Airing on Weekend America, “The Art of the Mix” is look back at the CD Clubs we launched a year ago with Weekend America listeners. The piece focusses on members of one of the clubs, the Penguins. After spending a year together sharing music by mail, members of the Penguins meet each other for the first time on the air, introduced by Weekend America host, Bill Radke.
On August 27, 2005, Weekend America aired a piece I produced called “Pass the CD,” a portrait of a New York City CD Club called the Bobcats. The idea behind CD clubs is simple: 12 people get together, each gets a month. When it’s your month, you make a mix CD, give it a nice cover, burn 11 copies and snailmail them out. The piece ended with Bill Radke issuing an open invitation to listeners: “To join Gideon D’Arcangelo’s new CD club, visit our website and send an email to him. The first eleven to respond are in the club…”
Over two hundred emails came in. I decided to launch two clubs, each with a dozen listeners plus me. We called our clubs the Penguins and the Owls. For the rest, I emailed each of them back, told them the clubs were full, but if they wanted, I’d give them the email of 11 other listeners and they could organize their own club. Over a hundred people responded positively to this one. In the end, nine clubs were launched. The first CDs started to flow in October 2005. As of this writing, all nine clubs are going strong:
THE PENGUINS – http://thepenguins.blogspot.com – The Penguins are twelve Weekend America listeners from North and South Carolina, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Minnesota, California, Washington, Arizona, Oregon and me in New York. The Penguins April 2006 mix, compiled by Reid Bannecker of Seattle, starts out with the following tracks:
Track 1 – “…intro (much more exciting than email)” – Bogaev/Radke
Track 2 – “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” — Bob Dylan
Track 3 – “I Threw It All Away” – Yo La Tengo…
Reid includes a link to the WA website in his extensive liner notes on the Penguins blog.
THE OWLS – http://the-owls.blogspot.com. The Owls are twelve WA listeners from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Missouri, Indiana, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Arizona and me in New York. Mark Bouffard’s February mix, “Second Time Around” – which featured all cover versions of songs, prompted this comment on the blog from fellow Owl Sarah Israelit:
“i LOVE LOVE LOVE this disk. perhaps i date myself by confessing me deep affection for john denver’s music…”
GIDEON’S 13 – http://gid-13.blogspot.com/ – This is the first club to set up a blog – after I heard about this from them, I set up blogs for the Penguins and the Owls. On their blog, they keep a permalink to the Weekend America website page that launched their club:
“The catalyst that brought us together” – http://weekendamerica.publicradio.org/programs/2005/08/27/bobcat.html
MIXMOO – http://mix-moo.blogspot.com/ - This club apparently launched a satellite club called MIXMOO TOO for their friends that were envious when they heard about the club.
THE GECKOS – http://geckogroup.blogspot.com/
24 EARS – (no blog) This club has been very active. I keep up a correspondence with one of its more active members, Jamie Barth of Boston.
The other three active clubs occasionally send me a CD or an email update. These clubs have not given themselves a name or set up a blog.