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Electro Lounge Article in Philadelphia Inquirer

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Further proof that Jacksonville isn't behind the times, its whoever is saying that Jacksonville is behind the times:

Posted on Sat, Apr. 02, 2005

Wake-up call for night radio

By Daniel Rubin

Inquirer Staff Writer

At 10:15 on a Wednesday night it's too early for cocoa, and I'm certainly not ready for embalming fluid, which is what's playing on the radio right now on WXPN-FM's time-honored but, to me, wrong-houred Echoes program.

What is this show doing on at this time on this station?

I'm not ready to be dimming the lights and drawing up an aural bath just yet. There's some promise left in the night. I want something to keep the blood percolating.

It's no better down the dial. On WMMR, someone's pitching a remedy for baldness. 'YSP's telling me not to drink and drive. Elsewhere, U2's proclaiming it a "Beautiful Day," and the Young Rascals are "Groovin' " on a Sunday afternoon.

I don't want ads. I want someone who knows what time it is.

I want Electro Lounge.

I found it in Jacksonville, Fla., of all places. Philadelphians weren't too wowed by the Super Bowl host's continuous loop of strip malls and chicken-fried steaks. But there's one area where the city had its groove on.

It was a Tuesday night, just after 10 o'clock, and there amid all the God and country on the FM dial was St. Germain's "Rose Rouge," from the Parisian producer's Tourist CD, a jazzy blend of trance, piano and trumpet.

When a version of Roxy Music's "More Than This" followed - done as a kicked-back duet by singer Norah Jones and guitarist Charlie Hunter - I knew I had my guide for the night, and the DJ didn't let me down.

Bob Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody" and Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man" added some grit, while still respecting the hour. The set ended with "Begin the Beguine" electronica-style, from a Cole Porter tribute produced by South Beach's Billy Paul Williams.

Reached recently by phone, Electro Lounge's creator, David Luckin, described his show this way: "It's sort of dance meets jazz," the sort of eclectic late-night stuff he used to hear over a West German radio station in 1980 during a semester abroad.

Although he serves plenty of down-tempo and chill-out tunes, Sinatra and Miles get time, too. "When I listen to music, I don't see categories," said Luckin, who worked for 19 years as a television news photographer and sees his mission as near-journalistic. "I try to create a journey."

John Diliberto is creating his own journey with Echoes. Since 1989, the former Penn football player has been mixing the show from his Chester County home. It's a soothing, out-of-body tonic, a slow drip of acoustic and electronic soundscapes.

I'm just not ready for my slippers at that hour.

Bruce Warren, station manager at 'XPN, says he moved Echoes up an hour from its 11 p.m. start two years ago after noticing that evening rock shows were drawing light audiences.

The Arbitron ratings books showed a huge drop for 'XPN after Kids Corner, the 7 to 8 weeknight children's show, he said, and numbers didn't perk up again until Echoes - particularly among the public station's most loyal listeners.

Listenership has picked up, Warren says, quoting numbers, and backing his man. "John plays some incredible music. He is the best in his field. There is a lot of crossover of people who love 'XPN and its rock-and-roll mix and the people who listen to Echoes."

He had a piece of advice for cranky listeners who are not ready to call it a night. "Put on a record."

Contact staff writer Daniel Rubin

at 215-854-5958 or [email protected]

A lo-fi version of Electro Lounge can be heard on the Web from 9 to 11 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 10 to 11 p.m. Saturdays at http://www.wjct.org/electro_lounge/

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