Punk Globe would like to thank DD for a fun and very informative interview and a visit down memory lane... Be sure to check out Deaconlight Radio @ ErrorFM.com......Punk Globe: Thanks so much for the Interview DD. How long have you been doing your radio show?
DD: My first Deaconlight radio show was December 13, 1977. That’s not a typo - it really was 1977. But Deaconlight goes back much farther. The show began in the mid-40s when two Wake Forest College students started broadcasting a music show from their boarding house room using a radio transmitter they built. This led to the establishment of WFDD, an on-campus radio station that featured news, sports, and a daily music show called “Deacon-Lite Serenade” - a play on Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” and the Wake Forest “Demon Deacon” mascot. During the 60s, the “Serenade” was dropped and by the 70s, the show was known as “Deaconlight.” This student-programmed music show ran until December 31, 1981, when a new station manager hired by the university expelled rock and roll programming from the station.
This date coincided with my graduation from WFU in December 1981, so I resurrected the show a couple of months later at WZKL, a commercial rock station in Winston-Salem, NC, USA. Since the name “Deaconlight” didn’t make sense outside the context of Wake Forest at that time, I wanted something more descriptive of its content: music that represented a new generation of artists breaking away from the comfort zone of 1970s classic and prog-rock . It was originally “New Generation Nation” (inspired by Gen X and the Dead Boys) but settled in as the “New Generation Show.” It debuted as a one-hour show on Sunday evenings, but quickly evolved into a three-hour show, plus I did live club versions of the show one or two times a week. I changed the name to “Choice Cuts” somewhere around 1984. By then, however, the music and radio business was getting rather discombobulated, so I cancelled my show and made plans to leave WKZL and radio behind me by summer 1985.
I was persuaded to bring the show back on another radio station in January 1986. The new name was “Try This.” But I was tiring of being a DJ in an industry that wanted personality over music so I thought I was “retiring” from radio for good when I left in the following May and got into the online business a few months later.
Deaconlight first resurfaced in late 2002 when I got curious about what had happened to all the DJs who had hosted the show at Wake Forest. I set up the web site www.Deaconlight.com with the intent of using it as a point place for bringing us together and sharing our stories. This led to a reunion of Deaconlight DJs spanning decades in October 2003. I used the site to write about the history of WFDD and post the written experiences of students who had worked at the station.
While working on the site I decided just for the hell of it to start posting some of my playlists. Being the pack rat that I am, I had almost all of my Deaconlight and New Generations playlists so I figured I post them deep down in www.Deaconlight.com to get them all in one place. The plan was to type them up chronologically starting with that December 13, 1977 show. But after doing a few, I found the song lists rather boring and decided to start with the last Deaconlight show in 1981 and work my way back. For some of the songs, I had a link to a page displaying the album cover where I wrote a sentence or two about the record. I continued to work my way backwards and found myself adding a little more text to record cover pages each time.
In 2006, an www.ErrorFM.com DJ named Jason Jeffries found www.Deaconlight.com and we started corresponding. I made a few guest appearances on his show but declined invitations to do my own show. Yet there was so much fantastic music everywhere I turned I felt compelled to do something to spread the buzz beyond writing commentary on www.Deaconlight.com. In January 2007, I decided to give this Internet radio thing a shot. It made sense to me to call the show Deaconlight as a nod to my radio roots. I don’t know how long it will last but for now it’s a fun ride.
Punk Globe: Can you give the readers the address to for your show?
DD: The Deaconlight radio show is part of www.ErrorFM.com , an Internet radio site established in 2002 in the UK that now has a global presence. There are two channels: Channel 1 has a variety of formats programmed by DJs located around the globe. Channel 2 is managed by www.ErrorFM.com’s programming staff and focuses mostly on the Indie format. Deaconlight broadcasts live on Channel 1.
There are several ways to access www.ErrorFM.com’s streams. Which one works best depends on the media player preference of the listener:
1) www.ErrorFM.com Web Site - http://www.errorfm.com - there is a “Listen” page where you can set a default player.
2) iTunes Radio. Both channels have been accepted for inclusion. You can access us from the “Alternative” Genre.
3) www.ErrorFM.com Flash Player: http://errorfm.com/tune
Playlists from my www.ErrorFM.com shows are archived on my music site at www.Deaconlight.com. I generally post the playlists live as I do the show. Most songs are linked to either a related page on www.Deaconlight.com or to an external site where the listener can find out more about the record.
Punk Globe: Tell us what time you broadcast?
DD: Deaconlight at www.ErrorFM.com is live Monday-Friday from Noon-2pm Eastern Time (1700-1900 GMT).. I’ve also noticed lately www.ErrorFM.com has started rebroadcasting my shows when I’m not on. Not sure how I feel about that because being live is part of what makes it Deaconlight.
Punk Globe: What does your show include is it music and interviews?
DD: What Deaconlight SHOULD be is a well-produced program that associates older music with similar new music and vice versa. The concept is to help older listeners discover new bands based while turning younger listeners on to music prior to the emergence of Blink-182! As it is, however, virtually every show is just done by the seat of my pants based on whatever I feel like listening to at the moment – spontaneous and unscripted. I have two turntables and tons of vinyl, but most of my newer stuff is digital.
The basic musical criteria are: 1) I have to like it, and 2) I have to have it. In the “old days” record companies sent product right to my house. But with so much music being produced now, I don’t want to have to wade through all that so I try to buy all my own music to show support for the artists. Besides, if you know the DJ paid for the music you’re hearing, chances are the DJ feels like it’s really worth playing and not just doing it because she feels obligated in return for getting freebies.
Punk Globe: Can you tell us about some of your past guests on the show?
