by Brian Goslow
Many of the people hosting
programs on the non-commercial airwaves present specialized shows with borders
just as stiff as their commercialized counterparts. Sean Duffy, host of the
B-Side, heard Wednesday nights/Thursday mornings from midnight to 2 a.m.
on WCUW (91.3 FM), may spend a lot of time with classic-rock related artists,
but that doesn't stop him from throwing in a dose of Curtis Mayfield or
Forced Fed Shovelhead.
"My collection goes from Bob Marley to Natalie Merchant to the
Sex Pistols to the Allman Brothers. The musical lines are all
crossed now. Rock and rap aren't that far apart now. 311 is rock that
knocks you on your ass, but there's two guys who aren't just singing, they're
rapping. People are being exposed to more kinds of music these days."
A card-carrying member of the Grateful Dead family ("I used to follow
them constantly"), Duffy gets his kicks at Phish shows ("I follow them
as much as possible"). He listens to neo-hippie, H.O.R.D.E. tour-based stuff
like the Dave Matthews Band and finds good tunes by local bands. At the
time of its release (in 1995), Joe Rockhead's La-Di-Da received
little airplay locally. The B-Side's host loves the disc. "It's a great
album," says Duffy, who's especially fond of the tracks "Second Best" and "Last
Drop." He's eagerly awaiting the Another Planet 45 and can't get enough
of Rhode Island funksters Foxtrot Zulu. "When you go to a show in
Providence, it seems as if the whole city's there, or at least the entire
University of Rhode Island," he laughs. Other regional acts garnering airplay
include Angry Salad, Bop Harvey, Rippopotamus, Jiggle the Handle, and
Mr. Pickle. "I play as much local stuff as I can get my hands on," says
Duffy, who can be reached c/o WCUW, 910 Main Street, Worcester 01610.
Duffy started his radio career in the mid-'90s at Worcester State College's
then campus-only broadcaster, WSCW. Where many of the people hosting programs
on the community radio are happy where they are, Duffy, who served an
internship at WAAF, has a different agenda. "This is what I'd like to do for a
living. I'd like to work for a big station in a major market and make some kind
of a name for myself."
Knowing the value of a market share, Duffy is aiming his program at the 19-
24-year-old age group. "I'm waiting for the colleges to return and get things
going again." He began hosting the B-Side just before the '97 spring
semester ended. How does he react to the current charge that the area's college
students aren't interested in hearing live music? "I don't think they're being
exposed to it. They're not even aware of what they're missing." Local bands
shouldn't overlook the college crowd either. "We have money to spend, whether
it's our own, or mom and dad's. If you have a CD, we'll buy it."
WCUW'S CULTURAL CONCERT series continues on July 30 with French-Canadian
folkies Lilianne Labbe and Don Hinkley (who'll be at Elm Park from 5 to
7 p.m.). Local Latin favorites Carilan Jazz do their thing on August 2
at 2 p.m. at University Park. If you can't make it to the show, tune in WCUW
and hear it live.
INDUSTRIAL SONIC ECHO land at WCUW on July 30 at 8 p.m. They'll be using
their Hullabaloo appearance to promote their upcoming show at the Space
on August 2 and to invade the airwaves by performing live. "They did it once
before, and it came across pretty well," says host Mark Paolini. "Some people
thought it was our transmitter fucking up again, but it's the band!"