Saturday, April 11, 2015

My Morning Commute with the New MeTV-FM

I usually don't post about rival radio stations.  But, hey, I love music and you gotta give credit where credit is due.  To be honest, I don't much listen to terrestrial radio anymore. On my rather long commute, I usually listen to SiriusXM or my iPod.  However, there is a new radio station in town and it is awesome.

That radio station is MeTV-FM in Chicago (87.7).

This radio station is much like Vinyl Voyage Radio, actually.  Deep tracks.  Obscure and rarely heard hits from the 60s, 70s and early 80s.  Most terrestrial radio stations have limited playlists and often repeat the same songs ad nauseam.  I used to like Mumford and Sons---until I heard the same song every hour.  MeTV-FM is taking a different approach. Their playlist is huge and very deep. Songs that haven't played on the radio in decades are now getting airtime. And it is refreshing.

I decided to record my morning drive on April 6, 2015 to sample what MeTV-FM was offering that morning.  And they did not disappoint.  On the drive I listened to Marvin Gaye, the Beatles, John Denver and Christopher Cross, just to name a few.

Perhaps MeTV-FM is the first station in town to recognize that the competition is not other terrestrial radio stations, but internet radio--- mainly Pandora and Spotify. And they created their station to emulate the variety that internet stations offer.  And it is working.

So if you can't listen to Vinyl Voyage in the car (and you live in the Chicago area), give MeTV-FM a try.  You won't be disappointed.

From 6:30 to about 7:15, here are the songs played on MeTV-FM on April 6, 2014:

Supremes-"Come See About Me" 1964
Kenny Rankin-"Penny Lane" 1974
Smokey Robinson-"Cruisin'" 1979
John Travolta and Olivia Newton John-"You're the One That I Want"  1978
Bobby Vee-"Take Good Care of My Baby" 1961
Beau Brummels-"Laugh Laugh" 1965
Christopher Cross-"Sailing" 1979
Billy Joel-"Uptown Girl" 1983
John Denver-"Rocky Mountain High" 1975
Beatles-"You're Gonna Lose That Girl" 1965
Marvin Gaye-"Let's Get It On" 1973
Jackson Browne-"Doctor My Eyes" 1972
Cowsills-"Hair" 1969
JR. Walker and the All Stars-"What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)" 1969

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Next on AiV---Our oldest K-Tel Album: "20 Power Hits" from 1971

This is the oldest K-tel album in our collection, 20 Power Hits, Volume 1.  This album has some great songs by Sly and the Family Stone, Janis Joplin, the Byrds, Santana and Blood, Sweat and Tears. (And many, many more, of course!)

This album dates to 1971.  Although there is no date on this album, there are some clues as to when it was released.  First of all, K-Tel International had been known by two names: K-Tel and Imperial Products.  Both company names appear on this album. Later in 1971, the company switched to the exclusive use of "K-Tel."

Next, there is a very old K-Tel logo on the album along with a K-Tel exclusive numbering system.  All K-Tel albums begin with a "TU."

Plus, there is a ad for the K-Tel record selector.  This product began being advertised on tv in 1972, but was being sold earlier.  The first album in the picture is Tom Jones' album, Tom, which was released in 1970:

This album also features some of the most heavily edited songs to appear on any K-Tel album.  There is one song on the album---"Turn, Turn, Turn" by the Byrds---that has been whittled down to less than a minute.

The track listing for side A was printed in error, so a label had been applied to the back with the corrected track list.  However, they missed another mistake.  The first song on the second side is listed as "Smiling Faces," by Blood, Sweat and Tears.  The true name of the song is "Smiling Phases," a cover of an earlier tune by the band Traffic.  Oooops.

Despite all of this, 20 Power Hits is a solid K-Tel album.  At least 44 years old, this album has seen better days.  A major skip on the second side necessitated the use of some record sanding--which I normally don't do, by the way.  But that is an effective way to keep the needle from jumping.  Plus, this album has more than the usual noise, hiss and pops.  But that is what vinyl is all about.

So take a trip back to the late 60s and early 70s through the magic of K-Tel and Adventures in Vinyl.

New Adventures in Vinyl  episodes airs at (all times Central):

12:30 pm Saturday
4:00 pm Sunday
2:00 am Wednesday

Or, you can listen to the album right now:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Get Your K-Tel Fix Anytime

One of my first records ever was a K-Tel album entitled, "Music Power" from 1974.  It had songs by Brownsville Station, Dawn, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Barry White and the Grass Roots. Plus, many artists you probably have not heard, such as Stories, Lighthouse, Natural Four and the Raspberries.  Nonetheless, that album kicked off a decade of buying K-Tel albums.  Currently, I have over 50 albums in my collection and I constantly forage through resale shops and record stores looking for these gems.

One the reasons I started this station was to highlight these K-Tel albums---not only as relics of a by-gone era but also a celebration of a pop-cultural phenomenon that all of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s were a part.  Adventures in Vinyl was born.

