I have an ever-mounting list of projects that I’m passionate about and the trick is finding how to not neglect any, but also avoid not getting anything done due to lack of focus. I’m fairly decent at this skill, thanks to my mad scientist nature, but easy, it is not.
In those layers of master plans rests a few concepts related to Time Travel Radio, which was my entry into doing radio. The time was 1995, I was living in Waukegan, IL and I was pondering the fate of my company Rage Promotions, which I had started just three years earlier. From that experience I learned that I pretty much hated working in the industry, specifically on the level of the Major Record Labels. That was fine because the only reason I had started the company was to make contacts with people and I had achieved that. Most importantly I had established contacts and acquaintances with a lot of key artists, many who were favorites of mine. Secondly, I had been asked to write for a local Hip Hop Zine, The Fly Paper, after I spent time hanging out with the editors, Mic Shane and Promo a.k.a Raymond O’Neil. It was a perfect case of, right place at the right time. That was a trend that would continue for me at least a few more times.
On my main promo run route I would make my last stop at WNUR 89.3 FM. It was in Evanston, just on the outskirts of the Northside of Chicago, which put it on the way back home to the North Suburbs. Plus, I held a special spot in my heart for that station. When I first moved to IL I flipped on the radio only to find the typical Pop-Rock formats and the new discovery of House Music, which I wasn’t into. However, in school one of my homies, S.P.O, hit me off with a tape of a local radio station that had a Hip Hop show…it was on 89.3 FM. I still remember that tape! It had new tracks from LL Cool J's debut album,”Radio”, before it dropped. It had Mikey D & the Symbolic Three “We’re Treacherous” and so on. That was in 1985 and from then on I paid attention to the Rap shows in WNUR. That station was critical in helping me stay informed on new artists I should be checking for.
It was great, 10 years later, to finally be able to actually visit the studios of this iconic station. I would give the DJs the promos I had for them, but as an added bonus I would bring a few other things that I had that were rare and see if they wanted to play them. Plus, I generally had a lot of information or history on the music so they would ask me questions on and off the air about things. Then one day their current host for one of their Rap shows couldn’t make it down, so the Program Director called someone he knew had been in the studio a lot, knew the music, and would probably sound OK on-air….and that was me. I was caught off guard by the question, “Do you want to host the radio show tonight?" I had never really thought about it,buy I figured what’s the worst that could happen in doing it for one night, so I agreed. The thing is, that other DJ never came back and I ended up dong my show for seven years until I moved to Minneapolis!
The original motto for my radio show was I was going to play all the songs that I never heard anyone play on any radio show. The deep album cuts, underground dubbed tapes, and b-sides. Plus, pay attention to new artists who I felt might fall into that category and attempt to help avoid them getting overlooked. That quickly evolved into an all out theme show.Time Travel, as I eventually named it, was an educational Hip Hop show where my mission was to teleport listeners to certain moments in time by focusing on various eras of Hip Hop or span time over a particular artist’s career or sometimes use the music as a medium to discuss any number of topics that were reflective of the times. I think it’s safe to say it was a fairly unique show.
It was my baby and no amount of words can express much Time Travel meant to me. I invested an unimaginable amount of time into that show and it will forever be special to me. However, I’m still blown away by how many people hit me up telling me how much they miss it or send emails/facebook updates to share memories from the show, pictures of their collection of dubbed tapes, or tell me they wish I could bring the show back on-air. That is an amazing feeling. The most common comment I hear is that I should make the previous shows available online. I actually did tape the seven years of shows and have them all nicely cataloged on tape (think I’m missing one or two shows). My mind goes into a frenzy when I try to imagine the time it would take to digitize seven years of cassette tapes…lord! I would like to do that some day, at least focusing on the later years and then some choice selections from the early years (where I was still developing the format and my presence as a host),
The one thing I have done is gone thru the seven years of tapes or at least most of it and digitized the guest appearances. There are seemingly endless hours of freestyles. I’ve been thinking for years that I should at least start a blog or something to share those moments and the full shows can come later. Yet, even that is a timely process. However, when I was racking my brain on what to blog about today, I had these lingering thoughts in my head of three people who hit me up over the last week or so about Time Travel sharing some memories. Then there were some extra stories based on me posting that 101 Crew mixtape last week, which was a demo for them to be selected to DJ on the radio show.
Thinking of all that caused me to go look at the freestyles that I have on my computer and I noticed that there was one night that was the same day as today (yesterday now). It was 10-17-96 and featured members of the Beat Junkies (Babu and Rhettmatic) doing DJ sets and interviews and freestyles from LMNO and Key Kool. I figured that since I had to start that project somewhere that was a good a place as any. I took the matching dates as a “sign” for me to gain the inspirational spark I needed.
Enjoy these two moments and look for me to load up a lot more some time in the future…hopefully the near rather than the far…
-Key Kool & LMNO interview and freestyle
-DJ Babu and Rhettmatic of the Beat Junkies on the turntables: It should be stated that this almost didn’t happen. As the turntable set up in the studio was really set up for a turntablist style exhibition, from the way the turntables were set up in the coffin and the mixer wasn’t that awesome either… Thankfully they still decided to do a little something.
Written By Kevin Beacham a.k.a AMC the Dimensional Doorman of Time Travel