Sunday, September 10, 2006

9-11 Remembered with Superman's John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting

Tomorrow marks 5 years since the horrific events we now refer to as simply "9-11" for the ironic date it happened. For many of us, music was where we turned for strength.

One little song rose as an anthem of sorts for the firefighters and other first responders in New York. It was "Superman" by John Ondrasik or, as he is more widely known, Five For Fighting.

John is a dear friend of mine. I happened upon a copy of his first album, "Message for Albert" while I was writing for the now-defunct music trade magazine, Album Network. I pissed off the powers that be at his then-label, EMI, for writing about this unknown and non-priority record instead of the Queensryche tripe they were pushing. It turned out not to matter either way, as the label folded before any other than a small few had heard "...Albert". But in championing the record, I made a new friend.

Fast forward a few years, and John had put together a demo of a few songs, and was signed by the small, but burgeoning, Aware Records. After I received an advance copy of what would eventually be released as "America Town," I remember leaving a message on John's answering machine that said something to the effect of "Superman is one of the best songs ever written."

Luckily for me, when the album was released, I was Music Director of Channel 103.1 in Los Angeles, and was the first, anywhere, to play "Superman" on the radio. It went on to become a hit... but, as I said before, took on new meaning after the events of 9-11-01, when the firefighters took some strength and comfort from it.

So, as we approach the 5th anniversary of that day, I thought it fitting to call my old friend, John Ondrasik, and look back. You can subscribe to the podcast, or listen to it here.

I will not play the song "Superman" in this podcast, as I just can't afford the licensing fees (although John would have no problem, but that's another story), so I'll invite you to find it on iTunes or your local record store and listen again!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Graham Nash - We CAN Change the World

SO sorry for the long time since the last episode. Sometimes life gets in the way, which was the case here. The need to earn a living takes precedence over all else.

So, I recently started a new job. I'm producing The Jim DeFede Show, a new morning show at South Florida's Progressive Talk Station, AM 940. Since music radio in South Florida is so awful, this is the station I find myself listening to most of the time, so it made sense to go there.

I do participate on-air as well, and in my role on that show, I had the opportunity to interview Graham Nash a couple of days ago. He was in town for the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young South Florida stop on the "Freedom of Speech '06" tour.

As I knew it would be, the interview was wonderful, so I thought I'd share it with you here. I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Back by Popular Demand... Ben Folds Five too...

Well, I really didn't expect to be doing this again. But I do appreciate the email I received from a few of you, saying that you'd like to hear the interviews even if I had to delete the songs.

Gina, who I believe is in the Netherlands, wrote "It’s for the contents of the interview, the things that are being said, people tune in i guess... Hearing the music is cool too, but we can play those ourselves.. Perhaps you could delete the music but show in a message what songs were played...
If you have more interviews in stock that are worth listening to, i’d say go for it...
... And yes, listening to interviews isn’t any less attractive if there’s no music in it..."

And from David in Santa Monica... one of the old-time KSCA listeners, "Keep doing the podcast if you can; interviews, stories, whatever. You always had us as soon as we heard you, the music was only a fraction of the attraction."

The kind words mean more than you know... So, let's give this another shot... I will let you know which songs were played, so you can find them and plug them in yourself, if you so choose. (And perhaps a kindly worded email might get me to share the live version with you!)

So, today we travel back to October of 1995... the very first Los Angeles radio appearance by Ben Folds Five....

Monday, May 22, 2006

The End of the Line

Well, it's been fun. Unfortunately the time has come to put the Radio Or Not Podcast to bed.

The cost of paying ASCAP and BMI fees is prohibitive, especially since I don't make any money from this site. So I have no choice but to discontinue the podcast.

Thanks to all who've listened, and especially those of you who've written in to say you enjoyed what you heard. Perhaps I'll take the show back to the airwaves one of these days.

In the meantime, you can still reach me at, and I'll try to keep up with a blog of some sorts at here at

Thanks for listening!
Nicole Sandler

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Radio Or Not #12 - The First Time-- revisited

Thu, 27 April 2006
Radio Or Not #12 -- The first time-Revisited
I started the Radio Or Not podcast almost a year ago, for a few reasons. I thought it would be fun, plus I had all these interviews I conducted with many of my musical idols during a long, fun, successful radio career.

The high point in my career spanned from 1994-1997. The radio station was KSCA... Southern California's Album Alternative (at the beginning) or LA's Finest Rock (at the end). It was the last station in Gene Autry's Golden West Broadcasters chain. It was fun while it lasted!

We had a little hallway situated between the air studio and the production room, and that's where the musicians who came to visit would play live on the air. Our General Manager, the late and wonderful Bill Ward, dubbed it The Music Hall. The name always elicited a chuckle from our guests because it was... a hall!

The sound, however, was flawless. A big part of the reason was the skill and talents of Pat Dorn, who has graced many a record as engineer, and who ran the sound on almost every single Music Hall session at KSCA. He was so good, in fact, that Lyle Lovett hired him after working with him in the Music Hall, and Sting wanted to take him on tour!

I was reading through some listener emails recently, and one suggested that I re-post the very first episode so it'll be available on iTunes. And judging from the numbers who've listened to my 25th Anniversary tribute to John Lennon, I'd say there are lots of listeners who haven't heard it yet.

So... here it is. A tribute to the work we did at KSCA. It was December of 1994, and we started playing a song by the then-unknown Dave Matthews Band. Listen.. you'll hear us talking of a couple of shows at The Whisky, a little bar that holds maybe 200 people... The show that night was sold out, but there were still some tickets available for Saturday night's show!

Discovering new artists and playing them... based on the quality of the music... that's what it was about. Hopefully I can do that on the radio again one of these days, preferably sooner than later!

As always, if you have any comments, I'd love to hear them at RadioOrNot at

Thanks for listening....