Sopranos Henchman Silvio Now WNKU DJ!

Northern Kentucky-based public radio station WNKU (89.7 FM) has announced some changes to its current weekend lineup. One of the marquee additions is Little Steven’s Underground Garage, a syndicated version of the Bruce Springsteen sideman/Sopranos actor/Garage Rock afficanado Steven Van Zandt’s radio show celebrating Garage nuggets from the past and present. There’s an “Underground Garage” station on Sirius satellite radio and if its indicative of Van Zandt’s two-hour syndicated  version, fans of pure, raw, real Rock & Roll will be glued to their radios every Saturday from 2-4 p.m. The show debuts this weekend.

On Van Zandt’s Sirus station, DJs play everything from Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly to The Sonics and The Ramones to more contemporary acts like Cincinnati’s Greenhornes, Mooney Suzuki and The Woggles. The station’s programmers don’t get marred down with what the term “Garage” actually means, seemingly playing anything that tickles their fancies, just like the old days of FM (although I have noticed a lot of play for artists on Van Zandt’s new label, Wicked Cool Records, such as The Charms).

While the WNKU version will likely feature Van Zandt behind the mic, the Sirius channel has shows hosted by Joan Jett, Handsome Dick Manitoba of The Dictators and eccentric former Rolling Stones impresario Andrew Loog Oldham (worth listening to just for his verbose, creepily bizarre conversations between songs as it is for the music). Overall, the station’s one of the best things available on the Sirius service. For a taste, you can listen to past shows at the Underground Garage link above.

For early-risers, WNKU is also adding the show VOICES, which debuts this Sunday at 6 a.m. (ouch!). The program puts the spotlight on singer/songwriters of every career-level. Each hour-long show features around a dozen songs and has interviews with the songwriters about the inspiration behind the music.

The added shows are shaking the WNKU programming schedule up a little bit. The acoustic-music showcase, Acoustic Sunrise, moves to Saturday morning at 6 a.m., while Folk Sampler moves to Sunday nights at 9 p.m., replacing Keller’s Cellar and leading into Katie Laur’s Music From the Hills of Home. Little Steven’s show replaces World Cafe on Saturday afternoons (World Cafe can still be heard on the station Monday through Friday at 3 p.m., repeating those nights at 1 a.m.).

Kudos to WNKU for continuing to make its already eclectic programming even more diverse and broadly appealing.

— Mike Breen

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