend Of Tom and listen to his show as religiously as I can. Call-ins are a huge part of the show, yet I've never indulged. With 7 shows left, it seems I must surely seize the opportunity and make myself heard at least once before he's gone.

Meanwhile, while Tom says goodbye to radio, let's not forget that he is one of the more sought after music video creators of our time. He's also working with BV favorite Chris Gethard for something they're developing for IFC. Tom's future is wide open, and I predict only a preposterous amount of success.

Below find one of my favorite Scharpling and Wurster bits turned into a great song by Klaus favorite Ted Leo.

Continue reading "WFMU's 'The Best Show' signing off for good in December"

September 25, 2013

kexp cmj

As they do every year, Seattle radio station KEXP will be in NYC for CMJ broadcasting live and hosting free performances from some of this year's participating bands. This year, they'll be broadcasting from Greenwich Village's Judson Memorial Church from 9 AM to 5 PM on October 16, 17 & 18. This year's KEXP live performance line-up is this:

WEDNESDAY, OCT 16: Bear Ceuse (10 AM), Lee Fields & the Expressions (noon), Weekend (2 PM) and The Helio Sequence (4:30 PM)

THURSDAY, OCT 17: TBA (10 AM), Minks (noon), Au Revoir Simone (2 PM) and Ski Lodge (4 PM)

FRIDAY, OCT 18: HAERTS (10 AM), Eleanor Friedberger (noon), The Dismemberment Plan (2 PM) and Ghost Wave (4 PM)

The performances are free and open to the public with entry on a first-come, first-served basis.

Bear Ceuse's Adam Horne will probably not be doing any of his kids songs parodies, but you never know.

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