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radio at the melting point

Ok, I received a few private responses to my last post, gently put, from good friends, but basically along the lines of ---

“Fine, Whitehead, but do you eat your own pudding? Where is the Whitehead hit show? If this is such a winning formula why have you not tried it?”

And it is true. In now almost twenty years of drifting around in the ethers, I have never had a regular show. I proposed a few, but the ideas went nowhere. Why?

To be honest, I never sorted out the rules of the game here, it always seemed as if there were far too many bottoms to kiss.

(many of you don’t have that problem, bercause you ARE the bottoms to kiss --- which is why I urge you to USE the power you still have before the accountants and suits take away your bottoms!)

Over here, the guard dogs of National Public Radio are hungry, and extremely protective of their tiny territories. When the bone gets smaller (and drier), the politics get more vicious.

Exhausting and petty, if you get sucked in.

--- and so I decided to forget the Big Game, and put my energies into programs that may not reach huge audiences in a single broadcast, but may do OK through time, by virtue of having good “legs”.

I am happy with a piece like DEAD LETTERS, which has been broadcast over 200 times, or PRESSURES OF THE UNSPEAKABLE, which has evoked screams around the world. Or TOTENKLAGE/LACRYMOSA, which began as a performance piece, migrated onto radio, and then ended up as a soundtrack for a short film.

Radio can have as much of a viral presence as the web,

if we can learn to make viral shows, with ideas that live longer than the news.

Though I have done a few short things for the Big National Programs”, for the most part, I have followed the other path,

radio at the melting point,

radio at the place of disappearance,

radio from the fringe.

On small budgets, doing almost everything myself.

I use the past tense, because next year will be twenty years for me, making radio, and I feel like I am at some kind of end with it. Perhaps embracing my “fringe” aesthetic, after a brief fliratation with television (another story) I am now becoming more involved in live theater:

small black boxes,

with living, breathing meat.

On small budgets.

Doing almost everything myself.

Theater at the melting point --- some things will never change.

But I have one more radio program in me, that I will make in the coming months. It is called


It will be about paranoia, fame, disaster and the American dream.

It will be a personal response to 9/11, and will be made for WFMU, outside NYC, and possibly the most adventurous radio station on the planet. Stay tuned.

(Forgive my ramblings, but I agree with Edwin that this could be a fine, vital forum, if we would all sing for our supper from time to time. As some of you have suffered through my songs in the past, well, you know, I never miss a chance...)

On a moonless night in the mountains,


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