Friday, October 12, 2018

Self Help Radio 101218: Mirrors Revisited - The Sixteenth Anniversary Show

Gosh, there are a lot of songs about mirrors.  You will probably not find your favorite song about mirrors on this playlist.  Heck, my favorite song about mirrors isn't on this playlist.  But a cover of it is!

Sixteen years is a long time to do a show, & I probably have too many people to thank.  In the early days of my getting involved with KOOP, as well as helping me define the show, I should thank Sara.  She was an early booster & I remember how happy she was when I subbed my first radio show on KOOP, about a year & a half after my last KVRX show.  Of course I have to thank Magda, who's been with me longer than Self Help Radio has, & who's suffered all my anxieties & insecurities about the show, & enjoyed the very occasional triumph.

& oh yeah all the stations that have aired SHR: KOOP, WMUL, WRFL, WLXU - you made me feel like pretty much any great noncommercial station would gladly take the show, which has not proven to be the case here in Dallas/Fort Worth.  & all the people who listened, who called, who told me to shut the hell up, who told me I made them laugh, who corrected me, who insulted me because I made mistakes, who gave money when I begged for it, who sent me emails or mentioned the show online, anyone who's ever given the show the slightest thought - I feel weirdly validated even by dismissal, which the show has felt far more than acceptance.  (One early comment I treasure: "What's so special about a show with songs about the same thing?")

Too many people to thank.  You know who you are.  Thank you.  & if I do this for sixteen more years, you're to blame.

Of course I hope one day to do Self Help Radio live on air again instead of live in the room where my records & CDs live, & where my cats & dogs hang out, but for now, like today, you can find the show at Self Help Radio online.  Like always, there's a password (selfhelp) & a login (SHR), & like always, I list the songs & the interviews below.

Sixteen years!  I have barely done anything for sixteen years!  This is crazy!

Self Help Radio 101218: Mirrors Revisited

"I'll Be Your Mirror" The Primitives _Pure_
"Deep Dark Truthful Mirror (demo)" Elvis Costello _Spike_
"Mirror People" Poptone _Poptone_


"Any Other Mirror" Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat _The Most Important Place In The World_
"Mirror" The Drums _Abysmal Thoughts_
"The Mirror" Foster Brooks _The Lovable Lush_
"Mirror" Mekons _Me_
"Mirrors Of Your Mind" The Definitive Rock Chorale _Mirrors Of Your Mind_
"Mirror On You" Enon _Grass Geysers Carbon Clouds_

interview with Allen Shariaty

"Mirror Man" The Looking Glass _Dreamworld, 1985-1987_
"Mirror Man" Kristallin _The 3rd Marsh-Marigold Review: 20 Songs From Gold 21-30_
"We Are A Mirror (feat. Douglas J McCarthy)" Adult. _Detroit House Guests_
"Broken Mirror" Random Factor _The Hacker: The Next Step Of New Wave_
"Mirror Mirror" Robots In Disguise _Get Rid!_

interview with the Rev Dr Howard Gently

"Animal In The Mirror" Luxuria _Beast Box_
"Smoking Mirror" Momus _Turpsycore_
"My Mirror Works/Things I Can't Do" Brian Posehn _Fart & Wiener Jokes_
"She's A Mirror" Eleanor Friedberger _Personal Record_
"Mirror, Mirror" Unicycle Loves You _Mirror, Mirror_
"Bring Her The Mirror" Shannon Shaw _Shannon In Nashville_

interview with the Polish Ambassador to Radio

"She's Too Much For My Mirror" Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band _Trout Mask Replica_
"Get Out Of My Mirror" Felt _Me & A Monkey On The Moon_
"Looking For Love In The Hall Of Mirrors" The Sixths _Wasps' Nests_
"Mirror Image" Ortolan _Time On A String_
"I Wanna Be Your Mirror" Temples _Volcano_

conclusion & goodbye

"Hall Of Mirrors" Siouxsie & The Banshees _Through The Looking Glass_
"House of Mirrors" Freezepop _Imaginary Friends_

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Whither Mirrors?/Whither Sixteen Years Of Self Help Radio?

