Your Conductor

Former community host of The Outer Ring and The Great Lakes Cannonball

What’s your show about and when does it air? Thanks to my parents and the Flint School’s music programs of the 60s and 70s, I have a wide and varied musical background, so my taste in music is as wide and varied. I love it all!

On The Outer Ring, one may hear classic rock, hard rock, country rock, outlaw country, progressive rock, metal, alternative, indie, bluegrass, blues, soul, punk, funk, Americana, and very deep cuts of all sorts, from the dawn of rock-n-roll into the 21st century. The Great Lakes Cannonball features contemporary and traditional blues, plus some R&B, soul, blues rock and jazz. My shows (which are pre-recorded) aired on Friday, 9 pm-midnight and Sunday, 8 pm to 10 pm, respectively.

Is there a story behind your on-air name? In the past, I hosted two other WKUF shows– “The Butcher Shoppe” and “Anything Goes.” When I decided to return to the WKUF airwaves, I needed a new and different name and theme for the show. Knowing of my deep love for, and addiction to, science fiction, my brother and teacher Kensei recommended “The Outer Ring,” a reference to the asteroid belts beyond Mars. I loved the idea, and immediately adopted the persona of Your Conductor, leading a weekly voyage aboard a Bulldog Class Cruiser, out among the ice giants, asteroids, comets and spacecraft of the far reaches of the solar system, searching for the best music under the Sun, and the deepest cuts in deep space.

“The Great Lakes Cannonball” came fom the fact that so much of American blues originated with the African-American laborers that built much of our railroads, and many rode those rails north to find jobs. From a life on the railways came a whole tradition of both black and white railroad songs, and a new musical genre was born. Thanks again to Flint Schools and the comprehensive music education programs of the 60s and 70s, I learned to love the blues when I was just a kid, and the blues are my first love. Every week, Your Conductor welcomed listeners aboard The Great Lakes Cannonball to ride the rails through blues country.

How long were your shows on the air? The Outer Ring debuted on 10/15/21 and The Great Lakes Cannonball on 8/27/23. They both ended on 3/10/24.

What do you like to do in your spare time? “I am a lifelong fan of radio. As a kid, I loved tuning the AM radio bands at night, searching for stations I had not heard before. Then, I discovered the shortwave bands, and was forever enthralled. In those days, the SW bands were covered with stations, a smorgasbord of music and entertainment. Although there are far fewer international broadcasters on the air today, I still love to roam the bands. I am also a big fan of pirate broadcasters, and ardently search the HF (high frequency) bands for pirates. I am an electronics fan, especially vintage electronics. I am extremely fascinated by weak signal radio wave propagation. I am an amateur radio operator, holding a General Class license K8MPP. I love spending time on the bands, talking with other hams from across the planet, all over the airwaves. My home station is very modest, yet I am continually amazed and impressed with what I can accomplish. Anyone interested in learning more about amateur radio, feel free to contact me at Please mention “amateur radio” in the subject line.

Tell us about a funny incident that happened during your show.  My first WKUF show, “The Butcher Shoppe”, was a heavy metal show with a spotlight on local metal bands. We had bands in the studio nearly every Friday night for several years, sometimes as many as 4 bands in a single 3-hour show. That meant a constant parade of metal heads: camo, leather, long hair, long beards, lots of ink– my people– in and out of the studio. We drove Campus Safety bonkers! One particular show, a well-known and popular Detroit metal band drove up to WKUF for an appearance, and 2 of the members apparently decided to drink the entire way. Everything was great, until I brought up the mic levels. At that time, the bass player (of course) decided he was Lenny Bruce. Very funny guy, but monstrously vulgar. I had my finger on the censor button for all of the shortened interview. Listeners heard more beeps than words.

If you knew you were going to be stranded on a desert island, what are 10 of the songs you’d want with you?
In no particular order:

Rush- La Villa Strangiato
John Prine- Souvenirs
REO Speedwagon-Keep Pushin’
Dobie Gray-Drift Away
The Outlaws- Green Grass and High Tides
Elton John- Madman Across the Water
Aerosmith-Dream On
The Grateful Dead-Ripple
The Beatles-In My Life
Bob Dylan-Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts

What is one of your most memorable concert experiences? If I may… my most memorable concert experience actually happened the night before a concert. In July 2009, former Grand Funk RR guitarist Mark Farner and his American Band held a concert at Atwood Stadium. The night before the show, Mark joined my “Butcher Shoppe” co-host RT and I live in the WKUF studio, for the interview of my life. He sat with us for nearly 2 hours, talking about everything and anything. Life, music, local history, ecology, social issues, we discussed it all. We had set it up such that the interview audio was being piped into the BJ’s Lounge area, where about 3 dozen Kettering employees and students watched and listened. Some employees even brought their families. After the interview, Mark departed the studio, and walked right into the Lounge, where he approached and talked with every single person in the room. Nobody asked him– he just did it. Class act all the way around. I will never forget it.

Tell us something about yourself that people might find surprising. As a child, I took violin lessons.

In the movie “WKUF: The Untold Story”, who would you cast as yourself? Seth Rogen. He is a funny guy, we look a bit alike, and share many social and political beliefs.

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