Uncle B

A very long time ago, a twenty-something kid started a job at Brown University as a custodian. By luck or maybe just kismet, that kid got the job of cleaning the WBRU studios on the 3rd floor of the Student Activities building, aka Faunce House.

Of course some interaction with the student DJ’s occurred and it wasn’t long before a rapport was built with said students. Said kid demonstrated a knowledge of music, and when summer rolled around, a need for fill-in DJ’s came with it.

A “training” shift on the AM station led to a summer position picking up the undesirable Saturday and Sunday early morning shifts of 6-9 AM. The kid learned. He learned about music, about the technical aspects of running a broadcast board, transmitter, and the rest of the workings of a student radio station.

One thing led to another as the saying goes and eventually an overnight Saturday-Sunday (Midnight to 6AM) became his on-air home.

More learning, both inside and outside of the station honed the skills he’d gathered and a local “almost famous” status was earned from the eclectic mix of music he brought to the air-sound of the station; Everything from The Kinks to Zappa got played and folks started talking about the guy that didn’t play the latest sounds from the latest trends and instead dug into the rich history of everything from 60’s to what was then the “present” (ie: early 80’s)

But all good things must come to an end, and when a new “Classic Rock” Commercial station started up in town it was perceived as competition and WBRU hired Lee Abrams, later of Sirius XM, as a consultant. The result was a tight format of preselected tunes in a pre-programmed sequence thus snuffing out any creativity that might have still existed. The time had come to discontinue Uncle Bernie’s relationship with WBRU.

But it didn’t quite end there.

The call to make radio persisted and eventually led to a fateful call to one of the few free-form college stations, WRIU, and a show called “Eargazm” that Tom O and his friend “P.J. the D.J.” hosted. Many visits later a friendship developed, and when P.J decided to call it quits, I was asked to fill his spot.

I was happy to comply.

Toward the end of the WRIU run (2000), another friend of the show, Joe Hartley, demonstrated that it was feasible for mere mortals to stream audio out to the internet from a home computer.

It was at this point that Eargazm.com was born. Since then there has been much in the way of changes, many of which will be related in other places on this site, but the idea of doing shows, digitizing them and letting them play in rotation began at this point.

And so here we are. Tom O, my brother Larry, our friend Brian and myself have kept the concept of free-form radio alive here in the digital Wild West. Many others have joined us at various times, and some have sadly passed on. But we’ve built it and we hope you’ll come.