Love it or loathe it, there is no doubt that the Pacifica Network of radio stations in the U.S. put on some intriguing radio. Equal parts eclectic and controversial, Pacifica stations pioneered the concept of listener-sponsored radio and they are a valuable alternative to the current state of drab, corporate controlled commercial radio. Consisting of 5 stations (WBAI New York City, KPFK Berkeley, KPFA Los Angeles, KPFT Houston and WPFW Washington DC) and almost 100 affiliates, Pacifica is perhaps better known for programming like Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News and Flashpoints but they also put out some high quality rock and roll radio. Here are a couple of rock and roll highlights from a few of the Pacifica stations:
· The Music Never Stops – The award winning show hosted by Barry Smolin on KPFK Sunday nights from 8:00 to 10:00 PM PST. “Dedicated to exploratory rock and roll in the form of Grateful Dead concert tapes, contemporary jam rock and miscellaneous psychedelia,” The Music Never Stops I quickly discovered is not just about the Grateful Dead but obviously they are featured prominently. A good way to get introduced to what the Dead and similar jam bands have to offer.
· Dead to the World – Continuing the Grateful Dead theme is Dead to the World broadcast Wednesdays from 8:00 to 10:00 PM PST on KPFA with renowned Grateful Dead expert David Gans. Deadheads rejoice!
· Más FM – We continue our stay on the Left Coast with Más FM, rock and roll with a Latin American flavour hosted by Ramon Castillo from Saturday at Midnight PST to Sunday at 2:00 AM on KPFK. Great stuff.
· For the Record – Hosted by Samm Brown on KPFK on Sundays from 10:00 to 11:00 PM PST, For the Record is “is the only weekly radio talk show that focuses exclusively on the $50 billion music and recording industry.” An impressive resource for musicians, For the Record is well worth the listen.
· As we head off to the East Coast you should try and catch Punk and Hardcore with Susan Brown broadcasting on WBAI every other Tuesday from 3:00 – 6:00 AM EST. A truly interesting way for the insomniacs to spend some quality rock and roll time, Punk and Hardcore features “classic & current punk & hardcore, mostly really heavy loud angry fun music. Sometimes you might even hear a little gospel or country.” Hey, what else are you going to do at 3:00 AM on a Wednesday! Sleep?
· Finally we have Rock em Sock em Radio which also broadcasts on WBAI and alternates with Punk and Hardcore every Tuesday morning. Hosted by Vick the Bruiser, Rock em Sock em Radio features “everything from Rockabilly, Doowop, Garage Rock, Punk, Glam, Butt, Metal, Southern, & Plain ole genuine rock n roll.” A fine way to ruin your sleep indeed.
There you have it. A quickie guide to rock and roll on Pacifica. There could very well be more shows, and there certainly are on the numerous Pacifica affiliates but these are just a couple of shows you might want to take some time to listen to. Great radio as always from the fine folks at Pacifica.