PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Look, Up In The AIR!

Do you know what four consecutive posts in PopCult that are nothing but the schedule for The AIR means?  It means that your PopCulteer snuck off for a little pre-anniversary trip with his lovely wife. We’re back now. Later today I’ll start posting some cool stuff to get back into the swing of things, and tomorrow you can expect a little travelogue in the PopCulteer. For now, tune in to The AIR at the website, or on the nifty embedded radio player below this graphic, just to hear cool stuff, you know.


Hump Day On The AIR!

wednesday-78-23Wednesday always brings cool stuff to The AIR.  Thousands of people, robots, aliens and spirits worldwide are tuning in and you can hear why at the website, or on this nifty embedded radio machine doohickey…

Wednesday we offer up new episodes of Life Speaks To Michele Zirkle and Marking Out with Betty Rock plus we have other special coolness awaiting you.

The morning brings you replays of The Swing Shift and one hour of our special collection of local and international artists in The AIR Music Mix. At 10 AM expect a replay of the Life Speaks Eclipse Special from last Monday.

At 11 AM it’s a special presentation of The Point, by Harry Nilsson, with the hour filled out with some great Nilsson classics.

Noon sees 90 minutes of Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch, first hosting a replay of Curtain Call, and then also hosting a classic episode of On The Road with Mel.

At 1:30 PM it’s time for an all-new edition of Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle.  This week it’s the conclusion of the wild interview with Amanda Walker, the Psychic Hairdresser from Columbus (who also guested on the Eclipse Special). Tune in and turn on to receive your insights. You can hear a replay of Life Speaks at 7 PM.

At 2 PM music takes over with Beatles Blast, followed by two hours of Curtain Call. The AIR Audio Playhouse brings you part one of a Jules Verne classic at 5 PM and our double-shot of The New Music Show and The (BS) Crazy Show follow that.

At 10 PM we debut this week’s all-new episode of Marking Out, as Betty Rock and her mystery tag-team partner regale you with the fallout from the latest WWE and pro-wrestling developments.

For the rest of what to expect, just check out that nice schedule graphic that accompanies this post. I made it just for you.

You can always keep up with the latest programming notes on The AIR here in PopCult. It’s our unofficial companion radio station.

Swing All Day On The AIR!

swing-all-day-02Tuesday, prepare to Swing All Day on The AIR. Spin your computer dial over to the website, or just groove on this peachy-keen embedded radio player…

Aside from my passion for local music and all kinds of other styles of music, I have a deep love for Swing. That’s why I host and produce The Swing Shift every Tuesday on The AIR.

Several times lately, The Swing Shift has been bumped for all-day marathons of Radio Free Charleston. Today I decided to turn the tables and run a full day of The Swing Shift. From 7 AM to 1 AM you can listen to The AIR and feel the power of the last century worth of great swing tunes.

You’ll hear Benny Goodman, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Duke Ellington, Royal Crown Revue, Ella Fitzgerald, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Stan Kenton, The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Louis Prima, Cab Calloway and many more.

If you love Swing Music, tune in and enjoy the day. If you hate Swing Music, tune in and be converted to the ways of the down beat.

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing, you know.

Cool Radio For The Eclipse

radio-coolsville-eclipseMonday we have special really cool programming to celebrate the solar eclipse on The AIR. Check it out at the website, or on this really cool embedded thingy here…

I hope you wore your special glasses to look at the embedded radio player.

Today, from 7 AM to Midnight, we have a special marathon of Radio Coolsville. DJ Betty Rock, broadcasting from the studios of WMUL, brings us the best of new and classic alternative music, and neat stuff in general. Normally you can hear Betty Friday at 2 PM, right before Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. You can also hear her as the host of Marking Out, our new professional wrestling talk show.

Interrupting the Radio Coolsville marathon twice Monday will be Michele Zirkle with the Life Speaks Eclipse Special. Michele will talk once again with the Psychic Hairdresser from Columbus, Amanda Walter. In this special they discuss the spiritual and astrological ramifications of the Solar Eclipse. In fact, this show airs for the first time at 1 PM, and will be broadcast during the time that the eclipse is over Charleston.

Following the Life Speaks Eclipse Special there will be twenty minutes or so of eclipse-friendly music from Bonnie Tyler, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, Alan Parsons Project and Klaus Nomi. This hour of penumbra-ing will be repeated at 5 PM.

