Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Halloween is finally here!  We've had a month long countdown on the blog, played lots of Halloween music, ran through all the Judson Fountain we could find, and unleashed an entire morning of Cramps and Lux Interior's Purple KNIF show on your.  Season well celebrated, I say!

If there's one thing that I love about Halloween, it's the fact that you can find a great Horror movie anywhere, and even the bad ones you find are still pretty fun.  When I was a kid I was TERRIFIED by The Omen 2 on HBO at my friend Ryan's house. I had my face buried in a pillow for most of it, because it was just too intense for me.  To this day I refuse to skate on lakes because of what I saw in that movie.  The scars run deep.

I made up for lost time over the years, though.  My discovery of the world of cult movies led me to Herschell Gordon Lewis, and then I went even deeper into the world of Horror.  Now I'm so jaded and disappointed if something isn't terrifying and original, but originality is pretty hard to come by in any genre, I suppose.  I still watch anything that comes out, though, even if I think it'll suck.

Today I want to post a few things that I genuinely love.  The first one is goofy, but it scared me as a kid.  It still scares me, but more than anything it still makes me laugh hysterically.  A few years ago we showed The Privates Eyes during a Grind-Fu Cinema marathon, and I remember people being skeptical that it would be any good.  It stars Tim Conway and Don Knotts, and they're kind of comedians from a different era.  Sometimes older comedians don't hold up well in this day and age, but I don't think that is the case at all with this movie.  Conway and Knotts are comedic geniuses, and they pull out all the stops in this film.  Their timing is impeccable, and they make a great team.

The Private Eyes is more of a murder mystery, but it's pretty scary.  Conway and Knotts are summoned to Morley Manor to investigate the murder of Lord and Lady Morley.  They're American, but they work for Scotland Yard. Anyway, they question the eccentric house staff, who soon start dropping like flies.  The killer always leaves a note with a poem at each of the crime scenes, but they never completely rhyme.  When Conway read the poems it always leaves me in stitches.

The second movie stars Vincent Price, and it's directed by William Castle.  House on Haunted Hill is one of those films that's so campy and scary and fun that's it's kind of hard to believe that it's in the public domain.  Because it's PD we showed it for our second ever Grind-Fu Cinema.  Price is outstanding as the macabre and eccentric millionaire, and the dark humor in the film is on point.  This is a fun movie filled with some genuine scares, and it's essential viewing no matter the time of year.  It's a full on classic.

The third film I'm sharing is something I just discovered a few days ago.  On Halloween night 25 years ago the BBC aired a show called Ghostwatch, which claimed to be a live broadcast inside a house plagued by poltergeist activity.  The hosts and on air talent were all established BBC personalities, and they brought in experts to comment and evaluate the things that may or may not happen on the air.  There was also a phone bank set up for people to call in and share their ghost stories, as well as their thoughts on the hauntings discussed on the show.  It was very realistic.  Maybe too realistic.

The camera crew spoke with a mother and her daughters in their allegedly haunted house.  They shared their stories of the terrifying events that had occurred, and some creepy things even began to start happening as the night goes on.  To say anything more is to give away too much, because Ghostwatch is exceptionally well made and genuinely terrifying.  Go into it with as little knowledge as possible and just let it unfold.  It feels very real.

Apparently the people watching the show that night felt the same way, and many people were truly horrified by what happened.  The BBC switchboards were flooded with called from angry and terrified viewers, and there were even reports of some viewers suffering from PTSD caused by the program.  Even worse, one of the hosts was a beloved children's television host at the time, so many parents let their children stay up late to watch the show.  Let's just say that things don't end well for the host, and this resulted in traumatized children.

So basically, Ghostwatch was a massive success.  It was a horror show that was so terrifying that the BBC banned it from being broadcast for a decade.  Over the past quarter decade its reputation has grown, and it holds up very strongly today.  It truly does feel like you're witnessing something horrifying and real.

