It’s probably no secret to anyone on here, that I also moonlight as a radio DJ for Halloween, with my online radio channel Halloween Listening Party on FOTW Radio. I’ve been running the channel since 2015, after a group of workfriends tuned in for a one-night broadcast to hear me spinning some spooky tunes. During this time, it has grown from one night – to one week – to three weeks – to a full month, and finally, a few years ago, I left it to keep running after Halloween, and seeing if anyone would still find it during the off-season, turning it into a 365-day station.
But I had actually always wanted to set up an internet radio station going back to the early 2000s. I was buying computer magazines to try and work out what equipment I would need to run one. I envisioned having a huge tower of a computer, running a constant stream from an office room somewhere. My original idea would be that I could make lots of documentaries about movie composers, as well as play some of the over-ambitious audio stories I had planned in my head. But I also imagined all of my friends at that time providing me with playlists, and making up shows based on their recommendations, with one friend an expert in ambient music, and another in experimental music, bringing it all together on what I was first going to call ‘Fog of the World’ Radio. Instead, I’ve used the acronym FOTW, which a listener recently asked me about!
As it turns out, during last Halloween, I started to get a group of listeners from Japan, who wanted to hear the spooky j-pop songs of their favourite band ARASHI. It started with just one request from a listener, and one tweet by me to let her know that I was going to play it. Then I got to watch a snowball start to roll down a hill, getting bigger and bigger with each day, as new listeners, mainly from Japan, found this particular time slot, and more song requests started flowing in. I was absolutely amazed to see this happening. Everything that I had dreamt about the station being interactive with ‘the community’ i.e., the listeners, was coming to life.
When Halloween finished, I thought about pulling back from this hour, but I could see that some people were still listening, and so I thought it was worth to keep it going. I played a few tracks by Enya, and I could see that the listeners enjoyed this, so I started programming in more non-Halloween music that I liked, as well as the listeners asking for non-Japanese songs that they also liked. The show became a blend of Japanese and Western pop music!
I began to see that this was partly originally what I had dreamt of for an internet radio station; a real mix of music, with a special focus on spooky music for Halloween. But over this last few months, I’ve felt its shoulders broadening a little bit, with this special time slot, and I’ve been trying to respond a little bit to what listeners ask for, as well as trying to balance it with my original dedication to spooky and off-beat music.
Anyway, about three weeks ago, I noticed that I had been playing a handful of Turkish songs, or songs by musicians with a Turkish connection, and I wrote to one to let them know that the listeners had been really enjoying their song ‘Se Va, Se Va’ which had originally been sent to me as a promo. Although the duo are based in Berlin, one member Tuğçe is originally from Turkey, which I’d thought because of the diacritics on his name.
Anyway, after getting an email back from Tuğçe, I had been thinking already that I could maybe put together a show that would somehow be a fundraiser for the Turkish and Syrian earthquake. Although I have never been to Turkey, I live in an area with many Turkish people in Sydney, and my parents travelled through Turkey in the 1970s, and have told me lots of stories about that trip.
Also, during lockdown, I was listening heavily to an album called Yol by Altin Gün who are a band from the Netherlands, with Turkish members, and who play traditional Turkish songs with a psychedelic sound. This album really made a dark time feel positive, as I was listening to it in the garage where I do most of my work.
So I thought that I could maybe put together a special show as a fundraiser for the Red Cross, playing all of this music, as well as the normal J-pop, 80s and Italo disco songs that I play during this daily time-slot.
If you’d like to listen, it’s on this coming Good Friday (7th April)
• Sydney 5-7 pm
• Japan 4-6 pm
• Turkey/Syria 10am -12 pm
You can listen through the website halloweenlisteningparty.com
And if you open up a tab in Twitter, you can follow the discussion about songs.
And finally, if you’d like to make a small donation, you can through the Red Cross page set up for the event: https://fundraise.redcross.org.au/fundraiser/fotwradio