Sonic Diet

Get To Know Your WMSE DJ – Craig Mertes

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 biweekly series 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. Now up:

DJ: Craig Mertes

Show Name: The Shape of Rock

Day/Time: Tuesday, 6am – 9am

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

I spend my days wearing a tie, engineering communication systems in buildings. The rest of my free time is usually spent walking around Bay View and various southeastern Wisconsin state parks and forests with my wife and my dog. I also squeeze in time to play drums in Lisa Ridgely’s band or jamming with long friend of mine, Jim Strassburg (Former Legitimate Scientist & the Amateur Astronaut) as well as following the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers, listening to music and fiddling with my bikes.

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?

Ministry’s Psalm 69 triggered my descent into musical obsession. Growing up in a small town in south central Wisconsin I wasn’t exposed to much music outside of what was available on commercial radio and I don’t recall how I happened upon Ministry.  Ministry introduced me to raw emotion that I had never heard before in music.  I spent hours listening to and memorizing Psalm 69. My fascination with Ministry and copies of RIP Magazine available at the local IGA, where I worked while in high school, opened the door to other bands such as Sepultura, Primus and Clutch. After my future wife, Meredith, and I started dating, she gave me a mix tape (yes, a real cassette mix tape) that opened up to all sorts of new music including Jon Spencer, Elliott Smith, the Beastie Boys, the Pixes, Modest Mouse, Jurassic Five, Sleater-Kinney, Sonic Youth, A Tribe Called Quest and more that created the foundation for my present musical leanings that you hear on the Shape of Rock today.

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

The vocal samples and looping on Yellow Ostrich’s Mistress has been fascinating me lately. I happened across Yellow Ostrich while digging through the WMSE library one morning. Perusing the library for interesting music has been a fantastic means for finding new artists and albums. Tom Waits’ latest album, Bad As Me, is also amazing.  “Hell Broke Luce” may be one of his best songs ever, unfortunately you probably won’t hear it on WMSE or any other radio station anytime soon.

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

Each and every one of WMSE’s DJ’s is brilliant and amazing at what they do.  However, Buzz’s Garage is my favorite show on WMSE. I love Buzz’s combination of punk rock and garage, although Andy is doing a very nice job of filling the Friday noon slot. Von Munz has also been inspiring and rocking my ears off every Tuesday morning before I take the air.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Radio has always been a big part of my life; from listening to old time radio shows on Wisconsin Public Radio to keeping up with recent events to spending hours upon hours listening to Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers games.  I would have to say it would be a dream of mine to be a baseball radio play-by-play announcer. Is it coincidence that Cory Provus just took a job with the Twins?  I’ve been a life long, die-hard Cubs fan, which is inherited from my grandfather (and predates professional baseball in Milwaukee) but growing up in Wisconsin and living in Milwaukee I can’t help but root for the Brewers as well.


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This entry was published on November 15, 2011 at 9:24 pm. It’s filed under 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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