As you probably already know, this week marks sixteen long years of Self Help Radio.  The show began in Austin in 2002 & has found itself here & now.  To mark the show'a anniversary, I like to revisit an old theme - this year, it's "mirrors," first explored in 2004.  There are many, many songs about mirrors, & the number of songs about mirrors written since that show is a large one.  I might focus on songs that I couldn't have played during the first show since they hadn't been written yet.  Or I might not.

It has been an interesting experience.  This show is, I imagine, not the easiest program to listen to regularly.  If you don't like the host, it's going to suck - I talk a lot.  If you don't share my sense of humor, ditto.  But if you're just someone who likes music, it can probably be frustrating, too.  I am a contrarian by nature & I am mostly unlikely to play popular songs or the first song you'd think of when you heard a theme.  For example:

In January of 2008, there was a fire at the radio station at which I originated Self Help Radio.  That was KOOP in Austin.  Soon after we discovered the fire was arson, which led to an actual criminal investigation.  When we returned to the air, several programmers played the songs "Burning Down The House" & "I'm On Fire" (& so on) to great acclaim.  These shows were much, much more popular than mine, & people would stop me & say to me, "Did you hear when so & so played 'Burning Down The House'? That was great!  You should do that!"

My response was to do a show about anger instead.  It was generally not well-received.  Some even considered it counterproductive.  But something in me just couldn't play "Burning Down The House."  Even if I would've shared in the collective appreciation of that obvious response to the situation.

Yet the show somehow persists, traveling from station to station, stranded now on a website in a "podcast" mode.  I guess I can't help doing it.  I'm grateful if anyone listens, & I'm grateful for the talented people whom I've shanghaied to help me with making it more fun.  But I'd do it anyway.  & I should probably seek professional help sooner than later.

Hear me celebrate sixteen years of this eminently forgettable nonsense tomorrow at noon at the Self Help Radio website.  It'll be much more like now than the previous show, when I hadn't found my bearings yet.  But I'll do my best to make it a good experience.  You might learn something!  You might even laugh!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Preface To The Sixteenth Anniversary Show: Fruitless Search

Here's how I spent the part of the afternoon: looking for cassette tapes of radio shows.

When we moved away from Lexington, I tossed some cassette tapes with recordings of my radio shows, specifically the ones from shows I already had digitized.  I used to record my shows on cassette - it's surprising that I did that well into this century - & at some point I got into the habit of digitizing them & putting them on the show's website, which existed for a while at my work website until I got  But there are several shows I have no digitized.

One of those is the original mirrors show, which aired October 13, 2004.  I was convinced I could find it, & I found a box of cassettes of old radio shows, but, alas, no mirrors show.  Perhaps I never recorded it - that seems unlikely, as I was pretty assiduous about capturing my shows then (as now) because I rarely recorded my KVRX shows & I regretted that.

Maybe I can find related information about the show to share during its re-make.  Or something else.  But.  Nothing from the original show.  Which makes me a little sad.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018


In response to me posting the old anniversary shows last week, someone asked me about the times Self Help Radio was not on any radio station, but was a podcast.  Here is where Self Help Radio aired, & when, & when it didn't.

October 9, 2002 - May 2, 2008: KOOP Austin

The original run of Self Help Radio on the station on which is originated was under six years.  That seems crazy now, but it's true.  At the end of spring in 2008, I left KOOP because my girlfriend - soon to be my wife - Magda was taking a post-doc in North Carolina.  At the time, KOOP had two "seasons," one of which ended at the beginning of May.  Because I would be leaving at the end of the summer, I felt like it would be unfair to do the show for two more months, so I left the station.  I intended to continue Self Help Radio as a podcast (which I did) until it found a home in the Tarheel State.  Alas, Magda did not take the position, so we stayed in Austin for one more year.

May 10, 2008 - June 27, 2009: The First Self Help Radio Podcast

With our future uncertain, I decided not to return to KOOP & simply do SHR as a podcast, although my enthusiasm for the show waned somewhat - I don't think anyone listened to most of the those shows.  I kept myself in the loop by doing a freeform show on my first radio station, KVRX.  Stuck in a kind of limbo in Austin, & suddenly full of free time (you wouldn't believe how much time I volunteered at KOOP), I decided to take classes at UT (I'm a lifelong learner), which qualified me to do a show on KVRX (where only students are allowed to deejay).  I did a show on Sunday morning called The War On Sailing which I enjoyed.  It was actually a lot like the show I do currently, the Tuesday Morning Blend.