Radio Coolsville will resume between and after the Life Speaks special. At Midnight, our regular overnight block of Mel Larch’s Curtain Call takes over until Tuesday morning.



I try not to get too political here in PopCult. It’s my feeling that people come to this blog to get away from all of that messy garbage and just escape. However, sometimes things go too far, and I feel the need to comment. It is my belief that the current regime in Washington is pursuing a dangerous agenda and has allied itself with the most unAmerican and unpatriotic groups imaginable. I never thought I would see a president stoop so low as to use false equivalency to pander to Nazis and the KKK, to defend them for murdering Americans on our soil.

American soldiers fought and died in two wars to defeat white supremecists and Nazis. Now we have a president who cowtows to them because he only cares that they vote for him. My digital painting today is an expression of what I feel every true patriot should do: Resist. Oppose Trump and his hateful ilk at every turn. Stop him from dragging this country back to the days of the plantation.

I can’t do much. I can make a painting, and I can call out Trump’s naked racism for what it is. If any of my readers are offended by this, I won’t miss you. Note: This painting was passionately dashed off very quickly in anger.  Click the image to see a bigger version.

Sunday Evening Videos: Pryor’s Place

pryor-placeBack in the 1980s everyone in show business did cocaine. Lots of cocaine. Seriously, the set of Brian DePalma’s Scarface was actually the office of the head of children’s programming at NBC.

Because so many people in the television industry did cocaine, and because so many of them had the same dealers, some really bizarre ideas came to fruition.

In 1984 somboedy at CBS thought that Richard Pryor, the cutting-edge, foul-mouthed, brilliant but controversial comedian, would be the perfect guy to have a Saturday morning kid’s program built around him. Pryor used so much cocaine that he blew up one time, really. While they were at it, they hired Sid and Marty Krofft to produce the show, which oddly enough was the least-trippy thing they ever put their name on.

It’s an interesting artifact, if only because you keep expecting Pryor to flip out and start cursing like a stormtrooper. Sadly, he never does. The series only lasted one season. There’s three random episodes above and below this post.

Oh, and yes, that is Ray Parker Jr. singing the theme song. It was the 1980s, after all.


The RFC Flashback: Episode 64

00end-photoFor April Fool’s Day 2009 I decided that I wanted to pull a fairly elaborate, yet profoundly stupid prank.  The plan was to run production notes promising a very special episode of Radio Free Charleston with new music from Paul McCartney and Peter Buck, of REM, plus an exclusive preview of the next animated feature film by Pixar. Only in truth I pulled a bait-and-switch and instead brought loyal fans a third part to our 2008 Halloween Special, Radio Free Charleston Horror Theater.

I don’t think anyone fell for it anyway, but we did manage a fun show. Music is by Whistlepunk and Mark and Steve Beckner with Alan Young.  Mark, Steve and Alan were recorded live at LiveMix Studio at the same time that we shot the host segments, and this was one of the few times in the history of RFC that the show’s host introduced a band “live” with them in the room.

For the host segments, a last-minute schedule SNAFU meant that Kitty Killton could not reprise her role as “Celeste the Zombie Supermodel,” so we had to have a vocal stand-in to explain her absence.  Liz McCormick, Brian Young and Mel Larch return as studio zombies and Rudy reverted to his “Count Rudolf” identity. The episode truly captured the Halloween spirit…in April.

Animation is vintage Amiga work by Frank Panucci, and this is also the only episode where a musical guest had to be pressed into running camera because we had too many people on screen at the same time.  Thanks to Stephen Beckner, who went to college to learn how to do this sort of thing. You can read the real production notes HERE. You can see the first two parts of Radio Free Charleston Horror Theater HERE.

Interesting Times

bizarrojimmy2The PopCulteer
August 18 , 2017

Bizarro World

PopCult tries to remain free of politics, and sometimes we fail. It’s hard not to comment on things when, locally, Republicans have proven that they have a total inability to govern sensibly, and have been rewarded for that by being stuck with a party switch by the most embarrassing politician in West Virginia since A. James Manchin went on network TV to rail against the Garbage Pail Kids.

Meanwhile, Bizarro Lex Luthor currently resides in the White House where he evidently begins each day spending two hours on the toilet Tweeting the craziest things imaginable. He can’t even bring himself to condemn the KKK or Nazis. That’s why his disapproval ratings are soaring to 60%, which is unprecedented.

