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Inquiry, 9-10pm, Sunday
Mark has been with WICN in some capacity since the very early 1970s, when the fledgling station started at WPI. His early shows included the bizarre Psychic Journal and the extremely questionable Put Your Head On My Shoulder, WICN’s only “advice to the lovelorn” show. Not content with these short strange spots, he heard “Never Mind The Bullocks” and immediately joined the Rock Department in the late 1970s. He and Bob Mercer soon became the department heads and together they rapidly turned WICN’s alternative take on contemporary rock into one of the most cutting edge shows in New England. The late nightly show Positive Noise garnered recognition and praise from bands and press all over the world by being the first on any radio station to play bands like The Galloping Coroners from Hungary and promoting artists like Laurie Anderson. All the while that Mark was on the air till 3 a.m., he was simultaneously getting up early to study birds and to teach at the Worcester Art Museum. This schedule could only go on for so long, and he retired from Positive Noise in the mid-1980s. It was then that he decided that the best way to understand his bifurcated life in art and science was to listen to artists and scientists speak, and so Inquiry was born and has been on the air ever since. Besides hosting Inquiry, Mark still teaches (and is a docent) at the Worcester Art Museum, typically offering classes on Contemporary and Modern Art. He is an ecological monitor, teacher and trip leader at the Massachusetts Audubon Society at Broad Meadow Brook and is currently writing an ornithogeography of the Blackstone National Corridor. He is the Book Review Editor at the ornithology journal "Bird Observer".
A Tasteful Blend, 6am-9am, Thursdays and Fridays
Rick was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and moved around a lot as a child, finally settling in Westborough, Massachusetts at the age of 16. Being a drummer, at that time he sought out other musicians and began playing in rock bands, a bad habit he still cannot seem to shake. Rick fell in love with jazz when, in his early 20's, he heard the tune "Lil Darlin'" by the Count Basie Orchestra. His love of the music has grown exponentially ever since that day. In the late 80's, Rick discovered WICN and he became a fan of many of the shows -- particularly A Tasteful Blend, which at that time was hosted by the wonderful musician, educator, and producer, Jack Wertheimer. Hosting A Tasteful Blend is an absolute dream come true for Rick. When not on the radio, Rick works as a Technical Writer for the EMC Corporation. Much to his wife Lisa's chagrin, Rick maintains an ever growing collection of LPs and CDs…another bad habit he can't seem to shake! Rick and Lisa have two children, Zachary and Amelia.
Tonal Rhythm, 6-9pm, Sunday
Karen Mungal first came to WICN in 2000 as a volunteer, answering phones for a WICN fund-raising event. In the fall of 2003, the opportunity arose to host Tonal Rhythm on a bi-weekly basis. Karen offered to fill that position and quickly found her stride. Shortly thereafter, she became the full-time host of Tonal Rhythm, sharing her eclectic selections of New Age and World music with listeners every week. Karen brings her worldly perspective and unique ear for music to Tonal Rhythm, where the mix of songs is always evolving.
Folk Revival, 7-11pm, Thursday
Nick has hosted the Folk Revival since 2007. He is an enthusiastic advocate for folk music in its broadest sense, with a particular fondness for the songs of the Folk Revival period during the 1950s and 60s. He enjoys sharing his passion with the radio audience through a series of themed shows year-round. Nick loves hearing from listeners and responding to their ideas, suggestions, information, conversation, and requests. His FOLK REVIVAL page on facebook is home to an online coffeehouse of more than a thousand regular and irregular listeners to the show, who often connect in real-time during the program. In keeping with the station’s commitment to the local music scene, Nick is a strong supporter of local New England artists, many of whom have been guests on the show. A Worcester resident and a long-time educator (he taught middle school and high school history and English for 28 years), Nick currently works as a writer, editor, and historian. He has published six books over the years—all on historical topics—including “NUMBER #1”—the story of the original Highwaymen—a journey through folk music history: the Folk Revivals, “The Great Folk Music Scare”, and their legacies (Outskirts Press, 2009). Nick loves to read (others’ work, not his own), and is a sometime singer (thirty years ago he belonged to one of the last collegiate folk groups before acapella became the rage), a part-time poet, and a full-time husband and father. Nick is also a loyal WICN member and an active WICN volunteer.
Jazz360, 11pm-2am, Friday
Dana Robbins grew up in the small town of Millbury MA with musical influence from his father as he listened to him play the guitar at various family functions through the years. Dana began his career as an electronics technician before transitioning into sales and marketing. After entering the newspaper business in 1987 with the Middlesex News in Framingham, Robbins relocated to Florida in 1989 and worked for the Tampa Tribune while also putting his self-taught drumming skills to use in a blues band called Borderline. Robbins then married, and moved his wife and two kids back to good ol’ Millbury where he began his 20-year tenure at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette as a manager in the circulation department. In addition to previously co-hosting a jazz program on WICN a few years back, Dana has been part of a few different musical projects such as presiding over an online radio program, drummer for a local blues band and producer for an entertainment company. Please join Dana on Friday nights from 11pm – 2am as he returns to WICN to host JAZZ360.