As Sandor Weisberger would say, "turn off all the lights, and be completely in the dark" and settle in for one crazy scary movie.  Please forgive the fact that it's in three parts on Vimeo.  The breaks might actually give you a much needed pause escape from what you're seeing.

Happy halloween!


Ghost Watch pt 1 from Cornwall Paranormal Research on Vimeo.
Ghost Watch pt 2 from Cornwall Paranormal Research on Vimeo.
Ghost Watch pt3 from Cornwall Paranormal Research on Vimeo.


Happy Halloween everyone! October 31st is finally here! I hope you have had a few scares along the way as we counted down to All Hallow's Eve, or at the very least we have sent you down a youtube wormhole or two. Have a safe and spooky night, and try to eat at least one piece of candy if you can!


Monday, October 30, 2017


For as long as we've been doing the Morning Show we've been doing Polka Til You Puke, and for every single one of those shows we've been joined by Concertina Hall Of Famer Ambrose Kodet.  He brings over 70 years of concertina playing chops to the show, plus an amazing wealth of knowledge regarding regional Polka history.  Honestly, we drop the needle on any one of the countless Polka records we have up here and Ambrose can tell us all about the band.  It's incredible.

Anyway, we LOVE ending our part of the Fall Pledge Drive with Polka Til You Puke, because it's such a great time, and that's exactly what we're doing this Friday from six to nine a.m. on the Morning Show!  Ambrose will be kicking out the jams on the Concertina, and we'll be joined by professional Polka fans Maude and Katie Jo, who'll bringing their total Polka love to the airwaves. Be sure to tune in and pledge your support as we draw closer and closer to the $20,000 goal.  Your call is important to us!  Dial 507-389-5678 or 1-800-456-7810, or you can pledge online at kmsu.org!  Plus, this year we have the amazing Polka 'Til You Puke t-shirts available at the $25 pledge level!



Everything about this incident speaks to the power of radio and the human imagination.  Individually they can create magic, together they can create worlds.  Sometimes, however, they can create a war of the worlds, and that's exactly what happened on this day in 1938.

Orson Welles had already created a name for himself as a theatrical prodigy, taking the stage by storm at a very early age.  His reputation as an actor was undisputed, and his Mercury Theater company was building a name as a home for uncompromising artistic vision.  It only made sense that he would take that vision to the blossoming world of radio, and in 1938 he created The Mercury Theater On The Air.

The show took classic works that Welles' theater company performed and translated them to radio.  The cast was high caliber, and the music was composed and arranged by Bernard Herrmann, who was no slouch either.  Quality material and acting isn't necessarily a guarantee of ratings, and The Mercury Theater On The Air performed poorly.  Welles needed something big to try and turn the tides.

Shifting their focus from more traditional classic works, Welles decided to take a step into the world of Science Fiction for their Halloween broadcast by adapting H.G. Wells' The War Of The Worlds, a classic alien invasion story.  Unfortunately, the writers were having trouble adapting the story to radio.  Traditionally they would do fairly faithful adaptations of the works they performed, but that wasn't working with the H.G. Wells classic.  With less than two days to go before broadcast, the story still couldn't be cracked.

The day before broadcast a script was finally submitted to the radio network for approval.  It was decided to create the show out of a series of interrupting radio news bulletins that announced strange phenomenon and outer space activity.  These would cut in during music programming that was deliberately conceived to be long and drawn out.  As a result, the tension would build because people had no idea what was going on while the music played.  Why was the music still playing if something horrible was happening?  Was earth really under attack?

The legend has it that the realism of The War Of The Worlds broadcast created mass hysteria.  People jammed phone lines with calls to the police and loved ones, and there were a few alleged instances of people committing suicide because Earth was being conquered by invaders from another planet.  These reports are viewed as today, as the show had relatively low ratings, but that didn't stop Welles from milking the publicity for all he could.

