I drove from the American Rust belt deep into the Midwest this week and have returned with tales to tell...I caught WPIT-AM 730 out of Arnold City who then at 2:3-0 on a Sunday afternoon runs Solvenian, German, Slovakian, and Ukranian music. It bore a strange resemblance to 1940s big band. It was a welcome and weird variant. I passed under Pittsburgh on Route 74 West, catching 770 WKFB-AM briefly then switching over to the more powerful 1340 WYJK-AM (simulcast of WYJK 100.5) . It lasted well across the Ohio border, but has nowhere near as good a play list. Classic Hits is really the wussy cousin of the real oldies station. A little sample of the WKFB playlist:
Pay Bo Diddley -David Lindey
Big Bossman - Jimmy Reed
Mohair Sam - Charlie Rich
Honey Hush - John turner
Out near Athens I caught 91.3 WOUB who was playlist a little something by Ruth Brown. Around Columbus I headed slightly south and caught 820 WOSU in the middle of a Bluegrass program.
Then I hit my first stop, Cincinnati, a fine fine city for radio. As an early American boom town, it was also one of the first major cities in the interior of the United States. It was named for the Society of the Cincinnati by an early governor who was a member. That social club was named for Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus which really just referred to his curly hair. -Altogether inauspicious.
It's the home of heritage station WLW-AM, which first graced the airwaves in March of 1922. But more interestingly it was also the home of 89.3 WMKV. It's one of a handful of FM day shares. But also the only station in America run by a senior center. They were playing something By the Sammy Kaye Orchestra.
I've written about them before. It was late and I was road weary and their play list was very welcome. The amateur DJs were amateurish in a totally different way than college kids. They had no egos, took short mike breaks and weren't distracted. Big improvement.