For the third year in a row, I renewed my membership to KDHX during their spring drive. For you non-St. Louisans, KDHX is our city’s independent radio station, which is not the same as a college station (it’s not affiliated with a college) and not the same as public radio (because I’m sorry, everyone, but I just don’t understand why you all love Ira Glass so much). KDHX is…well, it’s independent. It isn’t funded by corporations or record companies, it doesn’t have to play the music that makes the most money, and because it is supported entirely by listeners, it is completely committed to giving those listeners what they want regardless of what every other station is trying to shove down their throats.
It is – and I’m not saying this just because I’m lucky enough to write for them – a magnificent resource for music and the arts in St. Louis, and literally, I am thankful for its existence every single day. No lie! Every day, I either listen to KDHX, write stuff for KDHX, think of things to pitch for KDHX, or just see my KDHX bumper sticker, which is not as cool as the last one I lost but I suppose the bubble design is a better fit for my car, and besides, I don’t want to be one of those weirdos who pays like $30 for one of the really old purple and green ones. Because that’s crazy is why.
You want to know why I love KDHX so much? Because I have heard and loved so much music thanks to it, music I never ever ever would have known about had I been the kind of person who listens exclusively to the kind of mainstream radio stations that made Nickelback rich and employ disgusting morning show personalities whose senses of humor don’t extend beyond a fart machine. We all know that fart machines are hilarious, but it doesn’t hurt to expand one’s repertoire. Those stations don’t give a shit about you. They don’t give a shit about music, or artists, or things people actually create and enjoy. They give a shit about money. They give a shit about the pre-programmed block of autotune that they’re going to make you listen to (when you’re not listening to ads, I mean) again and again and again until you’ve convinced yourself that you like this garbage. You think that’s all there is because you’ve never tried anything different, and this is what allows mainstream radio to keep shitting out the abortions it calls music. They don’t want you to know any better.
If Graham and I end up moving to Seattle in the fall, there are a few things I will miss about this city. My nephew, for one. Knowing where the hell I am most of the time. The Delta Blues sandwich at Blues City Deli or the fish n’ chips on Fridays at O’Connell’s. But in the Top 5 Things I Will Miss About St. Louis will certainly be KDHX, and this is why I will donate year after year to make sure it stays on the air.
If you live in St. Louis, please consider donating to KDHX. If you don’t live in St. Louis, please consider listening online (you can stream live or the last two broadcasts of any show!) and maybe you’ll want to donate next year. If you need recommendations, ask me, I have them! Just do something nice for yourself and find out what you’re missing. It’s a weird, wild, crazily free world out there, and there’s a ton of stuff to listen to.
Kill It With Fire
Bohemian Like You, The Dandy Warhols
Kick Drum Heart, The Avett Brothers
Stubborn Love, The Lumineers
I Don’t Want to Get Over You, Magnetic Fields
Afraid of Everyone, The National
You Ain’t Alone, Alabama Shakes
Cherry Tree, The Duke Spirit
Young Blood, The Naked and Famous
This Gift, Sons and Daughters
Sayso, Evy Jane
Oh Maria, Islands
California, Delta Spirit
Hellbound Heart, Reykjavik!
High on a Wire, The Black Box Revelation
Lucky Dutch, Radio Moscow
Faster, Harder, Royal Baths
Sleeping Annaleah, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
So Alive, Love and Rockets
Lola, The Kinks
Your English Is Good, Tokyo Police Club
Lovesick (Once Again), The Hundred in the Hands
I Want For Nothing, Wye Oak
Elegy, Hey Marseilles
Madam George, Van Morrison
1) I actually have no love for Ira Glass. Besides Scott Simon making my commute better on Saturday morning while the rest of the world is asleep, I love NPR because it is the ultimate multitasking tool. I can be informed about world events while I drive? You mean I can use the hour and a half or more of my day I spend in the car to learn something? Hurrah. And this is (one of the reasons) why I support NPR.
2) I have tried on several occasions to listen to KDHX and I have to admit it’s never stuck. Usually when I tune in it’s zydeco hour or similar and I just can’t do that. But I’ll keep trying, because KDHX in theory is everything I think music on the radio should be.
3) I sometimes stream The Current from Minnesota Public Radio to my phone. The Current is the same sort of independent radio mindset, and if you’re having a day where KDHX isn’t doing it for you (i.e., it’s zydeco hour), you might stream them.
4) The only song I know by The Dandy Warhols is Bohemian Like You, but a) I dig it and b) I dig the name The Dandy Warhols. Good job, pre-hipsters.
5) The Avett Brothers make me happy.
I think the zydeco hour you’re referencing is a show called Howzit Bayou?, which I’ve never likd, either. Saturday and Sunday mornings/afternoons are also not good times for KDHX, as it’s basically the “Older White People Who Still Claim To Love World Music” block.