News & Opinion » Metro ink

Bad dog, bad dog


You can hear the blues blast out of the bowels of RIT's Student Alumni Union Building every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Just like it's done for the past 15 years --- that's 105 in dog years --- with Gary Reinhard and Jeff Harris, hosts of Bad Dog Blues, 89.7 WITR's weekly foray into American music's black roots.

Reinhard and Harris pack each week's five-hour show with early rare recordings, new releases, anecdotes, history, and interviews, forming an intensive crash course in the blues.

Reinhard was destined to DJ when he started the show in October 1989. He fondly remembers what lit the fuse.

"1965, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band," he says. "I wore two vinyl copies of their first album out. It had all these guys, black and white, on the cover. The music was unbelievably great. That was the first true blues album I ever bought."

Harris joined up in 1998, having already spun blues into rotation on his alternative show.

"Blues is actually the first alternative music," Reinhard says.

After listening to '60s blues-rock, Harris got B.B. King's Live At The Regal. He then dug deeper into Robert Johnson.

"I'd never heard anything quite like that before," Harris says. "It was all over after that. I started buying up Blind Willie McTell, Son House, Bukka White, all while I was still in high school. All my friends were still listening to Quiet Riot."

It's hard to gauge the size of the show's audience, but the phones blow up every time there's a ticket or CD giveaway.

And they're e-mailed requests from places like Turkey, Israel, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, where listeners can hear the show in real time via the Internet. The website,, boasts about 80 hours of archived shows available for download.

"There's a guy in Japan who tapes the show and plays it in his car," says Harris. "So there's some guy riding around in Tokyo listening to Bad Dog Blues. And that's pretty cool."

You can hear Bad Dog Blues every Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on 89.7 WITR. Next week's show will feature a live in-studio performance by Joe Beard backed by Steve Grills & The Roadmasters. Info:

--- Frank De Blase


On the heels of her budget presentation, ROC City Coalition presented County Executive Maggie Brooks with the preliminary results of their first-ever survey of young Rochesterians during a forum in High Falls. With 163 respondents, the survey is far from a representative sample, but its findings should generate some conversations among the region's movers and shakers about how to attract and keep this coveted demographic.

One significant finding: we really like it here. Only 12 percent of respondents wanted out, while 51 percent of native or local college grads decided to stay put. Another 23 percent came specifically for a job and 15 percent left, but found they missed Rochester too much to stay away. Another sign that there may be more jobs for youth than we thought: "Career" tops the list or reasons why folks stay at 64 percent. On a more negative note, only four people (2 percent) said "singles opportunities" made them want to stay.

But perhaps the best part was the two open-ended questions asking for suggestions at the survey's conclusion. Answers ranged from the terse "Buy Local" to veritable essays. Here are a few samples of answers received so far:

"If cities like Providence, RI, and Scranton, PA, can have a legitimate retail downtown, why can't we?"

"It's the jobs dammit! Time to let go of the lifeless 'quality of life' crutch."

"A functioning public transit system with more frequent and cleaner buses and a greater effort to get middle-class passengers to ride. Unlike other cities I've lived in, it seems like most people on public transit in Rochester are the poorest of the poor."

"A better newspaper. The D&C is mostly terrible. Local writers aren't great and the Sunday edition pales in comparison to even such modest papers like The Buffalo News. It's all AP wire articles."

"The liquor law should be changed til 4 a.m. like Buffalo so the clubs will stay open longer."

"I like the idea of consolidating the county and city government because the area has been shrinking and I don't believe that big government can adequately address the needs of the community."

"More opportunities to live near, and play on, Lake Ontario."

"Build up the city area around the river. Make the city a place to hang out in."

"Bike paths. Better concerts."

"I would imagine jobs would be a biggie. With jobs, the rest will come."

To read these and many more responses, or to participate in the survey yourself (it's ongoing), visit

Outing Fox

A crowd of nearly 40 people turned out at Fox Rochester's East Avenue headquarters Monday evening to protest the airing of what they say is an anti-John Kerry documentary by the station Friday. The station's corporate owner, Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcasting, told all 62 of its stations nationwide to air Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, a documentary on Kerry's anti-war claims made to Congress from the perspective of other Vietnam veterans.

Sinclair is described by the L.A. Times (who wrote that the 97 percent of political donations from company execs went to Republicans) as a conservative group. The group came under fire --- notably from Senator John McCain --- after it told stations in April not to air a roll call of the US troops killed in Iraq.

The local protest was organized by the group, which says in a statement on its website, "We believe that it is inappropriate and unfair to air partisan propaganda in the last 10 days of an election campaign." The group is also soliciting petition signatures online.

The Monroe County Democratic Committee claimed to have referred more than 60 local signers to the online petition in a press release Monday. They're urging people to not watch the piece, and are offering an alternative: entertainment by a group called Artists for Kerry at the Visual Studies Workshop (see this week's Urban Action on page 4 for details).

Joan Allen visits ROC

The High Falls International Film Festival announced on Monday that three-time Oscar nominee Joan Allen will be in Rochester on Saturday, November 13, to accept the festival's Susan B. Anthony "Failure is Impossible" Award. Also receiving the award: actress and voiceover superstar Sally Kellerman, who played Hot Lips in Robert Altman's M*A*S*H.

The awards will be given as part of the festival's closing night ceremonies. Keep reading City Newspaper for the official festival guide (October 27) and City's own take on HFIFF (November 3).

Correcting ourselves

During the editing of Herbert M. Simpson's review of After Sondheim at Blackfriars Theatre ("Song of the Heirs," October 13), the second-to-last paragraph was accidentally repeated. No extra emphasis was intended, and nothing was omitted.

Add a comment