Tuned In…with Kirk Lewis

Kirk Lewis In our newest feature, Tuned In, we will periodically feature members of the Radio Boise community who go above and beyond to support community radio. In this, our first installment, we’re catching up with Kirk Lewis, an orthopedic surgeon by day and a music aficionado by night.

Kirk has been known to wow folks at Radio Boise with his encyclopedic musical knowledge. But equal to his love for music is his love for community radio, which has been long and abiding since his youth. Kirk is a member of Radio Boise’s HiFi Society, which celebrates supporters who give significant gifts that have major impact on the station’s capacity.

Here Kirk tells us a little bit about his connection to community radio, why he chooses to support Radio Boise, and he gives us a little taste of that bottomless pit of musical knowledge…

When did you catch the community radio bug?

Growing up, all radio was local, but in the 70’s the introduction of Album Oriented Rock that didn’t fit the three-minute pop format made listening to the radio an event. College radio was the epicenter of new music, so for me it was imperative to search the dial for the university station as I meandered through school. KXLU in LA and KBSU vintage mid-80’s were great.

What is it that you appreciate about community radio?

The interest and freedom to play what they want. We are so inundated and manipulated by mainstream media and big business that we don’t even know we have choices any more. To learn we need to always ask questions then question the answers. It’s just refreshing to realize independent voice is still an option.

What do you like most about Radio Boise?

Obviously the variety of music, but I definitely enjoy the personality of the shows and the host DJs. In addition, the promotion and introduction of new local music along with artists coming to Boise is wonderful.

Where and when do you listen to Radio Boise?

All hours. Everyday. Home, car, online when I travel. The archived shows and internet offering is a favorite of the programming options. I still try to search out local radio in other locales. That’s how I’ve always tried to get a sense of place and where to go for local music.  But if wifi is available I keep coming back to Radio Boise.

What can’t you get out of your head, music-wise, right now?

Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman.” Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra’s “Some Velvet Morning.” Still can’t figure that one out. But if I have the luxury of 20 free minutes and a pair of headphones, Built to Spill’s “Cortez the Killer” is what I want in my head.

If you could go backstage for any artist’s show, who would it be and why?

Guess I prefer shows where there is no backstage. Do I get to talk with the artists? If so, Nick Cave (with The Bad Seeds) probably tops my list. Or Rosanne Cash. Both thoughtful authors as well as writers of wonderful music. And of course I’ve always had a crush on Aimee Mann.

Where do you see Radio Boise in 5 years?

The growth in just a few years has been exceptional. As word gets out, I feel there are enough free thinkers in the Treasure Valley (and beyond) that Radio Boise will attract a wider audience. I hope it expands enough that the next challenge is staying true to its origins.

You can hear more about Kirk’s early connection to community radio from his National Radio Day interview with Radio Boise’s Programming Director, Wayne Birt, below.

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