Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WCVT 89.7 FM Towson - Industrial Show [1990]


WCVT 89.7 FM Towson - Industrial Show [1990]

* This one tape is the only record I could find anywhere of this obscure radio show ever existing. If ANYONE reading this knows anything about WCVT or this Industrial show from Friday nights around late-80s/'90/'91 - please let me know. I'm dying to locate more recorded shows from that station, since they disappeared into thin air without warning :( RIP WCVT


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 kwatts. 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 contents of my tape include music from Godflesh, Clock DVA, Motor Morons, 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.

download zip

info - ???

14 comments:

Mars said...

That is a great story!

XMP said...

Yeah I've been obsessed with radio stuff ever since. But there hasn't been anything close to WCVT or WHFS in the 80s ever since :(

joelpwr said...

This is brilliant, thank you!

MrC said...

did you post this story here or somewhere else a few months back? .. sure i read it before, can't remember if i got 'round to DLing it though because i probably read it one lunchtime at work, so shall get it now ... cool story indeed ;)

XMP said...

oh hey - I posted it on my other blog but the links went dead and I don't really update the other one much. enjoy...

Anonymous said...

i had about six shows on wcvt between 1986 and 1990 when i graduated (got thrown off as well). i did an "industrial show" as well as a psychedelic show. did a lot of current 93, spk, gristle, DIJ, ect. it was a great station and we all got a chance to play what we liked until management changed and it went more commercial. never did tape any actually. my best moment is when during the hated pledge drive, i played "hamburger lady" from Throbbing gristle over and over until people paid me money to stop. i just lifted the needle and started again. that and the psychic tv jim jones tapes i played over the air.

-pj dorsey

XMP said...

wow. PLEASE send me an email if you read this! I'd love to speak with you personally about stuff having to do with WCVT... steve_pmx@yahoo.com. I done google'd you and can't find shit....

WVKayaker said...

I'm gonna give this one shot!

Skizz said...

I was going to say, "I bet that's PJ Dorsey's show." (Hey PJ, good to run into you online!) I worked there too, from 1984 until a few months before it went off the air in 1991. There's a WCVT MySpace page now: http://www.myspace.com/wcvt

WCVT had 10,000 watts - I used to get requests from the Eastern Shore and Reston, Virginia. Cut-funding isn't what killed the station. It was just a format change (WTMD is the same frequency, same transmitter, same studios, etc.). I could bitch for hours about it... I've been doing it for years.

Anonymous said...

King did industrial shows frequently and one I remember specifically played "Metal Machine Music" (borrowed from Rod Misey) underneath the entire show. I also did an entirely spoken word show that drove people nuts. One time I played three records at once. I also had live performances with Peach of Immortality and others. Man, I miss that station.

I still have a From Bach to Rock sticker somewhere...

-Brian Rise

Tammy Gomez said...

been going retro lately, listening to ole audiocassettes from the 80s on...i have at least
two i taped off of WCVT. Rod Misey was such
a cool guy and dj.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit older but listed to WCVT from roughly 1981-1986. In particular I listened a lot in 82-84. I used to keep a tape in my boom box and hit record anytime a cool song came on. I'd KILL for that tape now. I still remember Ian somebody in a band (or maybe a song) called Great White North... or something. :) There was a time when you'd see WCVT bumper stickers all over town...

Anonymous said...

sounds a lot like my story but mine began around 1982 or 1983. after i saw the movie blade runner i was determined to find a radio station that had electronic music like the movie. after days of scouring the am and fm frequencies i found wcvt. i eventually discovered the import show that played electronic music like vangelis, jean michel jarre and other tangerine dream. this changed my life forever. i discovered the other music varieties too and there were many. wcvt was a great addition to the 80s as i was coming of age. it was my favorite from middle school all the way to college. damned shame they changed it. where do you find a radio station that will play some einsturzende neubauten.

P M X said...

makes me downright hostile when I really think about it. Thanks your story sounds amazing... the medium of radio has all but disappeared from the cultural and artistic radar in America and nobody really seems to have noticed or care either way...