Thanks for visiting our "Cuttinng Edge Radio" page. Here we feature interviews with radio personalities who play the best in cutting-edge music ( -such as the bands and artists described on our "Music From the Cutting Edge" webpage ). Support DJ's and stations like these who play the worthwhile music of such bands!
7-10 PM SUNDAYS, WPLP ( 93.3 FM ), ATHENS, GA. ( http://www.bulldogathens.com )
For years now, I've been frustrated with the boringly predictable play lists heard on my local FM rock station ( KSHE 95 FM ). So, I decided to dedicate a page of my "Creative Tech Nerds" website to promoting U.S. radio stations daring enough to "break the corporate bean-counter mold" and play some fresh, new and exciting music genres ( -check out our "Music From the Cutting Edge" webpage for a list of such bands and artists ). Luckily, Matt Callen who runs the Hawkwind North America Facebook Page, told me about Dusty Blades. Dusty's gained a large audience of loyal listeners by playing just this kind of music on his "Sunday Night with Dusty Blades Show". I recently contacted Dusty and asked him if he'd care to do an interview. Here is my interview with Dusty:
Dusty, in a promo shot from the WPLP ( 93.3 FM ) "Bulldog Athens" website. Initially, an afficianado of the metal scene ( i.e: Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, etc. ), Dusty took a few stabs at college radio, later making the rounds as a drummer in several Athens, Georgia area bands. In 2014 Dusty joined WPLP ( 93.3 FM ) as the "evening guy" four nights a week . As his boss came to trust his judgement he was given more leeway in programming ( -adding some "less commercial" genres, i.e: jazz, ska, new wave, spacerock, etc. ) to his playlists. In the spring of 2015, Dusty debuted his "Sunday Night with Dusty Blades" radio show.
Creative Tech Nerds ( CTN ): First off, tell us a little about 93.3 FM WPLP Bulldog Athens, yourself and how your "Sunday Night with Dusty Blades Show" came to be.
Dusty: Bulldog 93.3 FM is a low-power FM station located in Athens, GA. It is the brain child of CEO Paul Francis, who jumped on a licensing opportunity in early 2014'. The station began as primarily a heavy rock station that followed the "Active Rock" chart run from his home and broadcast from the Fred Building in downtown Athens.
Since then, the station's format has morphed from Active Rock into a more alternative/ AAC format. I joined the station in October of 2014 as the evening guy four nights a week. In all honesty, my first show on this station was my first show on the air ever. I had a few failed attempts at college radio when I was in school, but those attempts were unsuccessful, and my desire to pursue radio fell to by the wayside as I pursued the dream of being a touring drummer. I played in bands around Athens as a "serious" endeavor from about 1993 until 2005 when I went to graduate school. If you know what it means to try and make a band happen, you'll know what I mean when I say that I could only afford one "volunteer gig" at a time, so radio had to wait.
But I digress,...I had grown up a metal-head, listening to the Big 4: Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth along with lots of other speed metal bands, so the heavy rock aspect of the station was definitely in my wheelhouse. However, since then I had gone in many other musical directions that I felt were were worthy of air time. The boss was understandably concerned at first. He was understandably concerned at first, but after a while, he began to trust my choices. He knew I was trying to represent the rest of the Athens market that may not be down with all metal all the time.
Fortunately, there was an audience that was fairly vocal, so he kind of let me do my thing, which of course I appreciated immensely. As I gained the trust of the boss, I was allowed more leeway in my playlist that allowed a wide swath of the local scene and other genres that didn't fit the daytime format like: Soul, Jazz, Ska, Reggae, New Wave, Punk, Glam, Power Pop, Prog and Alt-Rock in addition to what one might call a "Local Classic Rock" ( -The REM, B-52's, Guadalcanal Diary and Pylon contingent as well as their influences ).