The first episode of Adventures in Vinyl aired on this station in February of 2011. The concept was simple: I'll play an entire K-Tel album while placing the album in the year it was released with news, pop culture, movies and music.   We have aired over 30 episodes with many more to come.

Now, we are excited to announce that these episodes are available on-demand via Mixcloud.   Ever. Single. Episode.

Now, you don't have to wait for the episode to air, You can listen at any time. The current episode is loaded in the player.  If you want to see the other albums, click the "up next" and scroll through the list.


More Options to Listen to Vinyl Voyage Radio

We recently cut the cable cord.  That's right: goodbye Comcast!

Instead of cable, I installed a large antenna in our attic and we bought a Roku 3 streaming player. We've gone back to watching network TV (I get about 50 digital channels over-air) and stream our shows via Netflix and Hulu Plus. All for more than half of what cable costs.

The cool thing about Roku is that I can stream Vinyl Voyage.  This was great at Christmas as I was able to saturate the house with a vinyl Christmas.  And it was easy.

On the Roku player, you add "channels."  And Live365 has a channel for Roku.

In fact, it is now easier than ever to stream Vinyl Voyage Radio.  In addition to Roku,  Live365 is supported by the following devices:




There are many more option available.  Visit the Live365 site for a complete list of supported devices.

Not only that, but there are Live365 apps available for your smartphone.  With Bluetooth capabilities, you can easily listen in the car.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The 3rd Annual Retro Christmas is on the Air!

Re-live your Christmas memories...all on glorious vinyl.  Now until December 28, 2014.

It's Time for a Vinyl Christmas!

Yes, it's that time of the year.  On Sunday, December 21 the Vinyl Voyage will go all Christmas music all the time.  Until Saturday, December 28.

Relive your Christmas memories with great songs from Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Vikki Carr, and many, many more.  Remember those old Christmas compilation albums?  Yes, we have them. Compilations you could buy from Ace Hardware and True Value.  Christmas Memory compilations. These compilations featured great singers, plus orchestras such as Boston Pops, Robert Shaw Chorale, Henry Mancini and the Vienna Boys Choir.

This isn't the music you hear today too much on the radio.  No Mariah Carey here.  Or Wham!

Just pure Christmas memories.

Only on Vinyl Voyage Radio.

Merry Christmas!

Click here for the live feed.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

This Month on AiV--K-Tel's "Radio Active"

This month ion Adventures in Vinyl, we are going into the archives for a great episode from 2012. Here is the original article.

In 1982, K-Tel did it again with Radio Active. This album demonstrates one of the more endearing things about K-Tel albums: variety. On this album we have powerhouses like the Who and the Police with the Commodores and Rick James. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the whole concept of "shuffle" advocated by Apple with the introduction of the iPod in 2001 was a concept pioneered by K-Tel decades earlier.

When Apple announced the iPod, one of the selling points was to have access to a variety of different music at your fingertips. On October 23, 2001, Steve Jobs demonstrated the new iPod, featuring his own playlist and his ability to move between very different types of music. The songs on Steve Jobs' playlist? "Building a Mystery" by Sarah McLachlan, "Porcelain" by Moby, "Sweet Sixteen" by Chuck Berry, "One Week" by Bare Naked Ladies and "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan. Although you can't randomly shuffle an album, one of the iPod's primary functions is to deliver music, sometimes in a very eclectic way. K-Tel was doing that throughout the 70s and 80s.

And one needs to look no farther than Radio Active to see this in practice. Radio Active contains 14 songs from 1980-1981. The artists include REO Speedwagon, the Police, Blondie, Devo, the Moody Blues, Genesis, Rick James, the Commodores, Pat Benatar, Hall and Oates, Rick Springfield, Carl Carlton and the Who. Most of the album falls in the pop/rock genre. On side two of Radio Active, however, the very popular "No Reply at All" by Genesis is preceded by Rick James and his funky "Super Freak." Funk meets pop rock. Steve Jobs demonstrated this ability of the iPod in 2001. He showed how you can move from the Beatles to Yo-Yo Ma. The crowd oohed and aahed at this demonstration, apparently forgetting that you could get the same kind of eclecticism 20 years earlier by throwing a K-Tel album on the turntable.

Radio Active is a solid K-Tel album. It had only 14 songs and marks a time when the company was less inclined to edited the songs in order to fit more music on an LP. By the 80s, K-Tel was going more for quality rather than quantity, ditching its "20 Original Hits. 20 Original Songs." tagline. This month on Adventures in Vinyl, take an eclectic trip back to 1982 through the magic of K-Tel. Radio Active is the album of the month and we will play it in its entirety.

You can listen to Adventures in Vinyl  (all times Central):

12:30 pm Saturday
4 pm Sunday
1 pm Tuesday
2 am Wednesday
10 am Thursday

Adventures in Vinyl is an exclusive production of Vinyl Voyage Radio and the only radio show dedicated to the glory of the K-Tel record compilation.