Lately I haven’t been getting much sleep so I lie under the covers trawling the waves aided by my tiny radio, the Sony Walkman SRF 59. This is a small and inexpensive radio that is suited to DXing and radio listening in general. DXing is a radio culture term for long-distance listening, i.e. seeking out and listening to radio stations hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away.
In these unusual lock down times and with time on our hands DXing is a good way to get out there without actually going anywhere. This column will endeavor to give a roundup of interesting local & long distance radio shows and stations.
I was doing some late night scanning on the FM band recently when I happened upon the excellent Wednesday night/Thursday morning host DJ Small Change with his Nickel and Dime radio show on WFMU out of Jersey City NJ, Midnight to 3 a.m.
Small Change is a rare species, not only does he have excellent radio chops he is also a brilliant mixer, it’s often impossible to tell when the last track ended and when the next one begins. His wide range genre proof programming from early R&B to funk, ska, dub, jazz, hip hop, salsa, electro and ambient is just an all-around joyful experience and If you’re not a night owl then you can catch his shows on the archives at https://www.wfmu.org/playlists/ND. WFMU broadcasts at 91.1 and 91.9 on the FM band.
On Sunday mornings I like to listen to an entirely different kind of music. From 8 to 10 a.m. Chris Whent’s Here of A Sunday Morning on NYC’s WBAI FM 99.5 is a wonderful radio experience. He specializes in European Classical music from before 1800, what he calls Early Music. This is the most chilled-out of radio shows. His excellent music choices paired with one of the calmest and pleasant radio voices I have had the pleasure to listen in on, makes for a good place to point your radio dial of a Sunday morning. https://wbai.org/program.php?program=137.
On the DX front after dark when the AM signal travels wide and far, I have recently come across a station broadcasting out of Washington DC. This station is WFED at AM 1500, it is an official US Government news talk station that basically deals with the day-to-day running of the government, not from a partisan point of view but the actual issues and challenges facing employees of the government. There are interesting interviews with scientists, bureaucrats and computer boffins that you would not generally hear elsewhere. The station also covers local sports, and in normal times is home to the Washington Wizards basketball team. Long distance AM reception is subject to various atmospheric conditions including weather, so sometimes I can get this station clear as day and at other times I cannot receive it at all. Such are the travails of the late-night trawler.