The Bulldog Athens' logo and call letters. With Athens GA's rich musical history ( i.e: REM, B-52's, Guadalcanal Diary, etc. ) it seems almost appropriate that "Sunday Night with Dusty Blades" emanates from this particular city. Few other American cities can boast a more cutting-edge music scene!
In the spring of 2015, I moved from four nights a week to three hours on Sunday nights. This was done purely for sanity of scheduling. Doing a nightly show is a grind and it was difficult to manage a job, family, sanity, and radio at the same time without something suffering. Paul and I decided that moving to Sunday night was the best solution as it allowed more time to focus on the quality of a single show at a time without losing control of those other mildly important aspects of "grown-uppery".
In January of 2017, the station changed formats from big rock to an AAC, Alternative Adult Contemporary based format. While my initial move to Sunday nights had moire to do with not spreading myself too thin, it turned out to have been even smarter than I would have thought. As I'm sure most would guess, Sunday night from 7-10 PM isn't exactly prime radio time. It's usually either UFO call-in shows, political rants or weird esoteric music. For all intents and purposes, I'm like the ugly guy in the back of the restaurant. The only folks looking my way are hoping that I get spaghetti on my shirt, and they are happy when I do.
The time slot allows me to continue to skirt the edges of the normal rotation while staying true to the slogan of the station: "The Sound of Athens".
CTN: When I contacted you about posting mention of your show on our "Music From the Cutting Edge" webpage ( -and got your subsequent Facebook Friend Request ). I was shocked to find something like ( 200 ) or so additional "Friend Requests" coming in from your listeners. Actually, I'm still sorting through them all ( -so be patient folks! ). Anyway, I was amazed at how popular your show is and how far it reaches. I got plenty of requests from British fans ( -including several from ex-Hawkwind members it appears! ). I never dreamed there were so many prog, spacerock and alt-music fans out there!
And I think this illustrates just how POPULAR this music really is -and that typical ( MOTR ) "Middle-Of-The-Road" FM rock stations ought to pay more attention to "alt-music" groups like Hawkwind, Eloy, Devo, The Buzzcocks, Camel, etc. What's your explanation for the success and "reach" of your show ( -in the midst of today's vast wasteland of "Corporate Bean-Counter Programmed" FM radio? ).
One of the humorous promos for Dusty's radio show. On Sunday nights even "Johnnie" likes to tune in. But beware of his ax Eugene!
Dusty Blades: People listen to music for lots of reasons. Some like to dance, sing, play "air-guitar", clean the house, drink, dream, act the fool, find something new, make out, bang their head or otherwise have their head re-wired in some unforseen way. I personally like music for all of those reasons, and so I try to make my shows representative of all the types of music that encourages and enhances those activities and outcomes. Due to the aesthetic approach, I have been very fortunate to have been included in a very cool group of folks that follow the British Spacerock band Hawkwind. Motorhead was an early staple of my show as well. Since the leader of this group, Matt Callen, has started spreading the word to his fellow Hawklings about my show, the audience has grown significantly. I'm very lucky to have those folks tuning in every week. In truth, if they weren't posting about my show, then I'm not answering these questions. I'm very thankful for the fantastic people in that community.
CTN: For those who've never heard your show -could you give us a typical "play list" of songs/ bands that listeners might encounter on your show?
Dusty Blades: I like to keep things as interesting as possible while still respecting the rest of the rotation before and after my show. In no particular order, some bands you might hear on my show include: Devo, Joe Jackson, Super Furry Animals, Jimmy Cliff, Jurassic 5, Husker Du, David Bowie, Sweet, Guided by Voices, New York Dolls, Fishbone, Kiss, Parliament, Hawkwind, The Buzzcocks, Desmond Dekker and The Clash, to name a few.
Hawkwind: One of the "unconventional" bands you're likely to encounter on Dusty's Sunday Night radio show. But Dusty's show is by no means limited to Spacerock and Prog. Afficianadoes of Punk, New Wave, Reggae, Funk, Soul, Jazz, Glam and Alt-Rock will also find tunes representing their genres of music sprinkled amongst Dusty's play list on Sunday nights.