Welles feigned ignorance over the effect his show would have over people, claiming he never meant to drive people to the brink of hysteria.  A press conference was hastily organized, at which Welles apologized to the American public,  There is no denying, however, that police were sent to the studio to investigate, and that the network felt they needed to cut into the broadcast to announce that the performance was a work of fiction.  John Houseman, a member of the theater troupe, has this to say:

The following hours were a nightmare.  The building was suddenly full of people and dark-blue uniforms.  Hustled out of the studio, were were locked into a small back office on another floor.  Here we sad incommunicado while network employees were busily collecting, destroying, or locking up all scripts and records of the broadcast.  Finally, the Press was let loose upon us, ravening for horror.  How many deaths had we heard of?  (Implying they knew of thousands.)  What did we know of the fatal stampede in a jersey hall?  (Implying it was one of many.)  What traffic deaths?  (The ditches must be choked with corpses.)  The suicides (Haven't you heard about the one on Riverside Drive?) It is all quite vague in my memory and quite terrible.

The accounts of that evening are fascinating, and you can read a bit about it on the Wikipedia page for the broadcast.  Orson Welles, the master of the stage, had manufactured a broadcast so terrifying that people were taking to the streets out of fear.

Growing up as a radio obsessed kid, I would often read about old radio shows.  My dad would tell me stories about listening to them when he was my age, and I was always bummed that I could never hear them on air.  We would go to the library and I would check out LPs of old broadcast, and I would sit by the record player taking in the worlds that were being created from silence.  Acting and sound effects made something come vividly alive.  This was most definitely the case with The War Of The Worlds, a record I checked out repeatedly throughout my childhood.

Since we're in the midst of pledge drive, it seems only appropriate that this post is all about the power of radio.  KMSU is a magical place, a home to possibilities of radio.  Everyone up here is a true believer in what radio can do and can be, and we hope you are, too.  Please take a moment and pledge your support to 89.7 The Maverick.  Call 507-389-5678 or 1-800-456-7810, or you can go to kmsu.org and click the GIVE NOW link.

Here's the original broadcast of The War Of The Worlds, as heard on Sunday, October 30th, 1938.  It's a masterpiece.


Sunday, October 29, 2017


Are you guys watching Stranger Things 2?  DAMN.  It's so good.  I'm almost finished with it, and it has delivered on all the fun and intensity that I was hoping for.  If you haven't watched any of the Strangers Things episodes, you should really start.  It's great television, and the kids are amazing.  Everyone should have friends like those kids.

Every time I watch the show I'm intrigued by the science of the "upside down", the weird interdimensional wasteland that is inhabited by monsters that want to destroy us all.  Could an alternate dimension like the Upside Down actually exist?  There's a theory in Quantum Physics called the Many Worlds therory.  It posits that under our reality is a sub-quantum reality made up entirely of quantum interactions.  In this theory, everything in our reality sprang from that sub-quantum reality.

Does this make sense?  I don't know nuthin' 'bout no Quantum Physics, but I find it intriguing to imagine that all around us there could be an entirely different reality, existing in our same space but imperceptible to us.  Like right beside you, at this very moment, there could be unspeakable horrors unfolding in the same space you occupy, but in a realm that you cannot (hopefully) detect.  THE UPSIDE DOWN COULD BE HAPPENING IN THE SAME SPACE YOU OCCUPY!

This whole thing is so cray complicated and well beyond my rudimentary education.  There is, however, a video that attempts to explain it.  MAKE VIDEO GO NOW!

Now that your brain hurts, I want to thank everyone that has pledged to KMSU during the Fall Pledge Drive.  You're all radio heroes, and you are what makes it all possible.  Without your support there's no KMSU.  It's that simple.  Your pledges help us financially, and they also let the university know that you value having a station like ours on the air.  That's HUGELY important.  So thanks.

KMSU is in the last week of the drive and it has been pretty slow.  We have an awfully long way to go to hit the final goal by Friday, November 3rd, which is the end of the drive. Any chance you could spare a couple of bucks to keep independent community radio alive?  If so, please consider doing so.  If you listen to KMSU at some point in the day, then it's likely you have found something that you know you won't find anywhere else..  There's so much wonderful radio being made by folks from your community that believe in radio and kick ass music, and it's such a unique experience to listen to it.  We're a station of true believers, and we're hoping that you're a true believer, too.

