October 20 , 2017
I miss doing the Radio Free Charleston video show. If you’re a longtime follower of PopCult, you know that a variety of health issues have kept me from producing RFC since early last year. I’m doing remarkably well for someone with Myasthenia Gravis, but thanks to a combination of meds, side-effects and age, I am not operating at the energy levels that I managed to maintain for the decade that I was producing the show. I was basically doing the work of five people most of the time.
It’s not all health-related. I am spending much of the time that I used to spend shooting and editing the RFC video show on other pursuits, mainly my internet radio station, The AIR. In the time that it would take me to shoot, edit and mix the audio for a twenty-to-thirty minute video show, I can produce ten hours of radio programming.
Radio Free Charleston was born as a radio show way back in 1989 on WVNS radio at 2 AM on Saturday nights. Even in that dead timeslot we brought in more listeners than the morning and afternoon drive shifts did. So it’s cool to have RFC back on the radio, even if it’s only internet radio, where I can play much more local music each week. I get a real kick out of making the radio shows, not only Radio Free Charleston, but RFC International, Beatles Blast and The Swing Shift. I really wish Charleston had a local swing band, but I don’t believe we’ve been lucky enough for that since Mel Gillespie passed away. I’d love to shoot video of a swing band.
And I have to be honest. I really enjoyed going out and meeting and recording the bands, but editing and producing the final shows was a solitary and boring job. I don’t miss having the computer crash just as the final version of a show is about to finish rendering. Don’t get me wrong, I liked making the RFC video show, but for the last few years I was churning it out on an almost-weekly basis, and it got to be a drag.
I lan to bring the show back, but when and how is still up in the air.
Early last year I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, and at the same time I was launching the internet radio station that we now know as “The AIR,” and the video show simply had to go on the back burner. I actually have a “lost” episode that is completely shot, with host segments recorded in Senoia Georgia, but I haven’t made the time to finish editing it.
I needed the break to focus on my health, and now that my health is more than stable I’m thinking about the best way to bring back Charleston’s longest-running direct-to-YouTube local music show (yeah, I’m getting a little specific there, I know). I’m open to suggestions. I know that I want to shoot bands in The Bakery once they’re up and running, and I have a list of bands that I haven’t had the opportunity to record yet. If you know of any new bands that you think would make for good video coverage, please mention them in the comments.
It is getting harder for me to go out to bars to record bands because of the meds I take. I’m usually in bed by the time most bands go on stage. Back when I seemingly had super powers this wasn’t a problem, but now that I’m a mere mortal (and no spring chicken at that), if I know the opening act won’t go on until after 11 PM, I don’t even bother charging the cameras. I have shot and posted video of The Velvet Brothers, Bad Blood and Membrane Cell this year, so I know I can still do it, but I need to work on my motivation. I know not to expect the bars in Charleston to suddenly have the bands start playing at 8 or 9 PM. Decades of people waiting until after 10 PM to start getting ready to go out has sort of killed that idea. There’s no use paying a band to play to an empty room.
I will tell you, I’m not going to be cranking out weekly episodes again. It was great to prove that it could be done, but I think it reached a point of diminishing returns. People got so used to there being a new show each week (either RFC, or The RFC MINI SHOW) that they took them for granted and never got around to watching the new episodes. There are some incredible episodes of The RFC MINI SHOW on YouTube that have yet to reach 200 views.
It’s more than a little disheartening to put so much work into a program that showcases such incredible local talent, only to have it be seen by a tiny handful of people. Going forward Radio Free Charleston will likely only have six to ten new shows a year. Each show will be more of an event. I’ll take time to make a slicker product, and hopefully broaden the viewership. The AIR reaches thousands of listeners each week. It’d be great to at least match that with the RFC video show.
Until I make the leap back into the video world with RFC, I hope you remember that you can listen to the radio version of Radio Free Charleston every Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM on The AIR (with replays all week long), and you can also hit up the RFC Archives at our long-neglected companion site, and watch the old video shows, if the links are still working. We produced over 200 episodes of Radio Free Charleston and almost 80 installments of The RFC MINI SHOW, so you can still get a taste of the local music scene. You can also just search for us on YouTube.
Plus, every Saturday, we re-post a classic episode of Radio Free Charleston here in PopCult. We started bringing them to you in order, from the beginning, back on our tenth anniversary. I promise we’ll have new shows before we run out and have to start over again.