Sure, we have A Prairie Home Companion,This American Life, and Car Talk, — uniquely entertaining, all — but in large part these days, radio is merely what happens in the car once the CD player conks out.
But if you set the dial to WMPG (90.9 or 104.1 FM) on December 30 at 10 pm, you’ll be tuning in to a feisty programming reason to pull the chairs up close to the speakers: The satirical bonanza of Instant Comedy’s new radio show A Beautiful Day in the Fourth Reich — a cabaret-style collection of political spoofs on songs, ads, and other forms of social persuasion.
Written and directed by Dan Bernard, produced by Michael Townsend, and starring the members of Instant Comedy along with some special guests, Fourth Reich follows on the heels of the pre-war but prescient The Search for Bin Laden and The War Chest of Kim Chee. Some of the material of Fourth Reich has already been staged, as part of the Portland Short Order Comedy Co.’s Political Follies (which will continue in the new year, at the St. Lawrence). Its scripted "propaganda" encourages folks to consider becoming "Repubmocrats" in the imagined Fourth Reich, in which the Pentagon has a weapons blowout sale, and gasoline is worth its high costs by virtue of being scented, just like high-end coffees or bath salts. Listeners will also encounter plenty of song take-offs — including "Deport the Troops" to the tune of "Because the Night;" "Mice and Men" to "Us and Them;" "Sunni" to "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb; and "The Nuclear Bomb Song" to "The Banana Boat Song." There is also a spot for the "George Bush No-Support Bra."
I recently heard wise old Studs Terkel say on the radio that American politics had become "a burlesque," but without the funny part. Instant Comedy and WMPG offer a little relief, with lots of funny parts, on Friday night. So put your feet up, get out that neglected knitting or whittling project, and get ready to laugh as you get piqued.
"Beverages, Bitches and Bikinis" doesn't sound like an event you'd expect a state campus to support. Yet that is the title originally proposed for an event sponsored by WXIN, the student radio station at state-supported Rhode Island College.
By MARY ANN SORENTINO | October 13, 2010
The tale-tellers behind Final Rune Productions create what they call "stories for the ear."
By MEGAN GRUMBLING | October 07, 2010
Providence cultural center AS220 is kicking off its latest season of "Action Speaks!" roundtable discussions. The theme for this fall's chats: "What's Eating Us?," a look at the patterns of consumption that precipitated the economic crash — and may help us get out.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG | September 29, 2010
You need phone numbers. Your cell phone needs programming. Spend a few minutes now, and reap the rewards all year long.
By PORTLAND PHOENIX STAFF | August 25, 2010
Passings near and far; Huzzah for Harley; Farewell, World Cup
As some of you may know, on a biweekly basis your superior correspondents chat with former mayor and current local talk radio titan, Vincent A. "The Bud-I" Cianci.
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE | July 14, 2010
Can WRNI supplant the ProJo as the state’s news king?
Rhode Island’s upstart National Public Radio affiliate, WRNI, aims to be nothing less than a major media player here. And in the space of just a couple of years, the station has taken some impressive first steps.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG | June 10, 2010
You might have caught 18-year-old Dominic Sbrega on NPR’s From the Top last week, playing Mexican folk-dance music on his stand-up bass.
By JEFF INGLIS | May 12, 2010
The fragmentation of the local media market, long predicted, is finally a reality.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG | May 05, 2010
Terry McMillan, best known for her blockbuster novels Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back , made a quick stop in South Providence the other day to raise money for the Community Preparatory School and talk shop — with 10-year-olds.
By ELIZABETH RAU | April 28, 2010
Jesus didn’t help Bill Beardsley.
That’s not intended as a negative reflection on the Son of God, who can’t be held responsible for the deficiencies in Beardsley’s early campaign style.
By AL DIAMON | April 15, 2010
Letters to the Portland Editor, April 2, 2010
A political story could literally not contain more irony than the story of the USA PATRIOT Act and its effect on the modern extremist right-wing movement.
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS | March 31, 2010
Kolosko and Dimow’s Border Crossings
It can be easy to get wrapped up in Portland’s pop and rock scene, the singalong stuff you hear in the clubs and on the radio.