Please take a second and donate to KMSU.  Call 507-389-5678 or 1-800-456-7810, or visit kmsu.org and click 'donate now'.  It will just take a second of your time, and then you can go about your day knowing that you did your part to keep independent public radio alive.  Thank you!


I have been sicker than a dog all weekend, having lost my voice completely after Friday morning's show, but yesterday my Numero Records Husker Du Savage Young Du set arrived in the mail.I didn't leave my bed at all yesterday so it is only now that I am opening this vinyl goodie box. Needless to say - Numero has another amazing set under it's belt. I was looking through the massive booklet that comes with it, and towards the back I found this:

Having been on such a Mindhunter kick as of late, this definitely caught my attention, and then hit me like a ton of bricks! Diane - this must be what Husker Du's song Diane is about! Immediately the chorus started playing in my mind but I realize I only know the words to the chorus. Even then I think I only know the words "Diane". So I looked up the lyrics and was then properly creeped out.

Hey little girl, do you need a ride?
Well, I've got room in my wagon why don't you hop inside
We could cruise down Robert Street all night long
But I think I'll just rape and kill you instead

Diane, Diane, Diane

I heard there's a party down at Lake Cove
It would be so much easier if I drove
We could check it out, we could go and see
Oh won'y you come and take a ride with me

Diane, Diane, Diane

We could lay in the weeds for a little while
I'll put your clothes in a nice, neat little pile
You're the cutest girl I've ever seen in my life
It's all over now , and with my knife

Diane, Diane, Diane

In 1981 Joseph Donald Ture was convicted of the rape and murder of Diane Edwards a St. Paul waitress who'd gone missing after her work shift. Ture was later convicted of six other murders and a number of serial rapes, the kind of crimes you never suspect happens so close to home. Grant Hart wrote this Husker Du song at the time this was in the news. I will never think of this song the same way again! Here is a video of a live performance of the song at the 7th Street Entry - look how young they all look!


Friday, October 27, 2017


If you have tuned in to Shuffle Function in the past few weeks you may have heard us talking about how good the new Netflix series Mindhunter is. Hopefully you took our word for it and binge watched the entire thing - and if you haven't you should just drop whatever you are doing right now and start this instance. This blogpost will be waiting for you when you come back. Mindhunter is primarily directed by David Fincher and is based upon the true crime novel written by F.B.I. agent John Douglas. Douglas's research into the minds of serial killers is where the practice of criminal profiling began. The series Mindhunter is loosely based on Douglas's work. One of the first serial killers that is introduced in the series is Edmund Kemper, the "Co-ed Killer".

Kemper was charged with eight counts of murder and is serving eight consecutive life sentences. I don't want to spoil anything for those of you who have not watched the series yet, but for those who have, you know how gruesome his crimes were. Yesterday while nosing around on Facebook I ran across a post about Kemper that surprised me. It is about a newspaper article in the Los Angeles Times in 1987 detailing the thousands and thousands of hours that Kemper had spent making audiotapes of books for the blind while in prison. You can find the article at this link. Some of the books he recorded were Flowers In The Attic, Petals In The Wind, The Rosary Murders and Star Wars. You can hear a snippet of his work below; please note the creepy snicker at the very beginning.

Kemper was proud of his work and told the reporter for the Los Angeles Times that "I can't begin to tell you what this has meant to me, to be appreciated by so many people, the good feeling it gives me after what I have done". You might want to look into the name on your audio book next time you pick one up to listen to. You just might be surprised at who that voice belongs to!



We've had a great pledge drive so far, you guys! Thanks to all of you that have stepped up and done your part to keep independent radio alive and well in your neck of the woods.  We couldn't do it without you.  Your generosity not only helps us financially, but each pledge acts as a vote of confidence in the station, and it tells the University that we're a valued part of the community.  Your pledges have double the value!

