RKO (Radio Knockouts) seeks to profile hosts and producers of real radio . Think of these features as a guide to finding those who present diverse programming that can’t be found on mainstream media outlets. These are real people who love sharing the music and/or content they are providing.
Today, we feature Valis Hertel. Valis hosts the show Trip Inside This House, which can be heard every Tuesday from 5am to 7am CST operating from 88.1 KDHX, independent media for St. Louis and beyond.
Tell me a little bit about the history of you and your radio show Trip Inside This House?
The complete truth behind the genesis of the show is this: my wife and I moved back to St. Louis in 2005, after a 14-year odyssey, or “Odessey” if you like, away. A great friend of mine would come over for adult beverages and I’d play new music for him, mixed in with older stuff.
After a few years of this he and my wife began urging me to give KDHX, the local community radio station a try. This went on for some time, the constant badgering. My trepidation wasn’t with speaking on-air, nor with any lack of a musical focus for a show; it was the technology which drove the production. I thought it would be too much for me to sit there amidst all that gadgetry and try and breathe, too. Finally, my friend offered to go through the orientation with me and go through this process so I could at least rely on him if it got to be too much “techno-fear”, to quote the immortal Neil.
On the day of the orientation I called him and said, “I’ll do it but I need to go alone.” He agreed. So, orientation went well, I chose the “DJ Track” with its path to producing a show and set up my meetings with the production manager. He assured me, once I started, I’d perhaps use only four buttons -tops, ever. He was right! I made a demo disc of my show for the station’s Show Selection committee, along with play lists for four complete shows and a presentation package, too. I got called about two and a half months later and was offered the Tuesday, 5am to 7am, time slot. I leaped. That was nearly four years ago and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
Let me also add… I’d been sending out the “-valis Pick of the Week” for close to six years prior to my own show to various other psychedelic-oriented radio show DJs who I knew and interacted with. Then the blog, of the same name, continued and expanded the opportunity to create content exploring the genre.
What is the philosophy of the show?
Present the psychedelic genre as THE most creative and meaningful music ever recorded; from the original 1960s purveyors right up to the minute.
How do you view your role as host/producer?
Guide/Sherpa. To present as wide a scope of the genre as is possible each week given a two-hour format.
How does you show fit into KDHX’s programming?
I hope the show adds to the diversity of voice and perspective, not only for the local community but far far afield via the web site’s access to streaming audio.
When you aren’t doing your show, where can you be found?
Most of the time I’m down in my subterranean, that’s “basement”, lab’/office space, on the computer or scanning and reading new and old magazines and books on psychedelic music. I usually listen to around 40 hours of music a week and my shows reflect those listening habits, whether some new tidbit of trivia has excited me and I want to get that out there for listeners, or some great new band’s album has come across my Sennheisers.
In the evenings I spend that time with my wife, watching the sunset, talking, or listening to the St. Louis Cardinals. That’s the greatest team in National League history to you. 11-time World Champions. 18-time N.L. pennant winners…
I am asking all my on air guest these same eight questions relating to records , so will ask you them as well. Ready?
What is a record you have loved since you were a kid?
Depends on what age “kid” stops, but a few of my first loves, record-wise are Diana Ross & The Supremes . I had an Aunt who played it for me all the time; the Rolling Stones Satanic Majesties, another Aunt had it when my Uncle left for Vietnam service, and as a single Sam The Sham’s “Woolly Bully” was a first love.
What is a record you haven’t heard from since high school?
Quite a lot of albums from this period come to mind as “I’ve not heard the entire thing since ____”, e.g., the self-titled Ted Nugent album; Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours; most any AC/DC album and Van Halen’s first. On the opposite side, there are quite a few I still listen to.
What is a record that always wants to have a good time?
The debut B-52s album, with “Planet Claire”, etc.
What is a record that is way to smart for you?
I guess any Radiohead. I just don’t get all the hullabaloo over the band or their records. Never have.
What is a record whose coolness you have tried to imitate?
Hmmm, perhaps Primal Scream’s Screamadelica.
What is a record your other friend’s can’t stand?
Those people are not my friends. That said, my wife can’t stand now – nor back when I’d actually play it, Planet P. I don’t play it anymore.
What is a record that helps you relax?
Passages, by Shankar & Glass
What is a record you are trying to the get the courage to listen to?
Unsure any such record exists.
Turn the tables, if you’d like, and ask me a question.
What album best sums up your 20’s?
Wow…I am going to say Big Soul by The Original Sins. The band hailed from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and I was living in that area for most of my 20’s, so maybe it is the shared water supply. The album is a mix of loud and snotty combining and conflicting with moody and introspective songs that are emotionally intense in sound and substance. Yeah, that sums up ones 20’s
Trip Inside This House Tuesday 5am to 7am with Valis Hertel
5 thoughts on “RKO – Radio Knockouts: KDHX’s Valis Hertel”
We’re on a parallel plane TC. I’ve had Big Soul on my turntable for the past two days.
Nirvana got all of the Original Sins attention and money. Seattle sound? Please. It was Bethlehem, PA 5 years earlier, with better songs that weren’t all about ‘me’.
Good shit, Tom. Keep up the great work
Outstanding…valis is a rare bird…but proof they do b/make ’em like they used to…