A nationally syndicated six-hour radio show began broadcasting from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on February 12. Seven days a week, Moonlight Groove Highway combines vintage rock, artist interviews, music news, and informed commentary about songs you haven't heard twice a day for the last 27 years.
"I think people are demanding more from their radios," says DJ and Director of Production Raechel Donahue. "We want to provide an almost interactive radio experience for people who are tired of repetition and rotation -- and we have to compete with satellite radio too. One thing we can offer is that we're free. And when the DJs talk, we won't just be reading the back of albums -- we know these people."
Moonlight Groove airs in seven markets from South Carolina to Colorado, but does not yet have a Cleveland home. Six hours of fresh music, it seems, could interfere with the number of times "Train Kept a Rolling" is played.
The show's DJ lineup includes Cleveland rock-radio pioneer David Spero, pirate DJ Gavin Scott, blues expert and Sirius DJ Dusty Street, and San Francisco radio veteran Lobster. In addition to a play list that culls from an archive of 99,000 songs, Rolling Stone editor-writer Ben Fong-Torres will air excerpts from interviews he's collected over the past 30 years.
"In a set of songs, we'll start with something familiar like the Rolling Stones," says Donahue. "And we'll gradually go into more obscure artists or songs. At our first meetings, everyone had a list of what they wanted to play, and every person had a Ray Charles song and a Lyle Lovett song -- two artists you don't hear on the radio much. We'll have the familiar, but not the trite."
Donahue and Street will tape sessions at the fifth floor of the Rock Hall, from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., respectively, every Monday through Friday. Visiting DJs will record segments on weekends. The public is welcome to watch sessions, and admission to that part of the Rock Hall is free.
· Old-school Cleveland punkers the Pagans will reunite (again), headlining Chicago's Horizontal Action Fest Saturday, May 21. Tickets are available through www.emptybottle.com.
· After four years of regularly gracing spots like Fat Fish Blue and the Savannah, blues rockers the Bluescasters are disbanding following a goodbye party Saturday, February 19, at Edison's Pub (2327 Professor St.). Guitarist Tom O'Maille says that half the band is moving out of town, and the remaining members may resurface with a new name.
· 10-34 Records is moving to New York City. A posting on the label's site says it plans to continue working with Cleveland bands (including homegrown emo from Darling Waste and Delay).
"Hard-edged Cleveland rock troupe Shenoah has landed an opening slot touring with Universal Records' Element Eighty through March. They'll warm up with a swing through the South with fellow Clevelanders Rikets.
· After a two-year hiatus, original Phestur drummer Scott Munson has rejoined the rock band that, despite protestations to the contrary, sounds quite like grunge lifers Mudhoney.
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