Jim Rand has been the WMPG station manager since 1998 and a DJ since 1986. He hosted The Modern Music Show decades ago and is currently the host of Land of the Lost, playing psych, punk, and garage music, Thursdays from 3 to 5 pm.
What was the era you've been most excited about Portland's music scene and why?
That’s a tough question. I’ve had a chance to see a lot of live music in my time. For about 15 years, I helped out on WMPG’s Local Motives, where almost every Friday night, a live band plays in our little studio. Pretty much every band from Bangor south has played at one point or another. The show is still on, Friday nights from 7:30 to 9 pm, and we have over 1000 shows recorded in our library.
As for eras, the '80s and '90s stand out for me. [Portland] had a lot of clubs putting on great shows and most would feature local bands. Clubs like the old Geno’s on Brown Street, Jim’s, the Tree Cafe, Raoul’s, Zootz, the “old” Free Street, the “new” Free Street Taverna, T-Birds', The Cybernaculum, the Loft, Morganfield’s, Asylum, the Stone Coast and so many others that I can’t even recall. Many clubs have come and gone that would feature local music, which is an integral part of having a local music scene. The scene right now seems as strong as ever.
Did you care about radio growing up? How did it factor into your life?
I grew up in Maine and as a kid I’d listen to a tiny handheld radio in bed at night…kinda like the kids do with iPhones today. It was always fun to hear the stations that would come in from Boston and New York or Montreal.
What's one WMPG show that's no longer on the air that you miss?
I have to list a couple that stand out that people probably remember. One is Frank Turek’s program My Vinyl Recliner; another is Tom Flynn’s Salt Water Farm. Of course I really miss Myron Samuel’s country blues show [Evenin' Sun]. He really knew his country blues and when he would take out his harmonica and sing the blues, it was phenomenal. When Myron’s show was the last blues show on during Begathon, it was something to behold! [Ed. Myron Samuel passed away in 2016.]
Much has changed in the way the public consumes media since WMPG began broadcasting in 1973. Can you offer any perspective about how community radio affects cities and communities?
Interestingly, the public still consumes radio much the same way they did back when we started — mostly in their cars. Studies that track this stuff follow the same double bell curve of heavier listenership during the morning and afternoon commutes. Our strength lies with the programmers themselves, who are your friends and neighbors. The biggest change now is that if you missed a show, you can go to our web page and listen to it immediately. We’ve recently added a new service to our web page — WMPG Podcasts. Each program is unique and original, and I like to believe our programming has had a positive effect on both our community as a whole and on all the volunteers that have come and gone over the years.
Will you please put your organization's time, money, and energy into a candidate with actually progressive/left policy ideas instead of this empty-calorie name-brand product? Have you people been paying attention at all?
Wanna nominate someone as a pearl? That sounds nice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org — no you cannot nominate yourself.