One of the most popular premiums that we offer on Shuffle Function is the Program Director For A Day.  If you pledge $100 during the pledge drive, we invite you to the station and let you play radio with us for two hours some morning.  You control the playlist, and we just talk too much and push buttons.  You also get the brand new Polka 'Til You Puke t-shirt, as well as a CD with your two hours of radio infamy.  It's a lot of fun, and it's the biggest way that we can thank you for supporting KMSU.

We only offer 20 Program Director spots, and they are almost gone!  Act fast if you've been thinking about doing this.  Honestly, it's a total blast, and we'd love to thank you in person for supporting the station.  Call 507-389-5678 or 1-800-456-7810, or visit kmsu.org and click 'donate now!'  You can put your pledge on a credit card, you can be billed, and you can make payments.  Whatever it takes to help you help us, that's what we want to do.  

Thanks, Radio Heroes!


Mark and guest Gully - Program Director

Regis, Teresa and DJ Lil' Miss - Program Directors and members of the Mankato Chapter of Michael MimMcDonald Society of Silver Fox Impersonators.

Tom and Chantill on Lovin' Day - celebrating their anniversary AND their tenth year of being Program Directors for the Day!

Shyboy Tim with his niece Mary who was a first time Program Director!

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Shuffle Function Radio Roulette is TONIGHT!  We just made the offering to the Radio Gods, so hopefully they'll be pleased with our mix of trophies and VHS tapes.  They seem to be really into those things.  Anyway, we draw numbers, flip coins, and roll dice to determine what gets played.  It's completely random, so the playlist is in the hands of a higher power, and sometimes YOU!  Pledge during the show and you can pick a record numbered between 1 and 426!  You can share the blame if it all goes wrong!

Call 507-389-5678 or 1-800-456-7810, or pledge online at kmsu.org.  Check out the swag HERE!



125 years ago, Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 wacks.  When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41.  At least that's what the courts tried to say.  Borden was never definitively proven to have committed the double murder of her Dad and Stepmom, but she was haunted by the association for the rest of her life.  The case has had an enduring presence in American crime history, in part because it was never solved.

The murders occurred in this house in Fall River, Massachusetts.  Lizzie's mother had died almost 30 years earlier, and her father remarried three years after the death.  Lizzie, by all accounts an extremely religious child, had a difficult relationship with her Stepmother, whom she thought was was only after her father's money.  His estate, in 2017 dollars, would be worth around $8,000,000.  Indeed, things were so strained at times that Lizzie and her sister Emma would often eat their meals apart from the parents.  Eventually the tension became so bad that the sisters left town for an extended "vacation".  The wouldn't return home until one week before the murders, and Lizzie stayed in a rooming house for four days out of that week.

On the morning of August 4th, 1892, Lizzie's Stepmom was struck 17 times with the axe pictured above.  A short while later, Lizzie's Father returned from a walk and took a nap.  It was then that he was struck ten times with the same axe.  He was still bleeding at the time of discovery, indicating that the attack was very recent.

Lizzie's story changed several times over the course of the day and the following trial.  She claimed to be out of the house at the time of the murders, but she was also the one that discovered her father's body. Sometimes she claimed she had heard nothing going on, and other times she stated that she heard groans upon entering the house.  The police also never bothered to check her for bloodstains, and only did a brief search of her room because Lizzie was not feeling well.  The day after Lizzie was told she was a suspect in the murder, she was discovered by the maid tearing up a dress.  Lizzie explained that she was getting ready to burn it because it was covered in "paint".  It was never determined if this was the dress she wore on the day of the murder.

The Borden murder trial was a sensation, and the public response is often compared to trials of O.J. Simpson or the Lindburgh kidnapper.  Ultimately, Lizzie was found not guilty.  No other suspects were brought to trial, and the case continues to be puzzled over.  Lizzie, despite living under suspicion by the community, continued to live in Fall River, Massachusetts.  She built a huge home in an affluent section of town called "The Hill", and now this home has just hit the market.

