Who doesn’t remember driving down Lakeshore Drive and jamming to the underground sounds of their nightly Streetbeat Show on 89.3FM? In my college years at Northwestern University, WNUR was my lifeline to everything electronica, and it has a team of DJs committed to playing the best in underground and underrepresented music on the radio.
WNUR needs your help! Tonight (Monday, February 21st) they are having a benefit to help keep non-commercial underground radio on the airwaves for another year. DJ Sangre and D-VO will be hosting and broadcasting live from the always awesome Chicago institution Smartbar with an impressive lineup that includes DJ Heather, Chris Santiago, Karl & Mark Almaria, Frankie J and DJ Sangre.
1) Can you introduce yourself to us and tell us a little bit about your Monday night shows on WNUR?
My name’s John but I go by the moniker of DJ Sangre (usually with a ridiculously long rolled ‘r’). I’ve hosted “The Fringe” every Monday night on 89.3 WNUR Streetbeat for the last six and a half years. My show is dedicated to the underground house music scene in Chicago, so I spin live house sets and play host to house DJs from around the city.
2) This benefit is to help keep WNUR going for another year. Do you mean just the dance music programming or is the actual station in danger?
The money goes to the whole station. WNUR is a non-commercial completely-volunteer underground-music-only radio station. As such we get some money from corporate sponsors, some from Northwestern University which owns the station, and most of it from listener donations. But unlike PBS or NPR, we only ask for donations one week out of the entire year. The night at Smartbar is part of our week-long annual fundraising drive. And, as an aside, the more money we raise for dance programming, the better we look when it comes time to divy up programming time for the next year…
3) What do you see are the listening interests of your audience at WNUR in general? What is the demographic of your listeners?
EVERYTHING. The funny part is most of the DJs I know who are from the area grew up listening to Streetbeat. And it was as true then as it is now that it seems like listeners are just happy to have underground dance on the radiowaves. Whether it’s house music on Mondays, dubstep on Thursdays, or techno on Fridays, people love to flip it on in their car and jam out.
4) Tell us a little bit about the party! The DJs, what each of their styles are like and what you hope to achieve by the end of the night? What is your monetary goal?
This year’s party is the culmination of four years producing what we’ve dubbed the “Chicago Jack Summit.” The first one was just an hour an a half, and it was just The Sound Republic (Frankie J and John Mork) doing a guest set in the radio studio. The next year we expanded it to include Santiago & Bushido, Chris Grant, Karl Almaria, and Bryan Jones. And the madness has just grown from there. Last year we had 11 DJs and broadcast the show for 5 hours! They all came by and donated their time to talk about what the radio station has meant to them and spun a kickass set in the process.
This year we wanted to take it to the next level, so we worked with Smartbar to organize a live broadcast from the club. It’s the first time I’ve ever attempted something like this, and I’m super terrified/excited. Our goal is double that of previous years ($2000), but now we can add to our listeners’ pledges with the $5 donations we’re collecting at the door. And we’ll have t-shirts available and are even raffling off an iPad! So I’m crossing my fingers we’ll be able to pull it off.
As far as the DJs go, we scaled back the number in favor of giving the DJs a little more set time since it’s a live gig–and they are all doing it completely pro-bono. Heather is back from last year and needs no introduction. She’s a veteran on the Smartbar decks, and we’re honored to have her. Santiago and his producing partner Bushido are well-known for their releases on Potty Mouth Music and tracks they’ve produced with folks like Green Velvet and Colette. Previously a resident at spots like Zentra and Smartbar, Santiago brings a throbbing, ass-kicking sound that will leave you wanting a change of pants. Karl & Mark Almaria are a legendary Chicago DJ duo. They’ve been on the scene for a couple of decades now. Mark, best known for headlining raves in the area and producing technically mindboggling mixtapes, has recently returned to the decks after a hiatus of several years. He and his brother are tagging for a meeting of two great house music minds. And finally, Frankie J is the one the started it all. He’s never missed a Jack Summit and even ponied up his own funds when we were short on donations. His dedication to this scene is unmatched, and his labels Spatula City and Flapjack Records consistently pump out chart-topping jackin’ and funky house hits.
5) Wanna say a little personal message to our readers out there?
Boom Boom Room is and always will be the best spot for house music on Mondays. But if you can tear yourself away for a couple of hours just this one Monday, I think you will be pleasantly surprised… and you’ll be supporting a good cause.
Tonight’s party is just a $5 donation to get in, and the entire show will be broadcast LIVE on 89.3 WNUR-FM and online at www.wnur.org. If you can’t make it in person, you can call in your donation while listening and get free stuff! Check out a list of 2011 WNUR premiums soon at www.wnur.org.
And as a special bonus, they will be raffling off an iPad to one of the lucky Smartbar guests.
Smartbar (3730 N. Clark, Chicago, IL)