By Ross Currie
Whether you’re in your car, your living room, or just finishing up the last few hours of your workweek, as soon as Friday rolls around, you can expect the concert to come to you on Basement Closet Sessions. CFUV’s live-performance radio show which airs every Friday from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
The concept of having live music on the radio may sound simple. For it to be pulled off effectively, it takes knowledge and a commitment to the finished product. As far as production goes, the standard procedures for setting up a band are included. Dealing with a mess of cables, microphones, pedals, amplifiers and musical instruments is all part of it. Not to mention, the recording and technical side; proper volume levels, frequencies, etc. And the most important part of all, making sure a band sounds good.
Which is something that the show’s producer Johnnie Regalado takes pride in. “The mixing and recording is really important. And I think it’s the strongest element of the show. The bands are always really impressed with the quality of the recording we’re able to put together in just a couple of hours.”
The Basement Closet Sessions came out of the ashes of CFUV’s previous live-performance radio show Back Alley Jams on Sunday afternoons, hosted by Ali Lopez. Once the program left the airwaves, program director Johnnie Regalado started the show as a test run to see if enough bands were interested in performing. Which didn’t seem to be a problem once the program took off. “There hasn’t been a moment yet where we haven’t had at least two or three weeks worth of bands booked in advance,” says Regalado. “We’re happy with the response the show has been getting.”
With all the support from local musicians and artists, the show has gained popularity just from word of mouth. This has allowed the station a platform for promoting regional talent, as well as gaining listenership at the same time.
“I think it’s a really cool show for the station to have, because every time a new band comes in they bring a whole new audience to the station. It’s been very self-sustaining,” says Regalado.
The show is split up into segments; with the first half-hour dedicated to live performance, while the second half is comprised of an interview with the week’s performers. Giving listeners a chance to hear first hand from the artists themselves. And allowing the artists to promote any upcoming gigs, and most importantly, play their music.
Immediately after the broadcast, the live recording is uploaded on SoundCloud, where episodes can be streamed or downloaded on demand. A small crew of volunteers is in charge of video production. Letting fans view the performances on Vimeo shortly after they’ve played. “In the span of two hours we’re creating a recording for a band, as well as a music video, and doing all the production for that,” says Regalado.
With the amount of preparation and planning that goes into the hour-long time slot, the show wouldn’t be possible without the help of volunteers and support from the community. Which is something the producer of the show can’t stress enough.
“Although I might be the producer for the show, without the kind of community values that CFUV has for all its radio, it wouldn’t be able to exist,” says Regalado. “I kind of steer the ship for the show, but there’s so many people involved in it that I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”
This dedication to quality from volunteers and the community is something that allows the show to stand on its own, giving listeners in Victoria and the world a chance to experience “live-performance” radio at the grassroots. If you want to hear music that’s live, local and uninterrupted be sure to tune into the Basement Closet sessions every Friday at 3:00PM.