DD: Guests are either live in the studio, live on the phone, or recorded at an event and later broadcast. Today we called SPIZZENERGI live from London by phone to celebrate the 30th anniversary of SPIZZENERGI’s first broadcast on the BBC’s John Peel radio show. Amongst the guests we’ve interviewed in the past couple of years are The Academy Is…, All Time Low,
54 Seconds, Armor for Sleep, Kasim Sulton, Dave Gregory from XTC, Richard X Heyman, Jeffrey Dean Foster, Cobra Starship, Ralph Farris from ETHEL, Taking Back Sunday, The Color Fred, The Maine, Four Year Strong, Hit the Lights, Sing It Loud, Artist Vs. Poets,
The Bigger Lights, and a few others.
Going back to the early 80s, I interviewed Psychedelic Furs, U2, The Alarm, R.E.M., Wire Train,
Violent Femmes, Big Country, Stray Cats, The English Beat, The dB’s, Let’s Active, numerous local bands, and more than I can remember or list here.
One goal for the www.Deaconlight.com web site is to take all this audio and archive it online. It’s a big task.
Punk Globe: Anyone that you really want to score as a guest?
DD: It would be so cool to sit down with Ryan Adams and have a conversation. He is such an amazing musician with a boatload of influences. I’m looking forward seeing him live in Atlanta. I’ve pondered trying to get an interview but on the other hand it would be nice just to sit back and enjoy the show.
My main interest in doing interviews, however, is talking with new bands on the upswing of their musical journey. There are so many energetic young musicians out there working for recognition or at least some sort of stability with their music. Some have the gift, some don’t, and some are on the fence. It’s fascinating to “get under the hood” and hear about their goals and purpose firsthand, then continue to watch their careers.
Punk Globe: I know that you are friendly with Jenny Lens -- she speaks very highly of you.. How long have you known her for? You both are so talented and enterprising women.
DD: I’ve known Jenny for a few years. Sometimes I think Jenny is the ying to my yang. www.Deaconlight.com is supposed to be an archive of personal experiences related to rock and roll. My focus is written content and Jenny has the most incredible archive of photos that say so much about that era from the late 70s/early 80s.
When I bought Jenny’s Ramones eBook (http://www.jennylens.com) and looked at her photos on my big HD computer monitor, I almost cried. The Ramones have always been one of my favorite bands. There is no way I can explain how it felt to see these amazing candid shots from the 70s of these guys when they were so young and full of life. In my 30 some years of being a Ramones fan, I have never seen any photographs that move me like hers do. Her hardcover book Punk Pioneers that came out last year is amazing as well.
I want to find a way to incorporate some of Jenny’s images with the written content I have (or plan to have) at www.Deaconlight.com. By matching her photos with the right content on my site, www.Deaconlight.com visitors would have a much richer experience. We’re still working on this and I hope we’ll get our collaboration in action within the next few months.
Punk Globe: Who are some of your favorite bands?
DD: Tough to answer. Depends on my mood. Core “classic” bands would be Ramones, The Clash, Alice Cooper, Big Star, Patti Smith, Bowie, Buzzcocks, Velvet Underground and spinoffs, The Cramps (RIP Lux Interior), The Damned, Devo, The Doors, Roxy Music, The Cure, Gang of Four, Green Day, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Nina Hagen, The Jam, NY Dolls, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails, Einstuerzende Neubauten, Iggy Pop/Stooges (RIP, Ron Asheton), Sex Pistols/ PiL, R.E.M., Stan Ridgway/
Wall of Voodoo, Black Flag, Oasis, Nine Inch Nails, Rolling Stones, Sonic Youth, Talking Heads,
Julian Cope, The Stranglers, The The, The Pixies, Husker Du, The Cult, The Undertones, PJ Harvey,
Violent Femmes, X, Neil Young, Joy Division, The Who and, of course, The Beatles.
Moving to the present: From First to Last are one of the most promising 21st century rock bands. They lean a little more to the metal side than punk. I just can’t get enough of these guys. I’m also looking forward to the next AFI album and seeing how My Chemical Romance are going to follow up “The Black Parade.” The White Stripes are the shit, and I hope to see them live some day. I saw a band called Luna Halo in 2007 that about blew me outta the club, they were so awesome. Living Stereo, a band out of Cleveland, rock like hell. Can’t wait to see them live. Other bands I like in the realms of psychedelia, electronica, and pop include Mohanski, 54 Seconds, PlayRadioPlay!, and Jeffrey Dean Foster.
Punk Globe: Is there anything that you may like Punk Globe readers to know about you and your plans for your show.
DD: Deaconlight at www.ErrorFM.com is not an innovative program in the sense my vintage shows were. Back then, the mission became to get this new movement of young bands in the ears of as many people as' possible so we could shatter the strict radio formats that were ignoring it in favor of the same old crap. While I am still driven to turn people on to talented new artists, there are plenty of outlets taking care of this on a much bigger scale these days. What I hope I’m doing is helping to build bridges between generations of music fans so everyone can enjoy and support both new and old bands (attending shows, buying music and merch, etc).
Punk Globe: Thanks again for the interview and we at Punk Globe wish you so much luck with Deacon Light. Any parting words of advice for our readers?
DD: One of the things that makes doing a live, global radio show is the ability to interact with the listeners. in real time. When I was live on “terrestrial radio,” I could only have a conversation with one person at a time and that was by telephone. www.ErrorFM.com has a chat room where listeners can come in and hang out, make requests, chat with each other, etc. What I would say to anyone listening to Deaconlight at www.ErrorFM.com live is to please stop in the chat room sometime and say “Hello.” You can say “Punk Globe” sent you!