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Show celebrates release of CMU radio station CD

| Friday, Oct. 31, 2003

If you've mostly given up on radio as a source for good new music, you're not alone. Overall radio listenership has been in steady decline for many years now. Massive media consolidation and the resulting rigid formats and lowest-common-denominator programming have given rise to the blandest of the bland -- and people are simply tuning out.

But way, way down in the low numbers on the dial, there's still some life left. WRCT (88.3 FM), broadcasting from Carnegie Mellon's campus, is a true free-format station with serious range -- it comes in clear in Cranberry. The latest in underground hip-hop, trance, indie rock and experimental jazz rubs shoulders with classic album cuts. Some shows, such as alternative country mainstay "Fear and Whiskey," have been on for years. Others are as new as the latest crop of freshmen.

It's also fallen to WRCT to document the local scene, playing all of the great home-brewed bands -- yes, there are some -- that don't get the big bucks, but tour, party and shape the sound of the city. The station is releasing its second compilation of Pittsburgh's best music, a double disc titled "Advanced Calculus."

It includes funk-soul instrumentalists The New Alcindors, the shimmering indie-guitar bliss of Life in Bed, the lo-fi garage punk freakouts of The Modey Lemon, the new-school battle raps of Strict Flow, the precise post-rock of Mihaly, and many more, all recorded live at the station.

WRCT is celebrating the release with a show Saturday night at CMU, featuring the return of a reconstituted Don Caballero -- easily the most influential band ever to come out of Pittsburgh's rock underground. Supporting acts include The Modey Lemon, Creta Bourzia and Wesafari. The show starts at 5 p.m. at the Drill Deck at the Old Student Center at the university. Tickets are $10.

Details: www.advcalc.com .

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