The History of NeverEndingWonder Radio

I have been fascinated with odd music as long as I can remember. One of my earliest musical memories is listening to a yellow vinyl 45 of the Three Stooges. It was a bit about the Stooges making a record and Joe gets stuck on the record - every time the needle comes around he yelps in pain. That bit of absurdist comedy shaped my musical tastes forever. I also remember with fondness my little cardboard body record player. It had settings for 16, 33, 45 & 78 speeds. Such amazing power for a little toy! I could take my mother's Frank Sinatra albums and make them sound like The Chipmunks. It also had a Neutral setting so I could spin the discs as slow or fast as I wanted- or even make them go backwards. These early memories are key to the development of my musical taste because they showed me that music - indeed, sound itself, is plastic. It can be bent, molded, shaped to become something entirely different from what it was originally.

So it was natural, when Jean-Jacques Perrey's "In Sound From Way Out" came out in 1966, for me to be attracted to his sonic pop experiments, such as crafting an ingenious version of "Flight of the Bumblebees" from the actual sounds of bumblebees. My youth and teen years were filled with insatiable musical exploration, seeking new musical experiences in as many different areas as possible- Spike Jones, Stan Freberg, PDQ Bach, Dickie Goodman, Ruth White, Beaver & Krause, The Stooges (as in Iggy), Frank Zappa, stereo hi-fi test discs, Mad Magazine cardboard records, Naked Carmen, failed Broadway cast recordings, Michael Perlich, Flaming Youth and anything else I could stick on my turntable.

It was like finding a distant soulmate when I first heard the Dr. Demento Show. Here was somebody who spoke my language! He understood the thrill of discovering music most people had no idea even existed. Years later when I had the extreme pleasure of meeting the esteemed Dr. at a record show I gushed out my secret desire to someday have a radio show similar to his. Instead of treating me as another naive fan, Dr. Demento was gracious and encouraging. It was a pivotal moment.

Years later I realized that dream when I discovered, a website that offered anyone interested the opportunity to run an internet radio station. I knew nothing about the technology involved, but I had an intense desire to share my vast storehouse of musical treasures with the world, so I learned. NeverEndingWonder Radio went on the "air" in March of 2001. Within the first two months of NeverEndingWonder Radio's existance it earned an Editor's Pick and Featured Station status. I was encouraged! Somebody else understood! My musical library was so diverse I started several other stations to showcase other styles- Soaring Spirit featured folk, international & new age music; Welcome to Weirdsville featured comedy & comedy music; All the World's a Stage featured Broadway musicals, film musicals & showtunes; and Classic Electronic featured electronic music of all types up to and not including the disco "revolution."

In my time at Live365 I was awarded five Editor's Picks, was Featured Station four times and won two Live365 Broadcaster Awards - for Best Freeform Station and Most Idiosyncratic Station. I also formed the Freeform Radio Webring, which is open to all radio stations, terrestrial or internet, which broadcast true freeform programming. NeverEndingWonder Radio has also become known across the internet for its yearly six week long Halloween Extravaganza, which actually encompasses Halloween programming on three seperate stations. We're also the only internet station with an elf in a jar.

Late in 2005 NeverEndingWonder Radio began broadcasting live 24/7. It also left the safe haven of Live365 and became a completely independent station. Response to the changes have been overwhelmingly positive. Goals for 2006 include an expanded lineup of specialty programming and a system for automated listener song requests. We hope you'll join us on the adventure.

- Lee Widener (aka Uncle Ozma)

As you know, NeverEndingWonder Radio specializes in music & comedy that's off the wall, rare, unusual, hard to find, off kilter, experimental and just plain weird. Our library is large- over 35,000 tracks right now, and thousands of albums in my collection waiting for digitization, not to mention new CDs from independent artists across the globe that are sent to me weekly.
A favorite artist of mine is Dickie Goodman, inventor of the "break-in" or "cut-in" record, where snippets of songs are cut into a running story, usually in the form of a newscast or interview, for comedic effect. His first experiment in this manner was "The Flying Saucer Part 1." It was a hit record and also caused a scream of protest from record labels who, of course, wanted a taste of the action.
Break-in records became quite popular in the 50s and 60s. Goodman himself continued releasing new Break-ins up into the 80s. A slew of lesser knowns and at times downright unknowns releases hundreds of break-in records- often in very small pressings. Record collector Bill Dann has spent years and thousands of dollars collecting break-in records, monster novelties and other obscure recordings of all types.
Bill Dann, out of the kindness of his heart and with great generosity has sent me several hundred monster novelties and obscure break-in recordings that I am very thankful for. The original 45 rpm discs were lovingly remastered and transferred to CD by engineer Mark Birdsong, who himself created several of the break-in records. These contributions by Bill Dann are greatly appreciated and are a wonderful addition to NeverEndingWonder Radio. I can't thank you enough, Bill.

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