With all the line-up changes at the station, I thought it proper to officially announce the change in my show name.
When I (briefly) took over the Jazz Buffet in 2000, little did I know that I would still be here over 10 years later.
Shortly after joining WDBX, I got what would be my last full time job working for someone other than myself. In the meantime, my wife Sarah took over the Buffet so that we could hold that spot. When I resumed life among the self-employed (that took all of two months,) I knew I wanted my show back.
That was the easy part.
Little did I know how strong of a claim Sarah had staked to the show. So, upon talking with our station manager, BRP, I decided to pick up another show. BRP encouraged me to continue with the jazz format, which lasted for a few months. The name of my show became “Take the J Train.” I slowly began introducing some of my rock into the mix, in addition to some politically and socially driven spoken word and lecture-type material by the likes of Howard Zinn and Greg Palast. All apologies to one of the greatest American institutions, but I was realizing that a show featuring jazz just wasn’t for me.
Enter “Music For Activists,” inspired by a CD of the same name by my childhood friend, Kevin Casper, who was living in Topenga, CA at the time. This incarnation continued for some years, and while I got a lot of positive feedback regarding the political nature of my show, I grew wary of the “preaching to the choir” feeling I got on a weekly basis. This was coupled with the increasing demands on me from my growing family, which seriously impacted the amount of time I had to “produce” each show in advance, an obvious requirement of a show based in any way on current events.
Nonetheless, I kept the name. Meanwhile, listeners wondered aloud to me why there wasn’t more of an activist slant to the music. Apparently, since I wasn’t playing Joan Baez, I wasn’t playing true “activist” music.
So I changed my name again, this time more subtly. Now i would be “Music and Activists,” which I felt relieved a bit of the stress to play music FOR activists. And besides, I like to think that all of the musicians I feature are activists, if not in the traditional sense, then in the sense that they are actively creating and influencing listeners.
This name lasted until now, when I feel that a change is once again in order to reflect my new activism–farming.
When I started at the station years ago, I was rather unsure of the career path I had (not) chosen for myself. I was three years out of school with an English degree, the aforementioned family was growing, and all I really enjoyed was working outside. So I started a landscaping business. I was able to work really hard for most of the year, but there was a forced vacation waiting at the end of the season. Kind of like teaching, which my mom always wanted me to do, but around the holidays when I wanted to spend more time with family and enjoy my cozy home.
Fast forward about 7 years. I found myself still landscaping, but much of the commercial and new construction work on which I had depended started to wain. We had purchased an old farmhouse (1893) and five acres of land in rural Union Co. in 2005. Our modest garden was growing, and I had many visions of the homestead that would feed us, literally and spiritually.
Then i found a book that would change the course of my life. It was called,”The Botany Of Desire,” by Michael Pollan, and it gave me a whole new perspective on plants. I began to really think about growing food and the positive impact it had on my life. This led me to another book of his, called “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” which focused more on the environmental advantages of local food, and called into question the serious implications of continuing on the same path of ecological destruction through our ag practices.
Within months, Sarah and I began discussing a career change. Later that year, we formed Frontwards Farm, and began growing food for other folks. This past summer we began marketing through CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), in which members buy into the farm for the season, and receive regular deliveries of produce. Not only has this led to many new friends and a real connection to them, but it has given us a way to sustain our farm financially while competing with large farms around the world that rely on volume and mass transportation to deliver their food at a very competitive price.
So,what exactly does this have to do with WDBX. Like many DJs, who I am is who you get on the air. While I have considered on air monikers and other ideas to “conceal” myself, I have always decided to just be myself. And this new name is very much about who I am.
The name is “Full Circle,” and it is meant to celebrate not only the days and seasons of nature, but the cyclical elements of all of our lives, elements which I fear are being lost in a wave of technology and a seemingly global desire to be connected via said technology. Not only do I recognize the knowledge and accomplishments of those who have come before, I embrace them wholeheartedly as an essential part of continued life on this planet. But as our farm motto (Rooted in the past, growing for the future) suggests, I believe that we must put to use these past accomplishments in a way that makes sense for the changing world, and accepts the speed at which change is happening.
Life is fragile, youth is fleeting, but if you pay attention and remember the lessons you have learned, you just might be lucky enough to take a few extra trips around the sun.