What were the Top 5 most-played local acts for March on WYCE? What new albums were added for airplay? Find out here, along with the scoop on the community radio station’s 30th anniversary events.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third monthly Local Spins column contributed by Grand Rapids community radio station WYCE (88.1 FM), which showcases regional music. Every month, these essays feature a listing of new regional albums added to the station’s playlist, as well as the “Hot Top 5” local artists played on WYCE the previous month based on total spins of their music – the Local Spins version of a Billboard chart. Today, station manager Quinn Mathews waxes poetic about the 30th anniversary of the radio station and some of the special April events that help draw attention to WYCE’s Spring Fund Drive. Also, tune into 88.1 FM at 11 a.m. today (Friday) for Local Spins on WYCE, when Conrad Shock & The Noise will be the in-studio guests.
Something cool was happening around West Michigan back in 1987.
Well, a lot of cool things were probably happening, but in particular, a spot right off of 28th Street boasted a new low-powered radio transmitter and a building connected to a school that had started playing music over the airwaves. It was a part of the Wyoming Community Education school system, so the call letters were WYCE.
The coolest part of the station was that the music it played wasn’t mainstream. As a matter of fact, a lot of it was music you would never hear otherwise. Not everyone was a fan of it, and being attached to a school system made it even tougher, so the school system voted it out.
Tracy Taylor, WYCE’s station Manager at the time, worked for the school system and was basically out of a job. To keep the station alive, she assembled some “friends” of WYCE to stage a fund drive. Everyone donated a few bucks to pay the bills to keep the station going, but Tracy knew that WYCE would need a new home.
So, she hopped on U.S. 131 to downtown Grand Rapids to meet with her friend Dirk Koning who had a start up public access center called GRTV. It was a no-brainer that they would team up to merge cable access television and community radio. Hence, the Grand Rapids Community Media Center was born.
Thirty years later, I find myself sitting behind a desk at WYCE on Bridge Street NW in Grand Rapids with an on-air programmer 10 feet away from me playing a song by The String Cheese Incident.
It’s April 2017 and I’m gearing up with the staff of WYCE and our 87 volunteer programmers to launch our Spring Fund Drive, 30 years after that first one. Not many local, non-profit, non-commercial organizations last 30 years — especially organizations not affiliated with a college, or the government, or any sort of business. But this is a true COMMUNITY non-profit organization. It’s not the staff, or the equipment, or the building, it’s the community of people who care about music and care about this station.
I think of the different music that has come out of receivers from our transmitter over the past 30 years. It’s incredible considering the event that have occurred around the world the past three decades, the different programmers that have come in and out, the programmers that have volunteered here for the sake of music for 20-plus years, as well as the new folks just getting out of college and coming here to the Community Media Center to learn.
It’s absolutely remarkable to be a part of something like this and see it thrive for 30 years.
To commemorate 30 years of truly community-powered radio and that model that the founders started in 1987, WYCE this month will stage a series of fund-raising events leading up to our 30th anniversary Spring Fund Drive that takes place April 21 – 28. Tune in and enjoy.
APRIL FUND DRIVE EVENTS
WYCE MONTH FOR LOCAL SPINS WEDNESDAYS AT SPEAKEZ LOUNGE – Every Wednesday night in April, SpeakEZ will donate 10 percent of all sales to WYCE. Wednesday nights already are already an established local and regional music night over at SpeakEZ with entertainment curated by Local Spins. Brad Fritcher’s MOODS (improvisational jazz) perform April 12; Jim Shaneberger Band (blues/soul) on April 19; Justin Avdek & The Underground Circus wsg Eric Engblade (rock/jazz fusion) on April 26. Shows start at 8 p.m.
WYCE NIGHT AT ONE TRICK PONY ON APRIL 13 – Longtime WYCE friends, listeners, and donors Dan and Lisa Verhill will be donating 25 percent of all sales from One Trick Pony in downtown Grand Rapids on Thursday, April 13 to WYCE. Grand Rapids indie-folk duo Channing & Quinn will perform that night.
WYCE BEER AT CRESTON BREWERY – Good friends of WYCE, Grand Rapids’ Creston Brewery, are brewing a WYCE beer. Not only will a percentage of sales from the beer go to WYCE, but there will be a few events around town to celebrate it. Creston Brewery will celebrate release of the new brew on April 22 with a performance by Vox Vidorra. A percentage of beer sales that day will go to WYCE, and on April 28, the WYCE beer will be distributed around town for a few Creston tap takeovers, so be on the lookout because $1 from sale of each beer will go to WYCE.
NEW LOCAL MUSIC ADDITIONS TO WYCE: MARCH 2017M Brooks – “Wild Shores”
Parlor Voice – “Rice Cakes for The Unsettled”
The Film Stars – “The Film Stars”
An Dro & Friends – “Loose Change”
Carolyn Koebel & Elden Ke – “Oscillation”
Kevin B. Klein – “Good Day To Be Alive”
The Cringes – “Diving In”
Stef Chura – “Messes”
Yolonda Lavender – “Back 4 The 1st Time”
Alex Mendenall – “Into The Hinterland”
VIDEO: Organissimo, “Taxman”
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC