Just call me Old School — I still use film — Oh, I’ve got my little shirt-pocket digital camera but I’m as yet unconvinced it can beat film —- That’s me with the Olympus 35RC (what I call the Japanese version of a Leica) that Tom Guralnick gave me ——- He called up one day and said Mark do you want my old Olympus and I said Tom look out your window, do you see that speck on the horizon getting closer? that’s me running as fast as I can to your place before you change your mind —- self-portrait January 20, 2o16
YOU & THE RADIO
The Thursday Jazz Radio Show
September 14, 2o17 Jazz @ Noon every Thursday (starts at 12:07 after the satellite news) Host MARK WEBER KUNM Albuquerque, USA 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web KUNM.org Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6 hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)
There are times in the writing life where words go all wobbly —- You stare at one particular word and it’s like back when you used to smoke pot and you could walk around inside of this word —- You knew it was suppose to represent something and it’s not like you forgot its meaning, it’s that, it now seems absurd, and the more you look at it the more at sea you become
The strange word of the day is infrastructure —- I really don’t have time to wobble on that word so I asked Richard Towne to help me out, he’s the General Manager at KUNM and I was into this word in regards to everything that goes into keeping a radio station afloat —- And I’ll tell you this: technology has improved some things but in the main it has complicated a lot more —- I’ve been in radio since before all this digital malarkey and it was miles easier —- Then as now it all takes money and on today’s show we’ll be in the midst of our KUNM Fall Fundraiser —- I love that word: Fall —- I’m not a big summer person, I like cooler weather and Fall means to me that we made it through another summer. But enough about me —- I’m blabbering — On today’s show we’ll be asking for your support to keep ol’ KUNM sailing along ——– Jazz is a micro-climate, has its own weather systems, rivers, clouds, rain, and keeps to itself, really —- You could easily go through your entire life without knowing much about it, in recent memory we’ve only had two Presidents who knew who Charlie Parker was (Obama and Clinton) and this new guy who’s farting through the fabric in the Chief Executive’s chair in the Oval Office wouldn’t know Bird from a lamppost, but I digress — (Bird is the American story come to life in full flight) —- There’s talk that the new President is going to defund Public Radio and the arts but I can’t see Congress being that stupid, but what do I know? I’m naive, I’m just a jazz disk jockey who’s still staring at the word infrastructure and everything under that umbrella that includes us all —- Please call or go to KUNM.org to support this station of ours.
David Percival retired from UNM Hospital where he managed somethingORother and now for the last ten years spends a couple mornings a week watching over the signal that is the singular Performance Today and Native America Calling, when he’s not away on Buddhist retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh’s sangha — But mostly he’s the sub on the Thursday jazz show when I’m out of town — photo by Mark Weber — September 7, 2o17 —- There are so many more photos of KUNM folks working in the trenches to keep this station alive, but I’ll have to show you those next time
Tristan Clum, the Program Director in Chief, and one of the guys at the station who knows a little more about computers than the rest of us —- We have a lot of computers —- I remember a few years back when they all got fried and there were stacks of smoked computers in the hallways — What happened was, during a construction phase Onate Hall had to be disconnected from the main electrical and so a big truck with a generator was called in but the operator forgot to set the switch to 120 and he sent a surge of 220 and kaBoom, and don’t even ask about the exploding florescent lights, and the cinder that was my sandwich — photo by Mark Weber — September 7, 2o17
Patti in a rapture listening to her favorite Mantovani record, or maybe Kostelanetz? and that’s Cris Nichols popping into the library wondering where all the great music is coming from — photo by Mark Weber — January 27, 2o17 —- Patti Littlefield is the Wednesday jazz host on KUNM
Harry Norton on the other end of the music library listening to his favorite Ferrante & Teicher album readying for his Afternoon Freeform, did you know he was born and raised on the side of Glastonbury Tor? That’s why I’ve always called him Glastonbury, and he doesn’t seem to mind, calm sort of Englishman that he is (Glastonbury is where King Arthur is laid to rest) — photo by Mark Weber — January 27, 2o17
I asked Richard Towne to be my pitch partner and I asked him to explain infrastructure, which follows:
“One of KUNM’s many features — we have the highest antenna in all of public radio. Thanks to our Sandia Mountains, our antenna sits (with many others) at the Sandia Crest tower farm — a full 10,741 feet (3,274 m) above sea level. Given that Albuquerque is about a mile high, our antenna sits 4,100 feet above us. FM transmission loves height. We feed seven other transmitters across central and northern New Mexico from Sandia Crest, reaching 1.1 million people. About 100,000 people will tune to us in any given week. You can drive the highway from Raton to Truth or Consequences (about five hours) and hear us loud and clear.
In 1977, KUNM moved into our current facilities in Onate Hall, on the top floor of a former dormitory at the University of New Mexico. Our building had a good “look” at the Sandia Crest site so we could microwave our signal to the tallest antenna in all of public radio. I wasn’t here in ’77 but I did get to meet the architect-builder. Most impressively, KUNM built a good size recording studio and control room. Proper walls, windows and ceilings. The studio is about 450 square feet — I’ve seen 17 children in there with Orff marimbas. Mark makes good use of the room from time to time. The control room was a bit of a squeeze for two people. Mastering was on a one-inch, 8-track deck — MCI as I recall. Most importantly, KUNM had a manifest commitment to live music, live performance, live radio.
