This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Throughout its 28-year history, KRCL (90.9 FM) has served up its weekday programming in diverse musical segments. Depending on the day and the hour, listeners have heard distinct programs of '70s funk, Delta blues, coffeehouse folk, indie rock or music by women.
All that changed at 6 a.m. today, when the Salt Lake City community-radio station launched a revised format. Instead of separate shows for different musical genres, listeners from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. will hear one consistent stream of eclectic music - from rock, soul and blues to country, hip-hop and beyond.
"This programming is really about the idea of moving beyond genres," says KRCL program director Ryan Tronier. "The iPod has busted those walls down."
KRCL management decided to revamp its weekday on-air lineup after the Corporation for Public Broadcasting threatened to withhold funding if the nonprofit station didn't improve its modest listenership, which has sagged in recent years. The change has been controversial. When KRCL announced in January that it would replace 18 volunteer on-air hosts with three paid disc jockeys, angry listeners vowed to stop giving money and Internet postings railed against KRCL's perceived "corporate makeover."
That furor has since died down. And those paid deejays - Ebay Hamilton, David Perschon and Brad Wheeler - start their new shifts this week. The three, hired from a pool of 39 applicants, all are former KRCL volunteers. For their 30 hours a week, they will be paid less than $27,000 ($33,000 for Hamilton, who works full-time and doubles as KRCL's music director).
All three have long backgrounds as musicians or deejays, and all say they are passionate about music. Meet KRCL's new on-air weekday hosts:
David Perschon, 6 to 10 a.m. To say Perschon is a music nut is an understatement. He owns more than 5,000 CDs and another 3,000 pieces of vinyl in almost every conceivable genre. The Salt Lake City native traces his love of music to his grandfather, who exposed Perschon as a boy to big-band records by Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller. "He'd teach me what rhythm was and how to tap your toe to it."
As a teenager, Perschon landed his first radio gig at an AM station in Magna, playing oldies records from midnight to 3 a.m. Later he began spinning music at parties and weddings. In 2006 Perschon joined KRCL as a deejay; because of his broad knowledge of music, he soon gained a rep for being able to substitute for almost any on-air host.
"I don't pigeonhole myself. I love being able to mix it up," says Perschon, 39, whose "Friday Breakfast Jam" show has incorporated everything from Billie Holiday to The Flaming Lips. "I pride myself on my segues - being able to go from world to indie rock to jazz and have it all flow."
Ebay Jamil Hamilton, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At 30, Hamilton is the youngest of KRCL's new daily trio. But he's been on the air at the station since 1993, when he was 14. Back then, he played a mix of Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire and early-'90s rap and hip-hop. The show was on before dawn, but it made Hamilton - a shy kid born to biracial parents - feel self-conscious.
"I was still a kid, so I was worried about what my friends at school would say," says Hamilton, who now mentors troubled Salt Lake City youths.
Over time Ebay (yes, pronounced like the Web site) became KRCL's go-to guy for urban music, hosting shows like "Rhythm Kitchen" and "Rap Attack." In recent years he has spun discs on weekends at U92, Utah's only hip-hop station.
Thanks in part to his mother, who enrolled him in piano and trombone lessons as a child, Hamilton also is an accomplished musician. His solo debut, "The Sugarhouse Chronicles," was a pioneering album for Utah's emerging hip-hop community. Later he released records with Real Eyes, a jazz-influenced collective, and Ebay Jamil's Modern Sol Movement, which won him a 2005 Slammy award for best Utah soul artist. A seasoned live performer, Hamilton has opened for such big-name touring acts as the Black-Eyed Peas.
"Bad" Brad Wheeler, 2 to 6 p.m. Wheeler wasn't born with a harmonica in his mouth - it just seems that way. He picked up the instrument for the first time at 18, when a friend dared him to jam with a band at a party. The Ogden native sounded so natural that people told him afterwards, "I didn't know you could play the harmonica."
Instantly hooked, Wheeler played in blues-rock bands throughout his years at Weber State University. He has taught music, and handed out free harmonicas, to more than 15,000 Utah schoolchildren through a "Blues in the Schools" program. And two years ago he gathered 1,200 people in an Ogden baseball stadium in an unsuccessful attempt to break the world record for the largest harmonica ensemble.
A lanky guy with an ever-present cap, Wheeler also plays in the Legendary Porch Pounders, an acoustic blues duo that represented Utah at the South by Southwest music festival and played 330 gigs last year alone.
For the past two years, Wheeler, 36, has hosted the popular "Roots 'n' Blues" show on KRCL. He never imagined his radio career would last this long.
"I didn't think I could go an hour and a half without swearing," he says. "I thought they'd have to take me off the air."
We asked KRCL's three new paid deejays to give us their "Desert Island Discs" - 10 albums or songs they'd want with them if they were stranded on a, well, you know. Here's what they came up with. (They cheated a little.)
Ebay Jamil Hamilton:
* Stevie Wonder - "Talking Book"/"Music Of My Mind"/ "Innervisions"
* Donny Hathaway - "Extensions Of A Man"
* Nick Drake - "Pink Moon"
* Bob Marley - "Catch A Fire"
* A Tribe Called Quest - "Peoples' Instinctive Travels & The Paths Of Rhythm"
* Charles Mingus - "Mingus, Mingus, Mingus"/"Mingus Ah Um"
* Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - any of the albums they did together
* Gil Scott Heron - "Winter In America"/"Pieces Of A Man"
* John Martyn - "Solid Air"/"Bless The Weather"
* Jeff Buckley - "Grace"
* Bob Dylan - "Blood On The Tracks"/"Blonde On Blonde" (sorry, tie)
* Miles Davis - "Kind of Blue"
* Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - "Ella and Louie"
* Massive Attack - "Mezzanine"
* Radiohead - "OK Computer"
* Bach/Janos Starker - "Suites for Unaccompanied Cello"
* Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate - "In the Heart of the Moon"
* Bob Marley and the Wailers - "Babylon By Bus"
* Neil Finn - "Try Whistling This"
* Nina Simone - "Anthology"
* U2 - "The Joshua Tree"
* The Rolling Stones - "Let It Bleed"
"Bad" Brad Wheeler
* John Mayall - "The Turning Point"
* The Rolling Stones - "Beggars Banquet"
* R.L. Burnside - "Ass Pocket of Whiskey"
* Albert Collins - "Trucking"
* Ike & Tina Turner - "Nutbush City Limits"
* AC/DC - "TNT"
* Chuck Berry - Chuck Berry is On Top"
* King Khan & BBQ - "What's For Dinner"
* Sandy Bull - "Fantasias for Guitar & Banjo"
* The Ventures - "Live in Japan"
* Don Ho - "Tiny Bubbles"