There are too many recent program changes at Twin Cities community radio station KFAI to fit in our weekly print feature, so here are some highlights, hows, and whys of some upcoming switches.
Rocket Ship Ska Trip (Mondays, 8 a.m.): The first weekly show of KFAI’s new morning is a fittingly zany blast off. Host Elmar Romain has been a fixture on overnight shows heavy on ska, reggae, and dub. More recently he’s been a frequent prime-time sub host, displaying an encyclopedic world pop curiosity and off-the-wall willingness for vintage jazz or infectious novelties. He may need a couple back-up alarm clocks, but he’s worth a shot in a prime slot. The long-running Shake & Bake now follows at 10 a.m.
The New Jack Swing Beat Revue (Monday, 12 a.m): Technically speaking, the first show of the new schedule will be at the stroke of midnight, when throwback rhymin’ and good timin’ spinmaster Spider J. Hamilton OO now hosts The New Jack Swing Beat Revue. This totally unexpected offering is a sign that even retro dance pop has a place in KFAI’s new world.
Cruise Control (Tuesdays, 12 a.m.): In the same time slot on Tuesday, KFAI’s new all-purpose glue guy Mason Butler hosts the rare groove and smooth pop showcase Cruise Control. Both Cruise Control and New Jack Swing Beat Revue are relative new kids on the traditional midnight rock block.
Latino Alt ROCK! (Friday, 4 p.m.) & Corazon Latino (Fridays, 2 p.m.): Unfortunately, the program changes sometimes resemble musical chairs, or a mid-air collision. For instance: Directors believe – with some good reason -- that the jumpy Latino Alt ROCK! is a great fit for Friday afternoon, and recent encore performances of the luscious Corazon Latino prove it’s a great lead-in.
African Rhythms (Sundays, noon) & Surface Noise (Thursdays, 8 a.m.): Initially, the plan was for Louisiana Rhythms to move to Saturday afternoon and flip-flop with Caribbean Jam, but all parties balked. A fallback to Sunday was stymied because African Rhythms had split into two shows: Hosts Salif Kieta and Jojo Ndege will now be heard Sundays to kick-off a day of foreign language cultural affairs, and the old Thursday slot goes to Brad Wrolstad, who breaks off from the African Rhythms crew to host Surface Noise, "an international mix of rock, jazz, soul, reggae, afrobeat, and samba.’’ Final score: Latin America 2, Caribbean 1, Polyglots 1, southern Louisiana 0, but the departing hosts are taking their show -- and a devoted following -- on their own at www.louisianarhythms.com. Mo chagren, bon ami.
Foreign Currency (Fridays, 8 a.m.): The bouncy global groove of Foreign Currency moves from one hour on Sunday to two hours Friday. That should give informative and investigative host Paul Harding room to stretch. Fubar Omniverse follows at 10 a.m.
Jet Set Planet (Fridays, 8 p.m.), Crap from the Past (Fridays, 10 p.m.), & The Minnesota Sound (Sundays, 10:30 p.m.): Popular retro shows Jet Set Planet and Crap from the Past gain half an hour on Friday evening, but that crowded out local show The Minnesota Sound. Insiders were sad to see it move to Sunday, but if done well, a specialty show on area music should draw a following -- live or on demand -- wherever it’s booked.
Afrique Nomad (Tuesdays, 10 a.m.): I would not have predicted that metal music would nearly double its exposure in the new world, but overnight hours opened wide when Juhmondeh Tweh moved Afrique Nomad to Thursday mornings.
Root of All Evil (Sundays, 1 a.m.), Shadow Planet (Saturdays, 2 a.m.), & Roar of the Underground (Saturdays, 4 a.m.): Which brings us to the metal bonanza. Various members of Sunday overnight’s enduring Root of All Evil crew will branch out for two additional 2-hour shows on Saturday overnight: the women-focused Shadow Planet and the aptly titled Roar of the Underground. If, like me, you prefer your metal in the morning or midday, all KFAI shows are on 14-day archive at www.kfai.org.
And some things don't change, thankfully. The weekday afternoon shows stay much the same with a few time changes, but the weeknight world music strip and Saturday's all-day eclecticism remains as is. Details of current -- and inevitable future -- changes at www.kfai.org.