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RIP Roots Town Radio

The PopCulteer
October 31, 2014

Roots Town Radio, which we wrote about and were rooting for here in PopCult, is no more. The low-powered FM station lasted about six weeks and will go down as yet another noble failure in the pantheon of Charleston’s music scene.

Charleston’s other newspaper published a one-sided account of how things went down, and I’d link to it if I didn’t feel that it was unnecessarily lurid and slanted. It’s enough to say that the owners had a personal relationship, and when that relationship collapsed, so did any chance of Roots Town Radio becoming a lasting institution.

Weird things were happening on Facebook about a week after the station started broadcasting, with odd announcements about one of the founders leaving being posted, then deleted twenty minutes later. When I saw that happening, I knew the clock was ticking.

ROOTS RIP 01It’s a shame, because there was so much excitment about WXDB here in town. Unfortunately, most of the people who wanted to listen to the station were volunteering as on-air talent. I couldn’t pick up the signal where I live, and I only listen to CDs in the car, so I only heard snippets of the streaming signal over the internet. It was a nice alternative to what fills Charleston’s airwaves, but the broadcast signal was simply too weak to make much of an impact.

Early on I was in talks about reviving the radio incarnation of Radio Free Charleston with Roots Town Radio, but I backed out because I didn’t really think that the wide variety of music that I wanted to present would be a good fit on a station with a predominantly “Americana” sound. With RFC, I have no format. I can bring you music from artists who play Americana, but I can also bring you punk, metal, avant-garde events, soul, rap, country, electronica, hard rock, classical, blues and musical theater if I want to.

I do hope to have some big news about Radio Free Charleston’s return to audio in a couple of weeks, but October has been a hellish month, schedule-wise, for your PopCulteer, and that’s slowed down my progress a bit.

The word is that a new organization is looking to start a low-powered FM station and that they will pick up some of the programs and hosts from Roots Town Radio. I hope they pull it off and have better luck (and a stronger signal). Charleston’s music scene needs more exposure, and it’s a shame to see something with so much enthusiasm behind it fall victim to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.

Stuff To Do

I covered tonight’s Halloween festivities yesterday, but there’s still plenty of cool things happening over the rest of the weekend.

Fiddler on the Roof

The latest Charleston Light Opera Guild production of the classic musical opens tonight at the Clay Center and runs through next weekend, with 7:30 PM peformances Friday and Saturday and 2 PM matinees on Sunday. Full details are HERE.

No Pants Players

Saturday Night at the Alban Arts Center in Saint Albans It’s the last adults-only show of the year for West Virginia’s premiere improv troupe. After this they will wash their mouths out with soap and put the electro-shock collars back on Tony and Adam for the remainder of 2014. See the No Pants Players start at 7 PM.

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Music Saturday and Sunday

At 7:30 PM Saturday it’s practically a Radio Free Charleston reunion as three RFC guests rotate sets at Taylor Books. Dina Hornbaker, Spencer Elliott and Tofujitsu take turns on stage with no cover charge.

Dina Hornbaker, Spencer Elliott and Tofujitsu, comig to Taylor Books Saturday
Dina Hornbaker, Spencer Elliott and Tofujitsu, comig to Taylor Books Saturday

Another RFC alumni, Jonathan Glen Wood, will perform at 8 PM at Kin Ship Goods, teaming with Catherine Irwin. Three bucks gets you in the door.

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Sunday afternoon at 5 PM RFC faves The Big Bad and Time And Distance bring The Punk Rock BBQ to The Bowling Alley-Dunbar. It’s an all all-ages show with Silent Horror and Rockwell’s Ghost joining the bill. Eight bucks gets you the show, ten bucks gets you the show and food. And if that’s not enough, you can bowl while you’re rocking out.

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This is ALL AGES and it starts at 5 PM, so you have no excuse not to go and support the local scene. The Bowling Alley-Dunbar is located on Ohio Street, just around the corner from the library. Or just ask anyone who grew up in Dunbar.

That’s it for this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for all our regular features and please do not drink and drive on what has become the drinkiest holiday of the year.