Sonic Diet

Get To Know Your WMSE DJ – Shopkeeper Ken

WMSE loves free-form radio. Our format’s complete and genuine freedom allows our DJs to explore an insane number of genres — music without limitations! It’s a fact that each WMSE show has its own community within the larger, more inclusive WMSE community; diverse radio programming is rewarded with a loyal listenership like no other.

But because the WMSE DJs are only on the air for three hours each week, you the listener might not get to know them quite as well as you might like, so to give you all a bit more insight, we’re proud to introduce the Get To Know Your WMSE DJ series. Each WMSE DJ gets the same five questions, and just like our free-form format, they choose to answer however they want: short or long, intense or humorously…we ask, they answer, we post.

Sonic Diet will be posting a new addition to the series biweekly on Mondays and the first batch of WMSE DJs featured will be those whose show falls within the 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. show slots. Next up:

DJ: Shopkeeper Ken

Show Name: The Five & Dime Show

Day/Time: Thursday, 9am – noon


How do you spend your days and nights when not hosting your radio show?

I spend a lot of my time worrying. But I’m sure that’s not what you’re looking for. I work at Bullseye Records, so I spend a lot of my days/nights immersed in music…it’s a fairly good life. When I’m not behind the counter at Bullseye, I’m typically out looking for records at various locales in search of hidden gems to share with the listeners. My favorite thing to do is to hunt for records, so most of my free time is spent doing just that.

Do you remember what band, album or song took you from being a casual music listener to a passionate music lover? Is there a memory associated with that experience?

Very early in my childhood I had a favorite uncle who had hundreds and hundreds of records, and every time we would visit, I would spend most of my time in the basement bar area looking through them all…not listening, just looking. One that I specifically remember seeing was Small Change by Tom Waits. I remember REALLY liking that one  (do a Google image search if you are unfamiliar, then you’ll understand my fascination). Years later I remember picking up Franks Wild Years by Tom Waits on cassette, and thinking, “I know this name for some reason.”    That was my introduction to his music, and my reaction was, “This is the music I’ve wanted to hear my whole life.”   I’ve had that same reaction to several artists over the years, and that’s part of the reason why I’m constantly buying more music.

What band have you heard or discovered in the past six months that reminded you why you want to continue being a wmse DJ?

In my line of work, this happens almost on a weekly basis. Right now I’m super keen on the Digitalis record label. Nearly everything that comes out on the label is something that I want to share with the listeners.  Others off the top of my head include:  Shin Joong Hyun (recent compilation of his guitar work, he’s a session guy from South Korea, excellent psychedelic stuff with some rather funky moments as well);  anything on Sublime Frequencies (another favorite label of mine);  also nearly anything on the Mississippi Records label (out of Portland!);  local stuff as well. A new addition to the Milwaukee scene caught my attention recently, a group called Moss Folk, they have a couple EPs out right now, and are working on a new record that should be exciting.  But wait, there’s more —  a record I will be playing something off of this week is by a band called king Blood, the record is called Eyewash Silver…great blissed-out, dirty psych out of New York, like the Wooden Shjips, but much more raw. I could go on and on. That’s why I absolutely love being a DJ at WMSE, there seems to be an endless supply of new/reissued things to share with anyone willing to listen.

Who is your favorite non-you WMSE DJ and why? 

This is the toughest question to answer. I really wanted to differ from my peers and only answer with one person, but I’m finding that to be impossible. There are a few that I’m indebted to, as they were instrumental in my becoming a DJ here at the station. First and  foremost, Cosmo Cruz. He got me the time slot that I’m currently in. Then Dollar Bill, and lastly, Faux Eyes. When I was younger, I was sure that Faux Eyes was my cousin Mike, as they sound very much alike, and have the same sense of humor. Turned out not to be the case. Three is not enough, however.  I really like Tom Wanderer’s show…Paul Cebar is easily the best radio voice I’ve ever heard and does excellent work (who else is going to sing the weather to you?), and lastly, Dr. Fell. So many great shows on WMSE.  It comes as no surprise to me that we just turned thirty and are still going strong.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Comfortable. I want to be comfortable.


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This entry was published on October 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm. It’s filed under General, Get To Know Your WMSE DJ's and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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