I met Michael Roark at our very first DJ Mixer before WXNA went on the air in the Spring of 2016. I remember our first conversation was focused on our excitement of having a new freeform radio station in town and all of the music that we wanted to play. That very same excitement about making radio is still alive and well. Michael is a multi-talented DJ. He makes great radio that fits every mood and makes it seem effortless. I love his creativity, appreciate his candor, and his great taste in music.
Each week he takes his foggy notions and musings, and then knits them all together with an excellent blend of eclectic tunes to create the colorful and expansive soundtrack of Hazy Ways (Tues, noon-3 p.m.). He keeps it modern with interesting new sounds on The Friday Afternoon Club (Fri, 1-3 p.m.). Michael is also one heck of a thespian. Remember the Soap Radio Hour? His radio endeavors also include many jobs for the station behind the scenes. I even call upon him when I need a substitute or a concert buddy.
Thank you, Michael. You’re a great friend and a kindred spirit. You rock my world!
Born: Atlanta, GA
Home: Atlanta GA, always. I live in Nashville, TN
Drafted into WXNA: 2016
How did you discover independent radio? Out of curiosity, I started working at WUOG 90.5 at the University of Georgia from 1992-1994. I come from a musical family, so it actually made sense. Then I did commercial radio for a year in Jacksonville, FL from 1994-1995 but there was no creativity. Came back to Atlanta and worked at WRAS 88.5 at Georgia State University and WATB 90.5 in Decatur GA from 1997-2003, running a dance/electronic music show, a neo-soul/r&b show, and a community talk show during that time. That experience led me to be a rep for Sony Music in 2000-2001 where I got to meet up and coming bands. I also promoted dance/electronica events (aka RAVES!!!!) and DJs with my group The Beat Collaborative and also I DJed in Atlanta clubs. From 2007-2016, I ran a podcast called Mode.Radio, which featured dance/electronica music. It was through the connections I made in Atlanta that I got onto WXNA. I knew Nashville (and former WRVU DJ) Mindub and he suggested that I join the nuts at WXNA. However, I could not do a dance/electronica show because he was doing a similar show at the station. So I created “Soul of the City” based on my experience and my fav radio in Atlanta, “Soul of Jazz” on WCLK. Later, I revived “Mode.Radio” to help fill in the schedule during the COVID pandemic. “Bring Out Your Dead” was a result of a slightly inebriated Facebook post to the WXNA DJ group, where all kinds of DJs showed their secret membership as Merry Marauders. 😉
Most played song on WXNA: “LA” from Nashville artist Jamiah
Vinyl, CD or mp3? All formats for radio. CD’s and Mp3 for club DJing
Fave WXNA shows: https://www.wxnafm.org/shows/gilded-splinters/, Psych Out, The Corner, Reggae University, Beautiful Buzz and of course Soul of the City, Mode.Radio, and Bring Out Your Dead.
Pinch-me moment: Interviewing Bela Fleck because we had no DJs available to do it in 2000 in Atlanta. I was a secret fan and he was a super cool dude. Interviewing PJ Morton on WXNA in 2017. Getting invited to my first of 3 secret Prince shows because of my radio DJing in Atlanta in 2001.
When I die: I want to die with Georgia red clay under my feet and disco music playing at my funeral.
Being a part of WXNA has introduced me to so many inspiring and creative people, and one who always stands out to me is the great Paul Glavin.
From 5-7 pm on Wednesday evenings he brings us Eargasm!, which plays the trashiest, greasiest, most full-speed-ahead records from both your garage rock favorites as well as bands that you’ve never heard of (and probably won’t ever hear of again). If I’m listening at home, I’m furiously updating my Discogs wantlist with the wild stuff he plays, and if I’m tuned in while driving around, I feel like the coolest person on the road jamming to what he is spinning. The main theme of his show is that records are FUN! It’s infectious, and it’s so clear he is having a good time sharing his selections on air.