The 1977 installation also included a proper broadcast control room, audio production studios, a newsroom and the Music Library. Music was housed in four adjacent dorm rooms that had the bunk beds and built-in desks and closets removed. At one point, vinyl was in one room, CDs in the next, the Music Director was next office over and the student music assistants worked in the next door down. In the Great Renovation of 2004-05 we took all the walls down to put the Music into one big Library room.
Nowadays, the Music Library holds about 35,000 records, about that same number of CDs. A few years back we bought a robot CD ripper with four CD rippers working at the same time. You load about three hundred CDs on the Go spindles. The robot arm scoops them up one at a time and loads the discs to be ripped. Once ripped, the robot arm scoops them out and puts them on the Done spindles. The music files appear as albums on your desktop screen. Send them out for meta-data and place them on the 72 terabyte server. Log in from home or your phone, search, listen, build a playlist and you’re set to broadcast. This is all pretty handy but very different than browsing through the actual library.”
Photo by Mark Weber of Richard Towne in his office September 7, 2o17
Steven Emmons took over KUNM Operations Manager from Scott MacNicholl last year and that’s a hard job, he has to watch over most functions at the station and that we keep the station on the air and that I have my sandwich at the end of my shift and keep a wild and unruly bunch of eccentrics in line and their baggage packed (ie. left at home) and that’s Jalilah and I’m embarrassed to say but I don’t know what her job is, maybe she’s just paid to look cute and walk around with a clipboard? I know she has a desk in the Production Dept so maybe she’s an assistant in there? I’ll have to ask. With something like 14 paid staff plus half dozen in the News Dept and over one hundred volunteers I’m not required to know what everybody does — photo by Mark Weber — February 16, 2o17
KUNM Production engineer Roman Garcia in Studio D (we have 3 production studios plus a larger room, Studio A, for recording bands) —- We use Abobe Audition for music editing — photo by Mark Weber — March 3, 2o17
Mary B who’s been on this station since time began — Here she is being techno on Afternoon Free Form — March 3, 2017 — photo by Mark Weber
Rob Blakeslee Quartet minutes after an hour-long Live broadcast from Studio A —- Vinny Golia (reeds), Rob (trumpet), Billy Mintz (drums), Ken Filiano (bass), May 24, 1997 — photo by Mark Weber (I should re-broadcast this recording some day, these guys don’t mess around)
Erin Brown, KUNM Account Executive and Chanda Shaw, KUNM Sales Manager, on the 3rd floor of Onate Hall of University of New Mexico, where KUNM occupies the entire floor and some of the basement and some of the 2nd — big operation — photo my Mark Weber — March 17, 2o16 — I call Chanda “Chandragupta” after the Indian general who stopped Alexander in his tracks at the Indus River in 324BC — Alexander was marauding eastward in his vain attempt to unify the known (& unknown) world, but when he got to this western border of India and Chandragupta’s army stood on the other side of the river looking like Mad Max with elephants and tigers and camels and warriors painted in every crazy color scary, Alexander says to himself, “I think I’ll go back home now”
Interstellar overdrive with the Doctor Scott MacNicholl dialing in the dream that was the Sixties late into the night on the Psychedelic Radio Head Shoppe — February 6, 2o17 — In a lot of ways KUNM is a hold-over from that era — photo by Mark Weber — Scott is selecting a track on one of 4 CD players we use in the control room + 3 turntables + something called an Audio Vault (we use this for pre-recorded underwriting announcements & PSAs)
I’m still trying to train Matthew to have me a sandwich ready for when I come off the show — Here he is eating what could have been my sandwich, I don’t know . . . . Matthew Finch, KUNM Music Director in his office — December 10, 2o15 — photo by Mark Weber
Cris Nichols, who’s father played trumpet with Charlie Barnet and Bob Wills, who began her tenure at KUNM as Membership Coordinator on June 11, 2007 (behind her is a painting by Riha Rothberg & Wayne Mikosz) — photo by Mark Weber — April 9, 2o15 — AND her son is the NYC bassist Matt Brewer
That’s the view you have from the control board of your guests: a sea of microphones and wires: Michael Anthony playing live on the Thursday jazz show (and that’s the amp I always request he brings, his Quilter, a fabulous guitar amp) — December 10, 2o15 — photo by Mark Weber
I have no remembrance of how that Coke bottle got in there! I swear —- It’s kinda against policy to have drinks or food in any studio anywhere in America — So, this must be “product placement” as they say in the movies these days (it is empty, after all) — That’s Sheila Jordan and Cameron Brown deep into our radio show March 5, 2o15 — photo by Mark Weber
Who would zero in and track down a diddley bow player but KUNM’s Friday jazz host John Breckow — That’s Willie Joe Duncan, who called his one-string instrument a unitar, and John after interviewing Willie Joe at the San Francisco Blues Festival — August 14, 1977 — photo by Mark Weber
Thollem McDonas and the “KUNM Unprepared Piano” — We snatched this piano out of Studio A and were rolling it into the control room for Live broadcast —- Do you think Vladamir Horowitz ever had to help schlep his pianos around? Now that I think about it, he was a crazy guy, I bet he had no problem getting his hands dirty —- March 17, 2o16 — photo by Mark Weber
Inner sleeve to a 1960s vinyl LP album