Arts & Events » Arts and Culture

TUNE IN: Bright Spots on the Radio Dial

Eric E. Stanley

comment
Arbitron rating: No. 1 in his time slot in the Richmond market for ages 18 and up

Favorite live performers: Prince and James Brown.

Old favorite records you'd recommend: "Voodoo Child" by Jimi Hendrix and "Psalm" by John Coltrane.

Contemporary artists you'd recommend: Lenny Kravitz and Alicia Keys.

Local artists you'd recommend: Johnny Houston and Mr. Wiggles.



Style: In one sentence, how would you describe your show?

Stanley: My show is 360 degrees of black and black-influenced music, or African-American and African-American influenced music, if you prefer.



Please provide an example of a set you would string together on your show.

"God Has Got To Be a Woman" by Seed Is, a Norfolk band, followed by "Harlem Blues" from the Mo' Better Blues soundtrack, followed by "Boogie with the Hook" by John Lee Hooker, followed by "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats. The first two for the message, the third one for the groove, and the last one for the groove, and because it was the first rock 'n' roll record.



Who is your target audience and what do you hope your show means to them?

My target audience is people who have an appreciation for music with substance. I hope it moves them, makes them think, inspires them to do something about a situation, pursue something, gets 'em out of a rut.



What does it mean to you?

It is not a job. My show is my baby — it's a very deep emotional attachment. I've gone in with migraines, hangovers and the flu. It's an intellectual stimulation, as well, putting things together. And it's physically exhausting, 'cause I stand up the entire five hours.



What does Richmond radio need more of, and less of?

Richmond radio needs more diversity, in terms of types or genres of music. It needs more DJ input, and that may add to the diversity. And it needs less corporate involvement, as it relates to programming.



How did you get to where you are?

It was a long road to do it, but the show had a proven track record at WVGO and elsewhere, so that helped. I went to the classic rocks, the modern rocks, public radio, and everyone said it wouldn't work, that it wouldn't fit their format. I actually left the radio industry for a while, because I didn't like the computer-programming aspect. Eventually, I met with the people at my current station, and they were willing to give it a try. (note: during his time away from radio, Stanley also battled cancer, successfully.)



What experience brought you to hosting your own show?

I'm a record collector, I manage bands, and my aunt had a blues club, so I've been around music my whole life. Being a DJ is always what I wanted to do, since I was a little boy.



What obstacles do you face as a DJ these days?

I don't get pressure to play certain songs. [But] I have to sell what I do, and that can be hard.



How is DJ-ing today different than it was 10 years ago?

Ten years ago there was no computer playing the music for you. Ten years ago, DJs had some input into what got played. Now the record companies decide what song gets played. Now you just push the button that says 'Go'. And you have no input. They don't really want local flavor either. They want you to be an interchangeable piece, just a piece in the puzzle. And if your colors are too bright, they don't want you here. I'm a throwback. I'm a real person pushing the buttons, and cueing up the turntable.



Who owns your station?

Radio One. (note: Radio One is partially owned by Clear Channel, and Radio One owns some of XM, the satellite radio band.)



Do they have a say in what you play?

No. Nobody has approached me with that. If they did, I'd have to decide whether or not it's something I want to deal with. For now, they're happy with the results."



What radio do you listen to?

I listen to Magic 105, and not because they are my radio station. They're playing old R&B, and you will get 'the surprise' with them. I listen to J. Smack on XL 102, and Page Wilson on WCVE, and Bill Bevins in the morning, if I get up, which is rare. I do so much research for my show that turning the radio on is a hard thing for me.



Is this a full-time job, a part-time job, or a hobby for you?

This is what I do - this is my job, my full-time job. I'm making a living doing Sundays. — Andy

Add a comment