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The best Charlotte-area radio station you’ve probably never heard of

My music tastes could be best described as eclectic, all-encompassing, multi-genre or sweeping. When I tell people that a radio station is my main source to find new music, the reactions range from puzzled looks to “What’s a radio?” But it’s true.

There is a bright, shining undiscovered gem for music in the Charlotte area on the radio with no commercials – WSGE 91.7 FM.

WSGE has been providing a wide range of music to the Charlotte area with 7,500 watts from the campus of Gaston College in Dallas for 35 years. That’s before Pandora, Spotify, and even Napster. For those that never use a radio, they also offer streaming on their website — www.wsge.org — or through the Public Radio Player app.

I recently decided to check out the WSGE studios, tour the facility, and chat with Cathis Hall (station manager), Tim Greene (assistant program/music director), and Jason Taylor (production director).

WSGE Studio

I was impressed right off the bat: Bob Dylan was playing as I entered the studio.

So, if you are a music aficionado like me, here are 6 reasons why you should start listening to WSGE 91.7 FM:

(1) You will hear music on WSGE first before just about any other source

“I have listeners that tune in to hear new artists or new releases often and then go and download onto their device,” said Taylor, who doubles as a volunteer DJ.

I don’t think there’s a better source for local and regional music than WSGE. Independent Artist Spotlight runs the first and third Friday of the month.

(2) It plays a wide range of music.

WSGE plays indie rock, pop rock, alternative rock, alternative country, jazz, folk, Americana, gospel, funk, world music, beach/shag and blues. All in one place on the radio dial (or app or stream).

(3) There are various genre-specific programs offered.

WSGE’s program schedule is a veritable jigsaw puzzle of diverse music genres, plus NPR Morning Edition for the early risers.

WSGESchedule

I listen to Rock, Rhythm & Blues every weekday, all day. I also dig Highway 321 Blues.

(4) No commercials.

Just want to make sure I emphasize that there are no commercials. Just music.

(5) You can be a DJ.

That’s right. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer DJ at WSGE, they will train you (four week class, two nights per week), help you make an audition tape and get you on the air.

“We need volunteer DJs right now,” Hall said. “I know they are out there somewhere.”

(6) WSGE promotes nonprofit organizations for free.

WSGE will provide free public service announcements for any nonprofit in the Charlotte metro area. Additionally, WSGE is always looking to sponsor events from nonprofit organizations. The station is currently collecting “Socks for Seniors” for residents in area nursing homes.

Give it a listen for a few weeks. I guarantee you will be hooked and expand your musical horizons.

I am seriously considering signing up for that DJ class. Oh yeah.

Photos: Greg Kurts

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