The readers of this magazine have joined forces and decided that WWOZ-FM/90.7 is the best radio station in town – thank goodness. In fact, it would not be much of a stretch to declare ’OZ the best radio station in the world. These are times of media consolidation and rapid deterioration of diversity, and radio as a whole seems to be moving toward a bland, homogeneous concoction of schlock that sounds like oatmeal cooked by the Matchbox 20 puppeteers. So again, thank goodness for little ol’ WWOZ, cranking out wattage from Armstrong Park and celebrating Louisiana music as well as the whole American roots-music concept. Blues, jazz, funk, country, zydeco – it can all be found on ’OZ, including Jelly Roll Morton, James Booker, Papa Grows Funk and beyond.
Marc Stone’s “Soul Serenade” does the heart right on Tuesday afternoons. The local bluesman and scholar reaches deep into the soul and blues catalog and finds some magnificent music that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. A typical show reveals obscure cuts from Muddy Waters, Bill Withers protest songs, Sam Cooke B-sides and laid-back J.J. Cale mumblings. Then there is the Soul Sister and her wonderful funk and rare groove show on Saturday nights called “Soul Power.” The show makes having a dance party in your home easy – just turn on the radio and watch what happens when people hear Chuck Brown for the first time.
“The Doctor’s Existential Blues Show” on Friday evenings is a solid way to get pumped up for the weekend, with scorching jams from the Radiators, John Mooney, Albert King and Sonny Landreth generally peppering his set lists. On the other side of the Friday-night coin, in the wee hours, after the partying has been fast and furious, it sure is nice to wind down with the Midnight Creeper. For those who like to get twisted, Dave Kunian’s 12 to 3 a.m. slot on Thursday morning is tough to beat. Kunian spins uplifting yet far-out tracks from the likes of Sun Ra and Rashaan Roland Kirk. And Billy Delle, host of Wednesday-night New Orleans-music show “Records from the Crypt,” has been with ’OZ since the 1980s, when the station was housed atop Tipitina’s. His passion for New Orleans music involves more than 50,000 records.
Finally, the best way to get happy midday Friday is to listen to Bill DeTurk’s New Orleans music show. Local bands currently on the scene often stop by to chat and promote upcoming gigs or new albums, and DeTurk usually has special guests who advise listeners on upcoming festivals, special events and performances. He intersperses all this activity with a healthy dose of Professor Longhair, which is a good arrangement for everyone.