And while his show is great, Paul himself is even better. A true gem of a person and a collector’s collector, Paul is a warm and welcoming presence in the record collecting world. It is far more common as a young woman to encounter curmudgeons who don’t take you seriously as a collector or go above and beyond to try to invalidate your knowledge, and Paul instead likes to check out my finds at record shows and let me know about estate sales I might be interested in. I’m so glad to call him and his lovely wife Sandy friends, and grateful to WXNA for causing our paths to cross.
MEET YOUR WIZARDS! A peek behind the curtain…
Meet DJ HEADWALKER, host of Spin Cycle from 11 pm to midnight on Wednesday evenings, followed by Indo-Burma from midnight to 1 am on Thursdays. He is also the owner of Guerilla Bizkits, located in Fatherland Shops in East Nashville.
Born: 12/27/93 til infinity — same day as my dad. cap gang
Home: East Nashville — filled with pet fur and tchotchkes
Drafted into WXNA: 2 years ago
Spins: Hardcore punk and jungle
How did you discover independent radio? In early middle school, there was a college radio station that I could snag from BGSU that played death metal every Thursday at like 4am. Some kid told me about it and I didn’t believe him, so I stayed up one night and sure enough, there it was. I tuned in religiously after that — it felt like my duty as a kid in the scene to tune in and support heavy music on the air.
Most played song: “Window Licker” — Aphex Twin
Vinyl, CD or mp3? Vinyl and mp3
Fave WXNA show: Reggae University
Pinch-me moment: Collaborating with my favorite record label, Triple B Records
When I die: feed me to the worms or press my ashes into a vinyl
Paul Glavin of Eargasm dedicates the following to Peter Rodman
Curating a radio show that merges so many genres and formats into a specific identifiable image is daunting and challenging. It is the equivalent of walking an audio tightrope. Lack of creative discipline can easily send the show into the murky abyss of sounding like the DJ is simply trying to fill the time slot with anything that takes up time. Peter Rodman Goes Off rides the line of balance perfectly in his structured unstructured show of music, talk, interviews and whatever else happens to make him, “go off”. Peter’s show is entertaining, fun, opinionated, and hosted by someone who obviously loves what he’s doing as well as the music he plays. I’m always amazed by the scope and breadth of his knowledge of pop music and his ability to interview his subjects in a conversational manner to bring out the best in them so the listener remains captivated and interested whatever the subject is.
Peter Rodman the person is equally great. I have a fantastic time whenever we have the opportunity to meet up and always leave wishing there was more time to just hang out and yak. Peter was born in New York and I am from the Boston area so I’m sure listening to us having a conversation can be pretty challenging in Nashville when we are at WXNA events especially when the subject turns to baseball. Our Red Sox and Yankees biases become apparent very quickly!
Peter Rodman Goes Off can be heard on Monday from 10am-11am on WXNA and should be required listening for anyone who loves the art of music conversation and perfectly sequenced songs supporting the interview. Now, about those Yankees, Peter…
Meet DJ Nexus, host of Musical Mysticism from 4-5pm on Wednesday afternoons.
Born: 10-3-1981 in Oak Ridge, TN
Home: Lebanon and Grandview, TN
Drafted into WXNA: 2017
Spins: electronic, hip-hop, funk, soul, psych, rock, folk, blues, jazz, ambient, reggae, dub, afrobeat, disco
How did you discover independent radio? I did college radio at MTSU and discovered WXNA in the Nashville Scene
Most played song: I rarely play a song on the radio more than once. Live DJing it’s probably “Scientific Dancehall” by Lee “Scratch” Perry. Listening for pleasure lately it’s probably something by Adrianne Lenker or “Doin’ Time” by Lana Del Rey.
Vinyl, CD or mp3? Vinyl live, WAV and FLAC when prerecording
Fave WXNA shows: Web of Sound, Mode.Radio, Free Association, Beautiful Buzz, The Housequake Vinyl Hour, Walk It Off!