Magda got a job teaching at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, where they fortunately have a student radio station which allows community members to do shows.  So off we went, taking Self Help Radio with us.

July 21, 2009 - June 22, 2010: The WMUL Year

Magda was not very happy in Huntington & I found WMUL not the best station to air Self Help Radio.  For one, it was mostly focused on sports.  The rest of the programming was basically automation.  What few human deejays they had tended to drop off over the course of the semester.  I did Self Help Radio in the mornings, in the afternoons, in the evenings, & never really had any listeners - there simply weren't enough people in the town (maybe 40,000, counting students), & they didn't stream their music shows online.  Although we didn't know we'd be leaving, I decided to leave WMUL at the beginning of the summer because it began to feel futile.  I'm sure I've talked about this before.  During the rest of the summer, the show returned to a podcast, but in August, Magda & I decided to move to nearby Lexington, where the mighty WRFL existed.  & they were glad to have the show.

August 24, 2010 - August 2, 2016: WRFL

Self Help Radio aired almost continually on WRFL for about five & a half years.  I took a semester off in 2014 I believe (though I still did SHR as a podcast) & there was another weird moment where I left the station believing Magda & I were moving but returned when we didn't (she's quite a tease) a few weeks later.  On the whole, it was super fun to do the show there.  I believe the show as it exists now came into being because of the time on WRFL.  It does beg the question, though: does the show have a shelf life of around six years per station?

Magda got a job in Fort Worth, where we're living now, so I said goodbye to RFL in August of 2016, & hoped to find a place for Self Help Radio in the D/FW metroplex.  That was not going to be an easy task (it still hasn't happened) but Self Help Radio didn't quite leave the airwaves - or Lexington - at this point.

August 31, 2016 - April 28, 2018: WLXU

Graciously, the station manager of WLXU at the time, Chuck Clenney, offered to air Self Help Radio until I found a place to do it in this part of the world.  It was a swell arrangement & if I hadn't gotten the gig at KNON, I might still be doing it.  Except.  As I've explained here & elsewhere, I felt weird about doing a show on a station that was so community-focused while I lived not anywhere near the community.  So maybe I might not still be doing it.  But certainly the fact that I had to turn in my prerecorded program on Tuesdays & I was also do a Tuesday show live in Dallas made that day very difficult for me.

May 4, 2018 - present: podcast

Since then, the show exists only at  I wish I could do it in town, but that seems unlikely.  Perhaps my restless wife will want to find a different job at some point, & we will find ourselves somewhere that has a wonderful noncommercial station which has a place for Self Help Radio.  Or maybe I'll be doing the show like this for six years.

Whatever the situation, sixteen years on, it doesn't seem like Self Help Radio's going anywhere.  Which sounds like a threat.  I didn't mean it as a threat!  But it did sound a little like a threat.

That was a long-winded answer to a simple question.  I didn't really know the answer till I sat down & went through the playlists to see.  But I hope it was a satisfying answer.

Monday, October 08, 2018

That Was The Week Off It Was

Technically, I got a week off.  I did the Tuesday Morning Blend & I then had to reschedule Self Help Radio & I've been helping the wife deal with recovering from neck surgery.  Tomorrow is the Tuesday Morning Blend again but I have a sub, so I get a week off.  Which is good, I would be a terrible husband if I just took off to do radio less than a week after invasive surgery.  I'm kind of a douche but I'm not that awful.

You might be thinking, well, I hope you got something done.  Nope!  I watched two episode of the second season of Iron Fist while the wife was sleeping today.  The other day I reread a bunch of mid-60s Jack Kirby Captain America comics.  & I've been listening to music.  I do that mostly.

But!  It wasn't a vacation so I need to start getting into gear!  A sixteenth anniversary show!  A lot of songs to listen to!  Walking the dogs in the rain!  Wearing tee shirts inside out to be contrary!  Teaching my cats the few phrases in Spanish I know!  Daydreaming of amusingly changing the yard signs of the fascists running for office around here!  Fake ads!  Fake interviews!  Fake radio!

You know, the regular stuff I do.