So it led me here. LPR – Listen Project Radio
A little over two years ago, I impetuously acted on an idea out of nostalgia and The Listen Project was born. Let’s be honest, I had a concept and a very crude road map. First I created a Facebook page to publicize what I was doing and a private Facebook group to connect friends, artists and others involved in the NE Ohio scene. I needed the connections because I wanted to hear the stories from the primary sources. I also focused on collecting the music. I am forever indebted to my guru Jim Benson, former long time host of WBWC’s Local Artists Show and co-host of “Inner Sanctum” on the old WENZ The End for access to his vast collection of NE Ohio music. Allowing me to digitize rare and out of print LPs, demo cassettes and CD’s really created a stable foundation for the Listen Project. Eventually, artists and band members began to send me tracks to add to the growing archive (which currently stands at over 5000 songs). Thanks to Kevin Roy from Jehova Waitresses, Ernie Smith from In Fear of Roses and Tim Caskey from Serious Nature and the Adults, some of the first musicians who sent me some of their currently unavailable material early on.
Knowing that I did not merely want to archive music but re-present it to an audience, I had to find a means of delivery. I started by posting albums and singles on my personal YouTube page and creating this blog/website. Even though both were well-received, I felt this lacked enough context, so I jumped way outside my comfort zone and started a podcast not only to play the music but to talk about the bands and artists I was presenting. With no previous broadcasting experience, I flew by the seat of my pants and learned as I went along. It dawned on me that while people might enjoy hearing me talk about the music, they’d probably rather hear from the players themselves. And so, a chance comment left in the Listen Project Facebook Group led to my first phone interview with Mark Addison of the Generators, Hungry Young Men, Nation of One, the Wanton Seeds, the Borrows….one of the most talented songwriters of the late 70’s/early 80’s Cleveland music scene for the podcast. That led to an interview with Alan McGinty, drummer in the legendary Wild Giraffes and also co-owner (with original WG bassist Chris Burgess) of the Beat Farm Studios and Herb Jackson Records, an interview that included playing material from a brand new Wild Giraffes album of live and studio tracks (which was released yesterday). I also got Jim Benson to come out of retirement and co-host a podcast with me…and he’s going to do it again (whether or not he likes it).
The next stop happened very quickly and completely by accident. Dan Binder, former program director for WENZ 107.9 The End (a station that actively supported NE Ohio music during its time on the air, especially through the weekly “Inner Sanctum” show) rolled out an on-line version of the station this past February. I asked myself, “How’s THAT work?” Long story, short – I did the research and here we are. A “radio” station built for music made in NE Ohio.
probably no other Internet radio station out there where you can here the Wild Giraffes followed by the Waynes, Rocket From the Tombs followed by Odd Girl Out or Tin Huey followed by Dink. You’ll hear tracks from the Jim Clevo Presentations and Cleveland Music Group compilations, all long out of print. While focused on the “golden triangle” of Cleveland, Akron and Kent, we’ll stray into other Ohio cities, particularly those whose bands like the Bounty and the Epicureans became fixtures on the NE Ohio scene. Currently, Listen Project Radio runs 24/7, mostly on autopilot using a proprietary algorithm to chose songs from the over 1000 uploaded to station’s database. I am slowly creating theme-based “programs” like Beads & Flowers which covers acoustic and folk rock, The Akron Sound playing music from the Rubber City and by extension, Kent. CLEPunk focuses on Cleveland’s important legacy as one of the birthplaces of punk rock. I also plan on adding new music from those of you who were active during the Listen Projects time parameters (roughly 1975 to roughly 2000).
The hosting site for LPR is Live365.com. While the platform allows live broadcasting, no DJs for now. I may migrate the podcast here as soon as I am familiar with all of the nuances and limitations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) which I have to follow as part of the agreement to use Live365 as the host. However, performance rights payments are included in the monthly hosting fee which means all plays are reported to BMI, ASCAP and SESAC making this a legitimate (I guess) station.
We’re here. I’m committed to personally funding LPR for at least one year. The Listen Project is now officially a non-profit corporation and I am exploring the possibility of obtaining 501(c)(3) status as an educational entity to assist in fundraising. Wherever this goes, I hope that you’ll take the opportunity to listen to LPR. Hopefully, many of you will enjoy it and promote it to those who would be interested in hearing this music. Finally, I want to thank YOU. YOU made this music. YOU made the NE Ohio music scene vibrant and eclectic. YOU make the Listen Project a worthy endeavor.
Great music deserves to be heard! Now, go “listen!”
P.S. Special thanks to Gerard Dominick, bassist in In Fear of Roses, Indian Rope Burn, Paranoid Lovesick and currently the Juke Hounds for designing the new Listen Project Radio Logo. Gerard is also an incredibly talented graphic artist and you should use him for your stuff.
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