Name: Jonathan Price
Show: Tenor to Tabla
When?: Wednesdays, 8–10 p.m.
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Price hosts the show Tenor to Tabla on Wednesdays, from 8–10 p.m. He started DJing in the ’90s at Northwestern University’s WNUR with a show called The Lonesome Hobo Show. In 2004, his demo CD for a new show in Asheville started with a tenor sax piece and ended with a tabla piece. That’s how the show got its name, although over time, it has become more of a reference to his interest in jazz, international music, and everything in between. (You’ll hear the tabla featured in his intro theme music by a group called Baroque Jazz Trio.) Jonathan moved to Asheville from Evanston, Illinois in 2000, and started with Asheville FM when it launched in 2009.
Q: How do you like to keep the show fresh? How has it evolved over the years?
Jonathan Price: I don’t know if I *do* keep the show fresh, but I *try* to keep it fresh just by remaining open minded about all musical genres. I would say that the show has evolved a bit in terms of the fact that when it started—probably due to me not having much experience with freeform radio—I was somewhat defining it as a “jazz” show (with perhaps occasional and slight detours into other fairly non-threatening realms). Whereas for the last several years, I’ve been defining it as a freeform show (with perhaps only occasional and slight detours into jazz). Also, I frequently used to hyper-plan my sets and shows, and I’ve taken a much more spontaneous and improvisational approach to playlist construction in recent years.
Q: Asheville FM’s freeform programming is a format in which the DJ is given total control over what music to play, regardless of music genre or commercial interests. What are some advantages to working within this less strict framework?
JP: Freeform radio is the ultimate ear candy fantasy land for open-minded music nuts. If your record collection or your iPod or your mixtapes of yesteryear contain indie rock, hip hop, doo wop, sunshine pop and prog all peacefully coexisting, shouldn’t your radio show also be an accurate representation of your eclectic musical taste?
Q: What is your favorite part about being involved with community radio?
JP: Listening to and learning from my fellow freeform DJs.
Q: What genres do you play? What are some tracks that encapsulate the range of music that you play?
JP: Any genre is fair game, but some get more play than others. Preferred zones include: experimental, international, jazz/improv, psychedelic, invented instruments, gospel, old school hip-hop. One time a few years ago, I segued from a piece of mouth organ music from Laos into the song “Chest Fever” by The Band — not because my show is a rock show or a world music show, but rather because it struck me that the Laotian mouth organ would sound perfectly seamless juxtaposed with the organ intro of “Chest Fever.” I think of moments like that as freeform magic. That’s just one example of some tracks that encapsulate the range of music featured on my show.
Q: What do you enjoy most about DJing?
JP: Moments during a live radio show where the playlist unfolds in a surprising manner and things just click. Since I rarely plot out my playlists in advance, there are a lot of opportunities for such moments to materialize. Of course, this also provides plenty of opportunities to make a bad segue or a choose a song that kills the flow of your set. It’s a balance of risk and reward.
Q: All DJs at Asheville FM also have to volunteer a few hours every month to keep the station working. As the jazz genre director for the music department, what do you do?
JP: Develop and maintain relationships with artists and record labels that release jazz and improv-related music, frequently from overseas. Review new discs and add them to the station library. My taste in “jazz” veers left of center, so sometimes my contributions have some crossover with the wonderful work of Dogeye, who is experimental genre director as well as host of Melody In Mayhem.
Q: As part of your life outside the radio station, you have a baking business. Tell us about that.
JP: It is called Crust Never Sleeps. I make bagels, bialys, pretzels and breads, which can be purchased directly from me at local tailgate markets. I also offer delivery and catering.
Q: Anything special that you’d like for your listeners to know about you?
JP: I have a face for radio.