The Interwebs is an amazing entity. It’s a place where an abundance of good things (music, blogging, meeting like-minded people) and a smattering of bad things (viruses, malware) happen. One of the very best things that has happened to me is finding some exceptionally good people who have shared their friendship and knowledge of obscure music. I have spoken highly of David Marsden, cutting-edge Canadian DJ for over 40 years, and how much he and his show mean to me. Now, I’d like to take the time to feature another vital Canadian on-air personality I’ve had the great fortune of meeting.
Imagine a world “where the music doesn’t suck.” I actually heard those words spoken last night while listening to “Ed-FM” on a show called “Retrospect” streaming over the Internet from CFRC-FM, Kingston, Ontario. His real name is Ed Cooke, and he DJ’s a two-hour show filled with obscure 80’s vinyl treasures broadcast from Lower Carruthers Hall (the “Basement”) at Queens University. Ed has left comments on both my former blog and this one, leading to an invitation and a link to listen in. What a quality-packed two hours it was.
Just to give you an idea, here is the playlist from last night’s show:
1. New Musik – The World of Water
2. Chalk Circle – April Fool
3. Torch Song – Ode To Billy Joe
4. Nash the Slash – 1984 (12”)
5. Yello – Hawaiian Chance
6. Jona Lewie – Stop the Cavalry
7. Devo – That’s Good
8. Images in Vogue – Lust for Love
9. The Box – My Dreams of You
10. Gary Numan – I Can’t Stop
11. Flash in the Pan – Midnight Man
12. Vital Sines – Collage
13. Sex Pistols – Friggin’ in the Riggin’
14. Creatures – Fury Eyes
15. Psyche – Thundershowers
16. King Crimson – Sleepless
17. Martha and the Muffins – A Song in My Head
18. Pete Shelley – On Your Own (12”)
19. Crown of Thorns – Diamond Jim
Ed was kind enough to answer a few questions, giving much more insight into the personality and foundation of the “Retrospective Show.”
MissP: How long have you been doing this?
Ed: I have been doing the show now for 9 years and counting.
MissP: What gave you the inspiration to dj a two-hour music show?
Ed: I moved away from Toronto in 1990 and I was so fed up with the local radio stations. I worked near Queens University and during Frosh week they had a booth looking for volunteers – no experience necessary. I decided then I would put my money where my mouth was and start my own show.
MissP: What stations did you listen to growing up?
Ed: I grew up in Toronto, and like most I was listening to the standard rock shows at the time: Q107 and CHUM. I started working in the kitchen of a large downtown restaurant and the staff had this amazing radio station playing that I had never heard before. That began my love affair with The Spirit of Radio, CFNY.
MissP: Who are your on-the-air heroes?
Ed: Number one has to be David Marsden. It was his genius that started the Spirit of Radio and I am forever indebted. My next hero(s) were Pete & Geets.
MissP: What are some of your favorite bands?
Ed: My number one favorite has to be Yello, a close second is early Simple Minds, OMD, The Box, Art Of Noise, early U2, early New Order – the list could go on, but you get the picture.
MissP: What made you select this period of music?
Ed: I felt there were far too many artists that did not get fair airplay and I enjoyed sharing my love of that era.
MissP: How do you decide what to play?
Ed: I attempt to always find a few obscure or rare tracks for each show and keep them upbeat. I then look for a song to open with. Once that is established I actually “wing it”. I have enough requests, that in combination with the basic framework, I can easily build a show around those few tracks. I enjoy requests as I like the audience to be engaged.
MissP: What do you think the future of radio looks like?
Ed: That is a scary question; it seems that all the stations are owned by a select few. Those few are producing a very limited and generic playlist and taking no risks with new and interesting artists. I do hope I am wrong as I think that radio is important to society as a whole.
In addition, Ed has this to say as the description of his show at the station’s website:
Ahhhhh, the eighties! Who could forget big hair, leg warmers, Miami Vice and the Commodore 64 ruled. I never said everthing about the eighties was good! But, there was some damn fine music! The era of the 12″ single and 10 minute tracks were a staple at the clubs. At Retrospect we play the 12″ singles that never get air time. We also look for and play those obscure and rare gems. Join me every Tuesday from 8-10 pm for the best eighties show you will ever hear.
I want to thank Ed-FM for taking the time to share his thoughts and his love of obscure 80’s music. If you want a Tuesday night treat, be sure to tune in to the “Retrospect” show on CFRC-FM from 8-10 pm EST.