30 May 2007

Radio: Swinging the Mo Valley

Originally uploaded by audihertz
When I was in college, I made the 370-mile trip in a green between Sioux Falls and Kansas City in a green Plymouth Valiant almost as old as I was. No air conditioning, no cruise control and a radio with (gasp) no scan function. A trip in the heat of summer would leave me windblown, stunned and partially deaf and I remember the experience, now, with great fondness.

I still make the trip several times a year to visit my father in Sioux Falls and for nervous-making reasons I've made the trip four times in the last two weeks.

Nothing makes the northern half of the trip any better than being able to catch Swingtime with Robin Buchanan on KWIT. I came across the show last summer on my way north to a wedding. From 6-8 weeknights Robin plays a great mix of classic swing and modern reconstitutions of the form. Last July, I was impressed by when she followed up a set of Andrews Sisters with a tune by The Boswell Sisters, a group that was a huge influence not just on Patty, Maxine and Laverne, but also on a young Ella Fitzgerald.

KWIT's signal comes out of Sioux City and, given the Missouri Valley's long gentle slope, you can listen for hours. Driving back to KC last week, the signal was strong for almost three hours, so I got to hear the last hour of Swingtime and most of PRI's American Routes before finally losing the signal in a cloud of static around Percival. Here's a handy map link for map-loving dorks (you know who you are).

For me there was only one clinker in the hour I heard, Manhattan Transfer's Scotch and Soda. To be fair to the host, it was a listener request and bound to suffer coming as it did in the midst of a salute to two immortals, Artie Shaw and Rosemary Clooney.

Terrestrial jazz radio these days is in a tough state, with the pod and the disc and the satellite all stacked against it. So if you're passing through Northwest Iowa, lend an ear to Robin Buchanan.

> Or check her out online at the KWIT website.


Happy In Bag said...

That's corny!

Seriously, Iowans are a superior people.

Lee said...

That reminds me of a joke we used to tell in high school:

Q - Why is Nebraska so windy?
A - Iowa sucks.

Anonymous said...

Hey that was a very kind thing to do. I happen to know Robin personally and she was once described as having a voice that reflects her smile (words to that effect). If you listen to her for long you can "hear" the smile in her voice. Anyway, I am starting to repeat myself. You can hear Robin on the KWIT-KOJI website! (www.kwit-koji.org) She also does their website. Thanks again Lee! Also, Nebraks is windy because everyplace is windy!

Lee said...

Thanks, Anon! I think it shows in Robin's work that she loves it. And for that, she's to be envied.

I'll add the link to the post.

Re Nebraska: The grown up Lee thinks that both Iowa and Nebraska are pretty cool. I'm not budging on Minnesota! ;)