With the recent retirement of Bruce “Mole” Mowat from CFMU-FM, Hamilton, Ontario, after three decades, I remembered that I had a show on CFMU in the late 1980’s (I’d guess 87-89, but I’m not sure). It was called “Inner Mystique Radio” (after the Inner Mystique magazine I ran in Oklahoma in the early 80’s and the Inner Mystique column I did for Chris Stigliano’s FUD/PHFUDD/BLACK TO COMM magazine for many years). As I remember, Bruce had a block of time on a weeknight (the flyer above says Thursday, so that must be it…at least for part of the run), and offered me an hour of it for my radio show, which I recorded in my basement in Catawba, Virginia, on cassette and then mailed to CFMU. I would often do them 2-3 at a time. They would get an original run and would later be re-run…and at least twice they were used when a sports game was rained out! Of course, this was circa 1987, so there was no internet streaming audio at that time. I never did hear them being broadcast directly…but I did hear them indirectly a number of times in a surreal situation I must describe for you. As these shows aired, people would call in to the CFMU studio and ask to talk to Bill, the host. Of course, Bill the host was not there, but Bruce or whoever was airing these would give the listeners (with my blessing) my home phone number, and I’d then get a phone call from a stranger in the CFMU listening area who was listening to my show. I would have no idea what show they were listening to, so I’d ask them “what’s on now” and that kind of thing, and eventually I’d halfway remember what show was on. I could also hear my show and often MY VOICE coming through the phone as someone was listening to me over the air in Ontario, Canada…and I’d be in rural Virginia talking to this person—-often an inebriated person—-and hearing myself in the background. There was something odd about that experience!
About 45-50 of these shows were recorded over a 2 year period. I was broke at that time, so I made no backup copies, just sent the original cassette tape to Hamilton. About 10-12 years ago, I was sent about 15 airchecks of these shows, but alas these airchecks were recorded in a manner that made the show run about 5-10% faster and thus higher-pitched, and I found them unlistenable.
What was played? Well, much of what you’d expect: then-rare (is anything from the 60’s “rare” anymore? The most obscure 45s and private pressing albums are now on someone’s MP3 blog or reissued on CD/vinyl) garage-psych singles and album tracks, obscure rockabilly, free jazz, blues, obscure soul and R&B singles, British beat, sound effects, junk-store lounge vinyl, avant-garde contemporary classical, etc. But I’d also throw in, say, a complete Eddie Condon jazz radio show from the 40s or an old-time-radio detective program such as “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.” I would also champion recent releases on labels such as Eva and Psycho (and later Breeder, if anyone remembers that! ) and Ace and Bear Family and Collector-White Label and the like. I also did two Christmas shows and played a number of things from b**tlegs. The earlier shows tended to be more focused and more oriented around garage-psych…the later shows were more diverse (I remember my son Eric, then 2 or 3, said “Hello, Canada” into the microphone on one of the shows) . I really enjoyed the shows and thank Bruce for the opportunity. That was my third and final go-round in the radio broadcasting world. I’ve appeared as a guest on some radio shows since then, but I’ve never done my own again. And that’s the story of Inner Mystique Radio.