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Radio revolutions

WERS’s late-night dance moves; Monocle raids Detroit  
By DAVID DAY  |  May 23, 2006

DJ Sarin, Lee Doerr and Alden Fertig of WERS

Tune in 88.9 FM weekdays from midnight to 3 am and you’re going to hear dance music. It’s been that way for a while. REVOLUTIONS, started by local house DJ MIKE WALSH, recently celebrated its 10th year on the air. With a powerful signal, consistent programming, and professional DJs, the Emerson College radio show is one of the pivots of power for dance music in New England. Frequent guests have included international and national acts, too: RÖYKSOPP, THIEVERY CORPORATION, and M83 came by this year alone. DJs SARIN (a/k/a Rob Desisto) and LEE DOERR and WERS operations manager ALDEN FERTIG sat down to fill us in on strategy and tactics. “Success for us,” says Doerr, “is measured on how many people in our community are reacting. How many phone calls are we getting? We’re trying to appeal to all sorts of people: the people that go to Avalon and Rise and the people who go to the loft parties downtown. It’s hard, but you find a balance.”

WERS reaches a potentially huge tri-state audience. Desisto listened to Revolutions while growing up in New Hampshire. “I came to Emerson for WERS.” The show draws a large part of its listenership from Providence, and the DJs take calls from house parties in Worcester. Revolutions balances multiple genres (drum ’n’ bass, breaks, house, trance) by employing a number of different DJs; at 12:30 each night, one of them is mixing his or her top five tracks. This Friday, early-morning club DJ HUGE, from Providence, stops in; next Friday, DJ KARES of the Boston Breaks posse visits the ’ERS studios on Tremont Street.

Despite their brushes with stars, the three are more into turning people onto their favorite sounds. “Success is when you get the guy who calls up and is like a 40-year-old dude and obviously isn’t very familiar with the music and is like, ‘What is this, this is fucking awesome!’,” says Fertig, who started on the dance show in 2000 and now runs the station’s daily operations. “Especially in the middle of a DJ set. When you have an awesome DJ, the phones light up. That to me is the coolest part. You can put it out there and everyone can go.”

Revolutions also gives away tickets nightly to clubs like Rise and Avalon. And each night the show spotlights one local production. “We’re all about collaboration, people sending in their mixes and music,” says Doerr. Yet their success comes from their passion. “The last show I missed was when my kid was born,” Desisto laughs. “I was like, ‘He was delivered before midnight, I am coming down there!’ ” Fertig adds, “I think Rob’s line was ‘Football players go play the game when they have kids!’ And it’s like, ‘Yeah, but they also get paid millions of dollars!’ ” Everyone laughs as Doerr chimes in, “I had some Red Bull waiting for him, though, just in case.”

Berklee-trained MONOCLE recently played their sultry tech house at WERS to a receptive audience. The duo of DANNY PATTERSON and CHRISTINA CHATFIELD fashion a mean brand of minimal grooves that’s getting attention from some high-profile corners. “We can’t exactly say when the EP comes out,” says Patterson, “since we haven’t gotten anything signed yet.” For now, they can be heard at their Web site,, and on MySpace. They’ll be label-shopping this weekend at the Movement Music Festival in Detroit, the biggest of its kind. . . . Yours truly DJs the ultra-hot Paper party Friday for a one-night-only move to the Middle East downstairs. The night also features live performances from the CHINESE STARS, LORD & FRESH, and LANNEN FALL; I’ll be dropping nasty party jams alongside resident DJ ERIC MARCELINO (Sex Positions). Those of you who have been on the Paper’s post-Harpers tour (which saw it go all the way to Club Lido!) will be happy to know the club night has found a permanent home. Beginning June 2, Andrew, Eric, Eric, and their cadre of 400-plus party animals descends at Bill’s Bar on Landsdowne Street for regular weekly dance mayhem.

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  Topics: New England Music News , Danny Patterson , Entertainment , Dance ,  More more >
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