Pinch-me moment: Meeting Jess Williamson and telling her I play her songs on the radio.
When I die: Natural burial or let wild animals eat me
I’m an avid reader of mostly nonfiction, particularly mysticism, philosophy, poetry, pop culture and environmental/social issues. I’ve been vegetarian since 2004. In January 2010, I sat in a tree on a windy mountain in West Virginia for 9 days with no extra heat source to get in the way of blasting next to a coal sludge impoundment on a mountaintop removal coal mine site.
My friend and WXNA DJ Leanne Merritt is an influencer in the truest sense of the word — digging deep into new releases, keeping fresh on upcoming tour announcements, and alerting the world to the next magical act that will grace Nashville stages. She supports local, bringing in tons of interviewees from all over the city. Experimental artists and indie darlings alike are thrilled to be included on X-Posure, Leanne’s weekly exploration of the new and hip, the deep and sincere. She finds hidden treasures like she’s a talent magnet and makes connections to amazing people in a way that feels organic. It’s beautiful to hear the conversations bloom on the airwaves each Wednesday. Thank you, Leanne. The brightness of your X-Posure has given me a lasting burn ❤
In this edition of Meet Your Wizards, we bring you DJ Ed, host of Eighties Schmeighties, Fridays from 10am-noon.
Born: Atlanta, Georgia
Home: Nashville, Tennessee
Drafted into WXNA: 2016
Spins: Left (always left)
I think I discovered independent radio growing up in Atlanta listening to the college radio station from Georgia State, 88.5 I think. Then when I went to school in Mobile, Alabama I was shocked to find out there was a very tiny college radio station, all of 10 watts. (Shout out to WTOH!) It was such a small-wattage station they didn’t care whether or not we followed FCC rules. That’s something I had to learn when I became a DJ at WXNA. Hey, you’re not a real DJ unless you’ve been suspended at least once! I love being the selector on Eighties Schmeighties. It beats therapy!
Most played song: “Clampdown” by The Clash
Vinyl, CD or mp3? All of the above. Whatever works. Love vinyl, but not a fetishist.
Pinch-me moment: Interviewing some great artists such as Kosmo Vinyl and Vanessa Briscoe Hay.
When I die: Enjoy Every Sandwich…
Look, I don’t want to jinx anything, but 2022 almost felt like a completely average period of time, with only basic levels of chaos and anxiety. Frankly, I’ll take it! As with prior years we asked our DJs to look back at the year and suggest some of their favorite records. The sounds and styles in their recommendations are as varied as the shows on WXNA. Perhaps a few of the records below will help you kick-start your listening for 2023.
DJ Rhatfink of The Continental appreciates Pete Wilson
Just as the soundtrack to American Graffiti changed my life in the 1970s, so too did DJ Pete Wilson, beginning in the early 2000s with his seminal show, Nashville Jumps!
George Lucas’s film, American Graffiti (1973), sent me down the rabbit hole of rock and roll as a young listener. What an amazing soundtrack! I loved that music so much that I had my father make me reel-to-reel tapes of nothing but classic oldies but goodies like The Five Satins, Bo Diddley and Etta James. I played those over and over again until the tapes wore thin. The bedrock rock of DJ Rhatfink is rock and roll. Yet there was still more to discover as I found out when I started listening to DJ Pete Wilson and his outstanding, long-running radio show Nashville Jumps! This was radio manna from heaven coming to us from out of the past to the here and now, flinging open the musical doors of my proto-rocker brain with tunes from Cab Calloway, Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris and so many more! Pete plays nothing but the finest early unbleached rock n’ roll, boogie woogie, jazz and jump blues every Friday morning and has helped me continue a family tradition. Just as my dad shared mix tapes with me, I have had the pleasure of sharing Nashville Jumps! with my daughter as I took her to school. History lessons have never been more fun. Thank you, Pete! Long may you continue to spin those big 10-inch records.