The Voice of the Underground

Jim Santella, got his first commercial radio job In 1968 when WYSL-FM 103.3 decided to adopt the new progressive underground format and recruit college students as disc jockeys.  Santella, who had helped usher in the free-form revolution at public radio station WBFO during his earlier years, got the job at WYSL and started on Jan. 9, 1969.  From that day on Mr. Santella has moved up and down the FM dial of Buffalo radio peppering his long career in radio with controversy, fun and innovation.

In an interview with the Free Form Radio Blog Jim offered this insight into his style and broadcast philosophy; “Everyone suddenly discovered all this music,” he recalls. “We played Elton John when Elton John was dangerous to play. It was the time of Frank Zappa, the Who, Genesis at the beginning that gave those bands the opportunity to be heard. There was no such thing as what you couldn’t play. We didn’t know anything about radio. We weren’t really disc jockeys. We were college kids who were hippies. It was my choice—so much so that I thought it was my right to play what I wanted to. Since (station management) didn’t pay much attention, you knew how to get away with playing what you thought was best.”

As a group of fledgling producers Carl, Chaela, Nina, Whitney and I love to “get away” with what we want to produce and we were truly inspired by our meeting with Jim during the initial stages of Sounds & Echoes.  “Trying to pick definitive music is like choosing one’s favorite child” says Jim, “ but here are six songs and artists that I wouldn’t mind identifying as Buffalo talent.”

1. Stan Czelest “Ain’t That A Lot Of Love” single

2. Raven “None of Your Jive” “Raven”

3. Goo Goo Dolls “Dizzy” LP Version

4. Ani DiFranco “32 Flavors” Not A Pretty Girl

5. Gamalon “Tecumseh” “High Contrast”

6. Talas “Shy Boy” Single


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