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D.T. Interviewed (August 2001)

Doug Hill asks: I'm writing an article for the kuci.org website on some of the exciting things now available in internet audio. I plan to mention dfsx and DFSX2. So can I ask you a few questions? (FYI, I get your drdemento e-mail list at another address.)

Q: Why go to all the trouble to create dfsx and DFSX2?

A:

Well, for one, in many radio markets, there are no radio shows such as Dr. Demento that play funny or amusing music on a regular basis. The big stations' idea of comedy are unfunny shock jocks whose idea of comedy is solely on anatomy and sex humor.

San Diego is the worst case of all as there are virtually no eclectic nonprofit stations that exist that can play some novelty music weekly. Zeb Navarro hosts a 2-3 hour funny music show on KKSM 1320 up in Oceanside for those within 10 miles of the station. The only two main metro noncommerical stations play all jazz and all news, and that's it.

Getting funny music exposed on the broadcast outlets is increasingly difficult if not impossible. Today's corporate radio playlist policies basically stink up the high heavens.

Internet radio playing many genres and niches helps to fill in several coverage gaps such as all Eurodance or all Jimmy Buffet or all Grateful Dead, whatever you can imagine. I filled in this novelty song niche with two channels of dementia for people all over the world to listen, enjoy, and most important of all, to give feedback and let me know what songs they like or dislike.

DFSX and DFSX2 feature novelty songs and amusing tunes that were made famous by Demento and, before that, Top 40 radio from the 40's through the mid 70's when Top 40 began to overfragment so much that novelty music fell through the cracks.

DFSX features the novelty hits of the 80's, 90's, and today, and the playlist is changed about once a month. DFSX2 is all classic novelty hits from the 40's through the 70's from artists such as Spike Jones, Tom Lehrer, Cheech and Chong, Barnes and Barnes, Ray Stevens, and many goofy gold hits of the 50's through the 70's by mostly one-hit wonders.

Getting many unknown acts exposed for others to enjoy is worth the trouble. I also threw in some of my original songs into the playlist for exposure, by gum.

Q: How difficult was it to do so?

A:

I thought of starting a station on the Internet that plays funny songs 24 hours a day, but unfortunately, there were three roadblocks: time (I work and sleep), money (can't afford DSL), and servers (I'm no good at that department.) That's where live365 dot com steps into the act. You can broadcast live on a channel you set up, of course, or do what I do, that is, upload about 365MB of songs to the server space and let the station stream them for you while you free up your bandwidth for other projects. You can set it up to repeat songs on the playlist, play them in sequential order, or in random order. The only difficult time I have is that you have to use their proprietary file transfer tool that won't let you delete the MP3's you uploaded on the fly (you can delete the MP3's on the web though). Anybody can do this with live365 dot com. I tried Shoutcast and I couldn't get anything to work. I tried broadcasting live on live365 dot com and I succeeded, but my system resources were over consumed.

Q: What is your programming philosophy?

A: When you get right down to it, when you're programming a music station, you have to keep in mind, first off, that you're doing it for the listeners. If you're not doing it for the listeners, then you have no listeners to listen to your programming. Every music playlist has its own personality in the mix. Some are squeaky clean like on Radio Disney, some aim for adults but has no bad words in their songs, some aim for the really adventourous listener who likes humor with no bounds. The idea is to keep the mixes consistent, not to put in a wickedly funny expletetive-laden Eddie Murphy routine if your overall mix doesn't normally play words with such words. Surprises are okay, but if you put something they don't expect, then they'll tune somewhere else and may not come back.

If there's a niche to fill, you gotta fill it, or somebody else will.

Thank you for your questions.

From Doug: FYI, KUCI is an all-volunteer operation. When I was training, there was another trainee who wanted to put on a comedy/novelty show, but I don't know what happened with that.

best,
Doug Hill, co-host
Campus Talk UCI, Mondays 4:30-5 pm on KUCI 88.9 FM & www.kuci.org
http://www.kuci.org/~doug/

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