G-Town Radio host brings musical ‘knife fights’ to Monday nights

Reade McCardell, radio host at G-Town Radio, has presided over a show called FEWSH since his start in Germantown six years ago.

McCardell, who worked at WXOU Radio in Michigan prior to his arrival, conceded that FEWSH doesn’t stand for anything.

“It’s just a word humans find themselves saying when they’ve avoided a disaster,” he expained.

Of coming to Germantown, he added, “I was really missing radio; I was hungry to get back to it. A friend of mine knew this and heard of an interview with Jim Bear, the main wizard.”

Jim Bear is the founder and station manager of G-Town Radio who has resided in Germantown since 1997.

McCardell said one of the perks of working with Bear is that employees are able to create their own shows.

The show itself

McCardell’s interest in music began when he was 12 years old. Now, he also plays and composes music. Guitar and voice are his two main instruments, but he plays whatever is around.

He was interested in designing a show that showcased numerous musical genres — he described it as everything under the sun — and now does so on a weekly basis.

It takes him about five hours to prepare, and another two hours of actual studio time when his show airs from Mondays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“I guess the best term to call it would be free form because it is truly every single genre included,” he said. “Within one program, there can easily be free jazz, metal, folk and electronica.

“There are so many artists I really, really love and that really inspire … me. One of my favorites right now is a band called Lambchop. The front man has one of the most shocking voices, strangely unusual lyrics, bathroom poetry.”

A weekly feature

Three years ago, McCardell started a segment that aired halfway through his show. It’s called “Dark Alley Knife Fight.”

“I play two songs tandem that should really not be played back-to-back. Two songs that are deliciously at odds with another,” he explained. “For instance, one time I played Ogden Nash, a sort of frivolous poet, a delightful, eccentric poet. I played him reading one of his poems next to Jerry Goldsmith’s music score for the movie ‘The Omen.’

Current projects

McCardell is currently producing an album titled “Frets.”

He has known some of the artists involved in the project for a long time either by helping or playing with them. There are also a few artists involved who he met recently. The engineer, Ivan Funk, became a good friend of McCardell’s before discovering that they were actually first cousins.

McCardell said his writing process can vary per song.

“Confessional writing is a term I’d use for how I often come up with lyrics. Lots of lyrics come from cyclical thinking, thoughts I’ve had for a long period of time, that I want to share with the world,” he said. “Sometimes, I’ll put a series of words together that are uncalled for.”

McCardell doesn’t live in Germantown, but said he has enjoyed getting to know the neighborhood through his experience with G-Town Radio.

“[Germantown] seems to sort of be a nice cocktail of different things, a crossroads between some wealthy areas and less privileged areas; a cross section of humanity,” he said. “It’s been a treat for me.”

Thomas E. Zamonski and Parissa M. Zecher are students at Temple University. Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a NewsWorks content partner, is an initiative of the Temple Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.

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