THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT (USA)
Amy Handler and her weekly show THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT are off the beaten track of children’s radio.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT goes to air every Saturday in Atlanta on 1690 The Voice of the Arts. The station has a reputation for being very liberal, artistic and interesting (just like college radio except that it has advertisers).
I was driven to ask producer/host Amy Handler for an interview when I found out that not only was she a fan of fleaBITE, but she had played the weirder tracks off our CIRCUS OF FLEAS album on her show. She’s also got some fab listening tips for songs and musicians that will give you and the kids a thrill.
You were recommended to us as one of the more open minded and interesting people running a kids’ music show in the USA. What makes your show different?
My show has been going 3 years now.
It is different because it is directly proportional to my personality and interests. It shows off my eclectic taste in music, love of family entertainment, and ideals that all music can be for kids and shouldn’t have to be pedantic or insulting.
It also shows off my obsessive nature in that each show is themed.
I have done things as simple as ‘Summer’ or ‘Valentine’s day’ to ideas that are a bit more way out… banana songs for April Fool’s day (they are the funniest fruit); the King of 8 for Hannukah; songs about orange, gold, and brown for fall; holiday math shows a la an advent calendar; songs about what actual interviewed kids were going to be for Halloween etc.
I sometimes do interviews but they are still done around a theme. Last interview was Tom Angleberger, author of THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA. Have also had Dr. Seuss’ art director, Mo Willems, Atlanta Clown Care Unit…to name a few.
What got you into doing your show? Do you get paid?
I don’t get paid for my show. But I do get paid when the station’s advertisers sponsor me. I also play parties and festivals and get paid for that. And they pay my parking! But mostly it is a labor of love.
How do you go about putting a show together?
To get ready for my show I gather way more music than I would ever need that over exhausts the subject. And then I peel the layers and arrange/delete in a way that makes sense. I have to make lots of tough love cuts because I only actually have 48 minutes of the hour. I like to make the songs tell a story and fit together in interesting ways. For example this week I was doing a show about shopping for kinds of cars for Father’s Day so one segment had the Batmobile, the Snatzomobile, the Gnome mobile, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In another segment I had to cut out The Dead Milkmen’s song ‘Bitchin’ Camaro’ (my younger self rolled my eyes at me for that) due to inappropriateness. But I left the Ramones ‘Go Lil’ Camaro Go’ and Prince’s ‘Little Red Corvette’.
Where do you come across new music for your show?
I get new music sent to me alllll the time. Some of it is super great, but there is lots that is too ‘kiddie’ for my tastes. I still listen to all of it and have discovered some that are standard favorites … the Deedle Deedle Dees, Your Imaginary Friend, Scribble Monster, Lori Henriques, Duke Otherwise…
I also listen to Greasy Kid Stuff (http://greasykidstuff.wordpress.com/about/) and Songs for the Whippersnappers as well as read some of the blogs to keep up on it.
My husband is an obsessive music collector too and he has discovered some of my favorite finds. He trolls WFMU as well as other weird music blogs for inspiration.
And of course I have tons of old records too.
What are some kids’ artists you can recommend?
Other artists I like are Twink, Playsoundz, Jonathan Richman, Petty Booka, anything Muppets, Ella Jenkins, Bruce Hack, Kirby Stone Five, Louis Armstrong. My favorite compilation ever is Rudy’s Rockin’ Kiddie Caravan. Stay Awake is a great one too.
Can we hear your show if we don’t live in the USA?
You should be able to hear my show from anywhere if you go to the website and use their live feed: http://1690wmlb.com/
Or they have free downloadable apps for handheld devices.
What do you think about fleaBITE and Fatcat & Fishface?
I love you guys and play you all the time. Two reasons… one you are silly and unique and the other is you have lots of songs that fit themes. So you are a double threat.
I am about to do a New Music Show… doesn’t have to be actual new music… just music that is new to me, and I will definitely be playing you then and telling everyone how great you are.
Do you really have to ask that last question?