Saturday Night Fish Fry, 7-11pm, Saturday
Norm Rosen grew up in the New York City and Washington, D.C. areas as a kid where he was surrounded by a vibrant Blues and Rockabilly scene. As a teenager, he would sneak into many of the area clubs to see some of the top musicians perform. One of his earliest concerts was a free show at American University featuring B.B. King. Norm spent some time as a booking agent and music critic in New York where he worked closely with groups like The Johnny Copeland Band, Larry Davis, and Jimmy Dawkins. In 1989 Norm got his first on-air radio experience at an alternative station in Pittsburgh. Since then he has worked his way through the New England radio network with stops at WRIU, WATD, WHOB, WGBH and now WICN where he educates and entertains his listeners with the various styles of the Blues.
Soul Serenade, 7-11pm, Monday
Tom Shaker is a professor at Dean College where he directs the Communications Program. He grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY, the son of a plumbing contractor who was a jazz nut. They fought like cats and dogs over the one stereo in the house until Tom realized his Dad was right, Billie Holiday IS better than Grand Funk Railroad. He spends his weekends saving diners for the American Diner Museum and listening to all kinds of music. In addition to international travel, Tom loves hitting the road to visit music festivals, diners, drive-ins and oddball museums. He has an extensive collection of not only jazz, country, soul and gospel, but Hawaiian, hillbilly and early 1920s dance band music. Over the years, Tom worked in radio, television and film production, before pursuing his academic career, receiving a masters degree from UMASS and a doctorate degree from Boston University. He is currently working on a book and documentary about the history of jazz in Rhode Island. Tom’s also on the Board of Directors of the New England Jazz Alliance.
Jazz Matinee, 12-4pm, Saturday
Joe was born in Concord, MA but grew up in Bellingham. Coming from a musical family he was often appointed "booking agent" in providing music for school dances. Following high school he attended Dean College in Franklin and later Graduated from Northeast Broadcasting School in Boston and at the age of 18 was hired by WMRC in Milford as an evening disc jockey seven nights a week. In a 17-year period Joe was employed by various radio stations in over a dozen towns including Providence, Springfield, Worcester and many in between. The deterioration of popular music forced him out of the radio business and in 1978 he became an antiques auctioneer. After hearing WICN in 1985, Joe became the host of Thursday morning's "A Tasteful Blend" and later the Saturday "Jazz Matinee" (upon the retirement of his good friend Mary Mardirossian). Joe and his wife Pat now live in Paxton and have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. They continue their romance with antiques, old houses and most of all...music.
Public Eye, 10:30-11pm, Sunday
For over a decade Al Vuona has been the host of "The Public Eye". His love of interviewing guests with diverse backgrounds and experiences has made for some great talk radio. From celebrities and authors to CEO's and politicians, the show has continued to cross boundaries while at the same time informing and entertaining the audience. Al's background in sales, marketing and entrepreneurship has given him a unique perspective on people and issues. In addition, he spent 8 years as License Commissioner for the city of Worcester gaining valuable experience on the inner workings of state and local government. A public speaker with degrees in business and economics, Al enjoys interacting with an audience. He has given presentations and workshops on effective communications, marketing, sales and customer service. His love of food, wine and culture has been a mainstay, and over the years has continued to grow. He is a freelance writer who has been published in local and national publications such as Wine Enthusiast, Sales and Marketing Management Magazine, the Quarterly Review of Wine, and Worcester Magazine. Al considers wine, music, a good book and movies as his passions.
Jazz Matinee, 4pm-6pm, Monday through Thursday
In his 40-plus-year career as a harmonica player, the instrument has taken him from the streets of the Great Brook Valley Housing Projects of Worcester, MA to memorable performances around the world.
In the 1980s, Williamson began freelance music writing for such local outlets as the Worcester Telegram and Worcester Magazine. Some of his favorite interviews of that period include those with Waylon Jennings, Sonny Rollins, B.B. King, Milt Jackson, Laura Nyro, and Mose Allison. He also started programming shows at a local community radio station, eventually becoming its jazz director.
In 1998, he was hired as the A&E Editor at Worcester Magazine, where for the next 10 years he was afforded the opportunity to interview many of his favorite musicians, artists and writers -- a partial list includes, Linda Ronstadt, Sonny Rollins, B.B. King, E.L. Doctrow, Katarina Witt, and Darrell Hammond, among hundreds more.
Willamson is the author of The Jazz Worcester Real Book, bios and profiles of Worcester jazz musicians including Jaki Byard, Frank Capp, Barbara Carroll, Boots Mussulli, and Tony Zano, among others. As a freelance writer, his work can be read in Boston Magazine, Blues Wire, The WPI Journal, Blues Audience, Artscope, JazzEd and North Shore Living.
Williamson’s harmonica styling can be heard on a series of folk, rock, blues and jazz musicians’ albums. His first release as a leader, Chromatic Swing, appeared in 2000. He now has five albums to his credit.
While writing full-time, Williamson continued performing. His jazz credits include dates with such stars as Alan Dawson, Amanda Carr, Rich Greenblatt, Mitch Seidman, Pamela Hines, Reggie Walley, Dick Odgren and Emil Haddad.
Williamson is a multiple New England Press Association winner and has been recognized by ARTSWorcester as its “man of the year” for his coverage of the local arts community. In 2010, Williamson was given a lifetime achievement award by Pulse Magazine, for “outstanding dedication to developing, promoting, and supporting the local music scene.”
Williamson can be reached at: email@example.com
Nick DiBiasio’s passion for music began on the evening of Sunday, February 9, 1964, when The Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Against The Grain features Americana music by many local and international artists.
Tune in to the Against The Grain, Wednesday nights from 7-11pm
Show support for the music you love on WICN before December 16th & be automatically entered into a drawing to win Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX. No contribution necessary to enter.