Maplecroft Mansion, the home that Lizzie Borden built and lived out the rest of her days, is being sold for $849,000.  The 4000 square foot home has eight bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms, and six fireplaces.  As an added bonus, it is being sold with all the furnishings.  The current owners spent considerable time and money restoring it to its original splendor, so you would be getting a genuine representation of an early 20th century home.  Look as these photos:

Again, this home can be yours for only $849,000, or you can donate that amount to KMSU for the Fall Pledge Drive!  We have loads of swag available, and we would make sure you get everything if you give that amount.  TOTALLY WORTH IT!  Call 507-389-45678 or -1800-456-7810, or visit kmsu.org and click 'donate now!'

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Shyboy Tim posing with the rare home edition of Radio Roulette!

Thursday, October 26th @ seven p.m.
KMSU 89.7 fm/KMSK 91.3 fm/ kmsu.org

A few years ago we played a round of Shuffle Function Radio Roulette that was SO severely bad that we nearly abandoned radio all together.  My exact words at the time were "remember when this used to be fun?"  After that show we began leaving offerings to the Radio Gods at the KMSU tower so that they would smile upon us and grant us a listenable round of Radio Roulette.  So far it has worked.  So far.

For the uninitiated, Shuffle Function Radio Roulette is a game we invented for Halloween.  Why Halloween?  Because we wanted to do something that was terrifying that went beyond the usual fare of Halloween music.  For a couple of control freaks like us, there is nothing more horrifying than turning our playlist over to random chance.  Thus Radio Roulette was born.

But what exactly is Shuffle Function Radio Roulette?  Here's how you play!

1) GATHER THE RECORDS!  We drag in the crates of K-Tel records from the office. Each record has been assigned a number. The collection is now over 400! When we did our first round of roulette, we probably  played with only 20 records!

2) WHICH RECORD DO WE PLAY?  We then use the magic hat (pictured above). There are slips of paper inside it that have a number written on them. Each number corresponds to the K-Tel record with that assigned number. Shyboy Tim pulls out a number from the magic hat and that is how the Radio Gods pick the record to play.

3) DO YOU PLAY SIDE A or SIDE B?  Shyboy Tim then picks up a coin to determine which side to play. If it is an American release we use a US quarter. If it is a Canadian release we use a Canadian quarter. If it is an import we use the other coins that we have at our disposal. He then flips the coin. If it's HEADS it is SIDE A. If it's TAILS then SIDE B. 

Players note: if it is a Double LP we flip a coin to determine Record 1 or Record 2. Heads = Record 1 and Tails = Record 2.

4) HOW DO YOU PICK A SONG?  The last step in this process is to determine which song gets played. We have two dice that we use for this step. If there are more than 6 tracks we use a normal die, but if there are more we use a 10 sided die! (Shout Out to D & D players) So if Shyboy Tim rolls a 7 we play track number 7, or if he rolls a 2 we play track 2.  Finally, Shelley cues up the record and hopes it doesn't hurt too much. You'll have to tune in tonight to see how things go. 

Shuffle Function Radio Roulette is a lot of fun, but it can either be the best radio ever or the worst radio ever.  Since we have no control over the outcome, it's anybody's guess how it will go.  PLUS, it's Pledge Drive time, so we could REALLY use a great round of it to entice listeners into giving generously to our wonderful little station. 

Every pledge drive we make an offering to the radio gods, in the hope that we will have a successful drive and successful Radio Roulette.  We'll be making our offering Thursday morning, but here are some images from 2016 to give you an idea of what makes the Radio Gods happy.

We'd give us a good round of Radio Roulette with an offering like that!  How could we go wrong?  Tune in Thursday night at six p.m. for the potential minefield that is Shuffle Function Radio Roulette.  Pledge during the show and you can even pick a number that we'll draw!  Radio destiny is in your hands and generous pledge drive giving heart.

Please pledge your support to KMSU!  Any amount makes a difference, and we still have a long way to go to hit that $30,000 goal.  Call 507-389-5678 or 1-800-456-7810, or go to kmsu.org and click the DONATE NOW button.  Thanks, Radio Heroes!