Muskegon – Vinyl is back. In an age where techno digital is the latest and greatest means of listening to music, the good old round vinyl recording disc has made a huge comeback. And no one knows that any better than Travis Dodge, radio personality for Muskegon’s 100.9 FM.
Dodge and his crew, which consist of Darby Splash and DJ Schultzie host the station’s all live “Port City Sound” vinyl radio show on Wednesday nights from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The radio show came about by chance according to Dodge.
“I was invited by Mitch of “Black Circle Radio” to guest DJ one evening and the next day the owner of the station got ahold of me and we talked about doing a show. I enjoyed radio so I was willing to play anything, but he encouraged me to play what I want and how I wanted to. So we decided on an all vinyl show focusing on extreme genres of music, metal, punk, dub and hip hop. We will work in jazz sometime soon, too.”
Dodge said there are reasons why the vinyl media has regained its popularity. “I think the renewed interest in vinyl has been spurred by people wanting something physical, some form of media that they can hold and touch,” he said. “Certainly digital audio has its place and convenience, but there is something very focused and intentional of sitting down, putting a record on, and giving it a listen. You familiarize yourself a bit more with track listing as you discover which songs are on which side. In a world where we always seem to be consuming something, vinyl feels special somehow. It certainly is different to many people.”
But for Dodge, there has never been a renewed interest. There has always been an interest. “During the lowest point of vinyl in the 90’s there were still punks and techno kids getting records pressed,” he added. “And I have been into punk as long as I can remember, so I always remember buying and listening to records almost as long as I can remember going to concerts on my own.”
So what makes a vinyl record a great record? Dodge said a lot has to do with the record production and its jacket. “A great sounding record will be pressed on a heavier plastic, something like 180 gram,” he said. “And a great record will have great art and a well thought out layout. I love the way Relapse records did the Neurosis reissue records in 2016. They all sound great and have amazing heavy duty sleeves with a unique layout.”
Dodge likes the interaction he has with the show listeners. “We have a small but mighty contingent of listeners who call in and tune in every week,” he said. “Some of them are bands practicing on a Wednesday, some folks get together to listen to the show, and some people use it in their cars while they are doing Lyft. We have listeners from Grand Rapids, Lansing, and all over Muskegon.”
The whole “vinyl spinning” process for his listening audience has been interesting and rewarding for Dodge. “When you are running an automated digital show things are easier, kind of like the joy of driving manual versus automatic transmission,” he added. “With spinning records you have to worry about cueing up records, getting the right song, doing a little bit of prep for the show and getting continuity down. Spinning vinyl is a bit more involved and I really like the process of hunting down records to play.
Alas, will vinyl be like all good things and come to an end? Maybe. “Just like any trend it will top out and then find its decline,” Dodge said. At the end of the day there are those folks who have always and will always buy records. Especially in hip hop communities where vinyl will always be there, punk, metal, and techno as well. So it will start to level out, but then the same people who were buying before the trend will be left still buying and enjoying.”
For more information visit www.facebook.com/PortCitySoundRadio/?ref=br_rs and tune in to Muskegon’s 100.9 FM or www.MuskegonRadio.com on Wednesday evenings from 7:30pm – 9:30pm to listen to the only FM Station in West Michigan that plays vinyl.
Port City Sound is Sponsored by: 51 Tattoo