CTN: And I think it's really cool that you also play "local bands" ( -from the Athens, GA. area ). Can you tell us about a few of the local bands you've played that have really impressed you so far?
Dusty Blades: As I mentioned above, a lot of the local music I play is by bands that I'm aware of through my own experience in the Athens music scene. So, often you can get used to a band when they are live, but the recorded version doesn't carry the same impact. It's very easy to have that happen. As a result, the songs that do not suffer from that tend to stand out. Bands like Casper and the Cookies, Jay Gonzalez, NSM, The Powder Room, The Salt Flats and the Orange Constant have really well recorded and performed songs in my rotation right now that "feel live" but sound professionally recorded.
Then there are the bands who helped define the Athens music scene, particularly in the 90's and early 2000's like Roosevelt, The Glands, The Possibilities, Pride Parade and The Olivia Tremor Control. These bands impressed me before and continue to do so today.
CTN: Do the song requests and "feedback" of show followers help you to shape each week's "play list"?
Dusty Blades: Absolutely!
CTN: I'm sure your show is much appreciated by the bands and artists whose music you play. Do you ever get "feedback" and comments from them? Similarly, do you ever interview any of these bands and artists on your Sunday Night show?
Dusty Blades: It depends. Locally, people are pretty appreciative of having their music played on the air, so I'll get "high fives" and fist bumps when I bump into them. I'll get some props and re-Tweets on social media from some of the bigger acts, which is always cool, too. I have not done any interviews on my show to date.
What other radio show are you likely to find that places the funkiness of George Clinton and "Parliament" next to a Hawkwind tune? Or a Jimmy Cliff tune following a Kiss song? The ONLY show I know of that does that is: "Sunday Night with Dusty Blades". Radio that could ONLY come from the fertile musical soil of Athens, Georgia! Stations around the country would do well to pay attention. Today's radio audiences have HAD IT with the "boringly predictable" play lists they're hearing. Dusty has struck gold by upsetting the "Corporate Radio Apple Cart"!
CTN: What do you see in the future for your show? Are you planning any changes or new segments to the show, etc.?
Dusty Blades: The coolest part of this gig is that I'm constantly seeking out new things to play from genres and styles that I'm not familiar with. My hope for the future is that I can further expand the lexicon for my show while still maintaining a high level of quality.
CTN: And lastly, go ahead and give our readers the low-down on how they can find and listen to your show ( -both locally on terrestrial radio and via the popular radio tune-in apps out there ) as well as how they can chime-in on your show via the various social-media venues.
"Casper and The Cookies": One of the local Athens, GA. bands you're likely to hear on Dusty's show. Giving local talent some "airplay" is one of the very cool things Dusty does to keep the "Sound of Athens" alive and well on his show. Wouldn't it be great if FM stations throughout the U.S. showcased local talent like this? Unfortunately, most are only interested in chasing the "Almighty Dollar"! THE "COOKIES" CROONING
Dusty Blades: My show, "Sunday Night with Dusty Blades" is on at 7 PM ( Eastern ) on Bulldog 93.3 FM
Instagram: bulldogathens, dustybladesdj
CTN: Best of luck and continued success with your show! I think our readers will want to add 93.3 FM Bulldog, Athens ( -and your "Sunday Night with Dusty Blades Show" ) to their "must check-out" list of things to do on Sunday night.
-END OF INTERVIEW-
Help us get the film that was shot of Hawkwind's "Hawklords Live 78' " concert ( above ) -filmed Nov. 24th, 1978' at Brunel University, Uxbridge -FINALLY put on DVD! Check out our full review of this excellent album ( -and "weigh-in" on whether you think the record company owning this film should make it available on DVD ). Find out how you can post your comments for record company execs at the end of this review. Link: "Hawklords Live 78' Review and "DVD" Idea