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This is Midwestern 92.53 FM! Welcome to KRCD Radio, host of all your favorite chart hits, inside scoops, interviews, and Indie Insider.

An annoyingly chirpy jingle rang out.

“Good evening, all. Welcome to the Indie Insider. I’m your host, Bryan Allison, and tonight, boy, do we have a great show for you! The lineup includes the latest rumblings from the indie underground, including new tunes from the Ramada Saints, the Walking Wounded, and Kevin Daley! Most exciting of all, Kevin is here in the studio with us, today! Stick around for our exclusive interview with this fella, who’s even going to sing for us. And, of course, we have our usual news roundup, at the end of the show. All right, let’s get started!”

Indie Insider ran through its usual program of subculture favorites, featuring plenty of indie classics from the ’90s, even throwing in occasional big names such as Nirvana and At the Drive-In here and there. The interview with the young star, Kevin Daley, was left till the end, as standard procedure when showcasing a big name. Keep the listeners hanging around for what they really want, was the idea. Put the star on too early and they lose interest in the rest of the show.


zero six four eight three are you listening

seven two six five one five zero three five two zero two one four one
seven two six five one five zero three five two zero two one four one
seven two six five one five zero three five two zero two one four one
seven two six five one five zero three five two zero two one four one
seven two six five one five zero three five two zero you one four one
seven two six five one five zero three five two zero you are four one
seven two six five one five zero three five two zero you are not one
seven two six five one five zero three five two zero you are not imagining this


Like All Good Stories

“…Like all good stories, tonight we’ve started and ended in a warm, dark place. That was another tale from the Deep Library, and this is your host, Cal Kassab, telling you it’s about time to go to bed.”

Triumphantly, Cal switches the output over to the queued ending track. He waits for a moment, listening to the familiar music drifting from his headphones– “Chords from the Depths of SPACE,” or some similar new-age-y BS, but he liked it anyway, and, well, it fit his attempts at recreating the Twilight Zone in a college radio station – then leans back, satisfied. His too-small desk chair squeals a little in protest, unhappy with the shift of weight. From their hanger on the front of the control panel, the headphones still emit a tinny version of the music playing. Cal lets his head hang back: too tired to switch it off, too tired to admit that having a radio slot that ends at half past twelve in the morning was a bad idea, and definitely too tired to bother going home and taking the advice he’d just given his listeners.

All is still and quiet. The tinny ‘sounds of space’ switch over to a tinny Beyoncé song. Resigned to the fact he’s going to have to walk the cold, dark half-mile back to his dorm, Cal stands up and grabs his coat from its hook.

The phone rings.


Riverfront Blues

DEEJAY ONE: Good morning, Detroit! You’re listening to WROX in the morning. I’m Johnny Danger–

DEEJAY TWO: I still think that’s a stupid pornstar name if I ever heard one.

JOHNNY: And that would be Bobby Killjoy, the wet blanket.

DEEJAY TWO: Hey, call yourself whatever you want. Whatever gets you the chicks. I’m Nate Rodriguez, and this is Rock Your Morning on WROX. Coming up: what does your choice of beer say about you? Find out in the eight o’clock hour.


“Good show, man,” Nate said, clapping his hand on his co-host’s shoulder. The coffee had been better than usual this morning, and he smiled as he inhaled the deep aroma, then took a careful sip.

“You too. Hey, wanna grab some drinks later?” John smiled over his shoulder as he coiled up the wires from the headphones.

Nate turned back from John’s chair and shook his head. “Sorry, can’t.”

John bit back a laugh. “What, do you have to wash your hair or something?”

“Yeah.” Nate rolled his eyes and took another sip of his coffee. “That’s it. Not even the fact that it’s not even after three yet and you’ve just asked me to go to a bar.”

“I said, ‘later,’ but whatever. I’ll see you tomorrow, dude.”

“See you.”


Bedtime Stories

Alan’s phone buzzed on the end table beside him. Not the short little zap of a text, but an actual phone call at actual 10PM on an actual Wednesday. This was exactly what horror movies were like. Not because it could be someone somewhere telling him of some catastrophic event involving someone or something important to him, no. But because someone was calling his phone. It was the 21st goddamn century and he was trying to watch very important television.

He picked up the phone and saw the word DAVID on top of the picture he’d taken of him at last year’s holiday party, two sheets to the wind and making a very grumpy face. He’d been touring the past few weeks, doing stand-up gigs mostly along the eastern part of the country. Alan had been subject to tweet and text alike here and there, when David got bored or found something dumb and funny to take a picture of. He hadn’t called, though. He wasn’t a caller.

“Hello?” Alan said, keeping his voice neutral. There was always the possibility this was somehow bad news, but he had an inkling it was going to be not bad news, not at all.

“Hellloooooo,” David said, and Alan could nearly smell the whiskey through the phone. “Hi. Hello. How are you? I’m good.”

Alan was free to smirk and smile all he wanted, but he kept a straight face. You could hear that sort of thing. “I’m doing just fine,” he said.


The Folklorist

It’s nearly half past eleven at night. Blake fumbles to turn the alarm on his phone off as he reaches for his radio, flicking it on just in time to catch the ending of the previous program. He smiles as he hears the opening notes of The Folklorist’s theme music, abandoning his work at his desk to sit on his bed and listen.

The college radio channel is absolute shit, or it would be if not for this half-hour segment every night. Somebody had begged the radio coordinators to take half an hour off the new age music that usually plays late at night through to the early hours of the morning, and turned it into half an hour of storytelling instead.

Blake doesn’t know anything about him, nobody does, just that he sits there for half an hour each night, his voice deep and calming and familiar, and turns folktales from around the world into little radio plays for his audience. It’s the most popular segment on the college radio by far, and the Folklorist deserves his popularity. Each one feels like a performance, with relevant sound effects and fitting background music. As far as anybody can tell, he does it all on his own. Blake is in love. He’s completely head over heels for the man on the other side of the radio and it’s pathetic, he knows it, but he doesn’t care.

He’ll lie in bed hugging a pillow to his chest as he listens because sometimes, he’ll smile at what the Folklorist has to say, or he’ll shut his eyes and imagine someone else entirely and either way, he’ll need to bury his face into the pillow for a while because he’s that kind of ridiculous. At least he doesn’t share his dorm room with anyone else. His best friend gives him enough shit as it is.

“Thanks for tuning in, guys. I’m the Folklorist. Welcome to half an hour of what I hope will be good storytelling.”


226: Love is in the Air


There are millions of signals passing through you right now.

They’re invisible. They have no mass and no weight, and yet they’re real, they have significance. They do not cause you any harm–probably. We’ve been using them as a form of communication for over a hundred years. I can decipher them with a very simple piece of equipment.

–you give loooove a bad naaaame–

–today’s guest is Reza Aslan, author of–

–what, who cares if, we all know that–

–and I will wait, I will wait for you–

I’m talking, of course, about radio. But the world of AM/FM radio, which most–or all, since you’re listening to me on the radio right now, unless of course you’re listening to the podcast version–which most of you are familiar with, is only a very, very tiny part of the radio spectrum. A grain of sand on an infinite beach, if you will. For the rest, you will need a shortwave radio, or a scanner, or something of the like.