Your PopCulteer is going to try to give you a place where you can escape the madness and reassure yourself that there are still cool things in the world that you can use to distract yourself cheerfully from the coming apocalyptic nightmare. So except for next week’s Monday Morning Art, I will endeavor to stick with that approach.


12509362_10153507264929601_8081861801564709421_nAugust has been a particularly cruel month and PopCult must send its condolences to our friend, Mitch O’Connell, “The World’s Best Artist” and the world’s nicest guy, who’s young wife, Alyson Vetter, passed away this week of natural causes. This is heartbreaking because Mitch had such a short time with Alyson, his muse and ideal woman.

I met Mitch back in the 1980s when I was a wallflower comic book writer/artist at a convention, and he made me feel like part of the gang. Twenty years later he found me on MySpace and I was just stunned that he remembered me at all. Mitch has been published worldwide and created the “Trump: They Live” image that was the most-pirated drawing of 2016. He has allowed us to run many of his pieces here in PopCult over the years.

Our heart goes out to Mitch, Alyson and their young son, Aiden.

Stunt Programming On The AIR

air-7-5-17This weekend we have some special programming on The AIR, which you can listen to at the website, or on this cool little embedded radio player…

Saturday, from 7 AM to 7 PM, it’s New Wave Music Galore as we run a marathon of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. Sydney Fileen curates two hours of the finest music of the New Wave era each Friday at 3 PM, and the plan is to have new episodes starting in September. This marathon (with a bonus show at 9 PM) will give you a chance to catch up.

Sunday, from 11 AM to 5 PM, we’re running a whole bunch of episodes of The Third Shift, with Jay and Jarod. This is man-talk about booze, babes and brew and more. You can hear an hour of The Third Shift every Friday at 9 PM.

We also have special programming on Monday and Tuesday next week. We’ll tell you about that when we get there, okay?

Tiki Adventure

about_imageA few weeks ago I told you guys my deep, dark secret, that I am a Tiki Poser! Very soon, your PopCulteer will be returning to Chicago and my wife and I will venture deep into the inner sanctum of one of the most-respected Tiki Bars in the country, Three Dots and a Dash.

We have been assured that they have non-alcoholic offerings, and there are some things on the menu that I can eat. If I can smuggle in a camera, I’ll bring back photographic evidence. Stay tuned.

That is this week’s PopCulteer. Please check back for our regular features and for news on our special programming on The AIR next week.

Stuff To Do: August 17-20

You know the drill by now. I’m posting graphics for a few of the many cool things happening in town this weekend (starting tonight, after ArtWalk, in fact). This is not a comprehensive list. There’s way more stuff than this going on in and around Charleston, but the folks producing those other events were too lazy to make graphics, and I was too lazy to do the same. You can find way more than this, but here’s just some of the cool stuff you can get into.





Continue reading…

Listen To The AIR Force This Week!

wednesday-8-15The rest of the week looks astoundingly swell on The AIR.  Gazillions of people worldwide are tuning in and you can hear why at the website, or on this nifty embedded radio machine doohickey…

You can see the schedules for the rest of the week in the accompanying graphics, but let’s run down the highlights for ye, shall we?

Wednesday at 1:30 PM Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle presents part two of Michele’s incredible interview with the Psychic Hairdresser from Columbus, Amanda Walters. The show replays at 7 PM.

Beatles Blast presents an hour of Beatletastic music at 2 PM, and at 3 PM Mel Larch brings you two hours of the best of musical theater on Curtain Call. Marking Out with Betty Rock discusses the previous week in professional wrestling at 10 PM.

Thursday we bring you great music all day, with a replay of this week’s Radio Free Charleston at 2 PM and a special encore of Radio Free Charleston International at 3 PM.  New episodes of RFCI will return after I get back from my vacation.

Live From The Empty Glass brings you live recordings from The Scrap Iron Pickers and more at 10 PM, and after that you can swing all night with a marathon of The Swing Shift.

Friday sees a brand new episode of Radio Coolsville with DJ Betty Rock at 2 PM, followed by a classic edition of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat at 3PM. The Haversham Recording Institute crew are gearing up to deliver brand new episodes of Prognosis, Sydney’s Big Electric Cat and Ska Madness very soon.

At 9 PM tune in for all-new man talk with Jay and Jarod on The Third Shift.  After a 10 PM replay of Radio Free Charleston International, you can snuggle in bed and listen to The (BS) Crazy Show all night long.