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Deep Crate Radio 

The curators of Second Wind bring musical knowledge that's second to none.

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When you talk to people who are involved at KUAA 99.9 FM, there's a steady stream of internal compliments aimed at a three-hour block on Thursday night. That's when, from 7-10 p.m., a couple of smarties—Jon Christiansen and Justin Burch—hold down the micro-station's 100-watts. They deliver a show that's equal parts educational and entertaining.

While the term "educational" might be an off-putting one for your average radio listener, folks seeking out a show like Second Wind are going to be just fine with some lengthy interstitial breaks. During those breaks, the pair chop up the set that's just played, giving deep background on some deep cuts.

They do so with a certain sense of organization. On the first Thursday of the month, the pair focuses on the best releases of the past month. On the third Thursday, they deep dive into the releases of a specific record label. On the other two weeks of the month, they put together a free-form style of program that bounces around a variety of different sounds, though even those are roughed-in by conversations the pair have over the course of the week.

Burch says that "we're both fairly-omnivorous listeners and curators. And we have our own specialties, you know? In the most-simple sense, I would say that Jon is the rock guy and I'm the jazz guy, I guess. But! We both love all of it."

And by "all of it" Burch means all of the music that's been recorded and released, anything being fair game for their expansive, adventurous playlists. For example, Burch sketched out a years-long love affair with West African music, which he's been collecting en masse for a bit now. In talking about this, he delves into not just music per se, but sidebars into conversations about colonialism, the record industry and other adjacent topics. On-air, the pair do this routinely, bouncing an idea one way, then following it the other way. Eventually, they'll collectively consider the conversation covered. And then another long song begins.

Their easy-going rapport has been on display at KUAA for more than three years. But the pair have known each other for well over a decade, as both worked at the original home of Graywhale Entertainment. Burch is at the Taylorsville shop full-time, while Christiansen fills-in occasionally.

Burch seamlessly ties together his day job and his weekly volunteer gig when saying that "we want the show to be positive and inviting without any keeping of gates. And we try to avoid pretension as much as we can, you know?" That said, he knows what people like, as "I still work at Graywhale, have for 10 or 11 years now. Every day I see people I know and I like, and I can curate to those people's tastes in a smart, targeted manner."

It's not bragging if it's true. The hosts of Second Wind know they have a rapt audience, one that's full of crate digger-types. And they'll challenge you in a good way if you consider yourself part of that self-selecting group.

"Our pithy, two-word description," Burch says, "is 'intersectional psychedelic.' That's from the beginning, when we were forced to make up a description."

To which Christiansen adds, "we're coming from all angles and we play stuff from anywhere. We're not bound by borders. It still has some sort of vibe with psychedelia and jazz and, in a way, those are the main points of reference we come back to."

Another way to say this: Second Wind is a world-class radio show with world-wide reach.

Over the next month, we'll introduce you to the other volunteer DJs at KUAA (kuaafm.org). Check our Buzz Blog at cityweekly.net for those throughout May and June.

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About The Author

Thomas Crone

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