Wednesday, November 15, 2006

WCVT 89.7FM Towson - Industrial Weirdness


WCVT Original Tape 1:
http://download.yousendit.com/04F32D837668F59E

WCVT Original Tape 2[a]:
http://download.yousendit.com/861B39A023CC96DA

WCVT Original Tape 2[b]:
http://download.yousendit.com/38AEC0EF11B5EE37



When I was in 8th Grade, I went over to a neighbor’s house and asked if I could have this broken solid-state AM/FM receiver that was sitting in the garage. I took it home, took it apart, cleaned up all the connections and re-sautered ones that were loose. I put it back together, plugged it in and was ecstatic to see the soft amber backlit glow of the FM dial. After searching the FM range slowly for about 2 weeks, looking for signs of life in between the main stations - I finally came across something faint that really sounded strange. It was *just barely* picking up the signal from 89.7FM, Towson MD’s extremely indie college radio station. The call letters were WCVT - and I happened to stumble upon it late one friday night, during the weekly experimental/industrial show. I had to get better reception to figure out what the f*ck they were playing!

My brother had an old GE boombox that he gave me - looked like a piece of shit, but it worked. He said it picked up WHFS really well, so I gave it a shot. Low and behold, this thing had a ’sensitivity boost’ switch that would give a significant boost to the FM reception. I was thrilled to see that this GE boombox picked up the WCVT reception almost perfectly, if the antenna was in a very specific position. Come that next friday night, I tuned in at midnight and listened to this show in its entirety. I was in 8th Grade, and this random find had literally changed my life forever. I had already gotten into heavy metal and punk via my older brother and some local older neighborhood kids, so Industrial/experimental music logically was the next step in my progression. I was able to record ONE tape’s worth of magic from one particular week’s show; two weeks later I tuned in, and there was just white noise instead of music. I was completely crushed - but a week later the reality sank in. I desperately tried to tune in, only to become horrified at the sound of smooth jazz and adult contemporary where WCVT once was. Seemingly overnight, funding for WCVT was cut - forcing them to kill their transmitter, and also leaving opportunity for this horrible adult contemporary station to snatch up the bandwidth like an evil hermit crab.

Upon further research, I realized that their transmitter operated at a very low wattage - something like 5 watts. People in Baltimore had trouble tuning in to WCVT, and Towson is less than an hour away from Baltimore. Yet somehow my GE boombox picked it up clearly, and I live almost 2 hours distance from Towson. To this day, I still see this chance encounter as some weird act of divine intervention so that I could be exposed to all this insane underground music.

Just ripped the original WCVT tape yesterday, and it's got a little radio noise and skips around a little, but who cares. I dare you to find me another WCVT Towson recording anywhere online. They don't exist! The mp3's of my tape include music from Godflesh, Clock DVA, Helios Creed, The Wolfgang Press, Throbbing Gristle, 2nd Communication (japan), The Church, Cabaret Voltaire, Bauhaus, The Cramps, A.R. Kane, Circle Jerks, D.O.A., Broken Toys and more. Plus a priceless PSA warning against the dangers of STDs.

7 comments:

dalston shopper said...

Welcome the bloging (webiz) world. This looks fantastic and a whole lot better music than on my blog (but you do have better resources). Anyway, congrats and I will like you to my blog :)

Todd

Lee said...

i'm forever grateful to my likkle brother for continually introducing me to sonic weirdness. throbbing gristle's 'hamburger lady' will be forever etched in my brain. can you hear me? thanks WCVT!

MrC said...

ok, so many months have passed since this obviously expired, but i loved the story so much i wanna experience the music .. if you are still alive out there in webland, is there any chance of a re-up, & hows 'bout some more posts!? resurrect yourself sire!

peace
MrC
http://ylow.blogspot.com/
;)

kek-w said...

Awwwwriiiight!

Chandler N. said...

I need to check this out sometime. :)

Chris Schnapp said...

I loved listening to WCVT out of Towson, MD during the mid 80's. I loved the jazz fusion show on Friday nights and the Cosmic Music Experience that aired on Saturday nights... Is there anyone that has tapes of these shows that you could please rip for me? I had tapes from Cosmic but I lost them due to sandy... Thanks.

Chris

Chris Schnapp said...

I loved listening to WCVT out of Towson, MD during the mid 80's. I loved the jazz fusion show on Friday nights and the Cosmic Music Experience that aired on Saturday nights... Is there anyone that has tapes of these shows that you could please rip for me? I had tapes from Cosmic but I lost them due to sandy... Thanks.

Chris