By SAM PFEIFLE | March 24, 2010
Talk-radio listeners could be forgiven for wondering if WPRO sprung a bit too far forward this week when Buddy Cianci's show begun airing at 2 pm instead of the usual 10 am.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG | March 17, 2010
Budget problems? It's the stupidity, stupid.
There are lots of theories about what's wrong with Maine's economy.
By AL DIAMON | March 10, 2010
No, really: Actually awesome
A few weeks ago, we marveled at the reality of Portland's Top 40 radio station, WJBQ, playing a song by local rapper Spose called "I'm Awesome," an ironic, self-deprecating piece of pure hilarious ear candy.
By SAM PFEIFLE | March 03, 2010
Rock icon Patti Smith recalls burroughs and Mapplethorpe, the early days of CBGB, and saddling up for Horses in this memoir excerpt
The stars were lining up to enter the Ziegfeld Theatre for the glittering premiere of the film Ladies & Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones. I was excited to be there.
By PATTI SMITH | March 03, 2010
God, that look on her face ...
By KARL STEVENS | February 17, 2010
Letters to the Boston editor, February 12, 2010
Adam Reilly’s analysis of right-wing talk radio’s support of Scott Brown was nearly perfect.
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS | February 10, 2010
Talk radio helped energize Scott Brown's Senate campaign. Will it doom the Democrats in 2010?
The right loves to rant against the "liberal-media elite," but there's one key media sector where the conservative id reigns supreme: talk radio.
By ADAM REILLY | February 08, 2010
The BSO, the Cantata Singers, Discovery Ensemble, and BCMS
WGBH radio has ended its 58-year tradition of live Friday-afternoon BSO broadcasts, and it doesn't seem that public outcry is going to change that.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ | January 25, 2010
Nothing says Super Bowl Sunday like an anti-abortion ad; Ripping Rush; and more
Phillipe and Jorge noticed an interesting tidbit in the sports section of the New York Times recently.
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE | January 20, 2010
Ne'er has there been a sweeter gig than being secretary
The office of Maine's secretary of state has been around since we split from Massachusetts in 1820.
By AL DIAMON | January 06, 2010
The roof is on Fire Dept.
"The life of the artist is seeing possibility where other people don't," says Madeleine Steczynski, an East Boston artist and activist.
By VALERIE VANDE PANNE | December 28, 2009
Richard Curtis’s boat rocks
A rusty, red-painted trawler bobs in the waves of the North Atlantic. Inside is a claustrophobic warren of rooms: tiny, brine-smelling bunks, a well-stocked bar, and, crucially, a broadcast booth, its shelves crammed with the latest 45s and LPs, its turntables manned in shifts by a motley squad of hirsute rogues.
By MIKE MILIARD | November 16, 2009
A brief encounter in Trinity’s Shooting Star
Shooting Star , by Steven Deitz, got its title from a Bob Dylan lyric that speaks of poignant regret.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ | October 29, 2009
The movement strives to be a coherent force for change. But is it just blowing steam?
The Rhode Island Tea Party, local wing of the national uprising against all things Obama, has some reason for hope.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG | October 21, 2009
Eleven heavy-rock bands are now vying for a $10,000 prize being offered up by radio station 106.3 the Bone.
By PORTLAND PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF | October 21, 2009
The crushing metal of Human Moral Deception
Recently, Bull Moose wondered "aloud" (via Facebook) about the future of metal.
By SAM PFEIFLE | October 21, 2009
On the Air
Months after leaving ABC6, investigative reporter Jim Hummel was chatting about his future over lunch with public relations guru Dante Bellini. Plans to take up with WJAR's news team, long the ratings leader in the Providence market, had evaporated with the downturn in the economy.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG | October 14, 2009
Rest in Beats
By the time this goes to press, DJs and designers will be mixing and manufacturing mix-tapes and shirts commemorating Mr. Magic, the seminal New York radio jockey who died of a heart attack at 53 in Brooklyn this past Friday.
By CHRIS FARAONE | October 07, 2009