CKUWho :: Trouble With The Sandman


David Tymoshchuck is an integral member of the CKUW radio team. As the musical director and host of Trouble with the Sandman which has been breaking down walls in the overnight radio game since he graced Winnipeg from his hometown just outside of Riverton, Manitoba. Random features the hour of suck, backwards music and the dawn yodeller have become instrumental to Thursday night radio.

Stylus: How long has your show been running on CKUW? What changes and developments have taken place since you started the show compared to what it is today?
David Tymoshchuk: About two and a half years. I am not a morning person and previously, I always had morning shows where I had to stay up all night just so I could show up on time. Because If I had gone to bed, I would always sleep in and miss my slot. I thought “this is stupid” and offered to do the overnights. When the Tuesday midnight-2:00am program Pool of the Black Star ended I remember our Program Director, Robin being shocked at the offer of doing a fill-in. “Really?! You actually want to do the whole six hours?”  So that was spring of 2011, at least I think it was spring.

It was a very raw format. I had no idea how I was going to fill in all those hours.  It was a real crap-shoot, I kept changing the name every week, started the show by playing a field recording of croaking frogs for half an hour to chase off listeners then start the program (I was still a bit shy and nervous on the microphone back then).  I played random 7 inch records I found at the station and if I thought they sucked I’d vacuum the studio carpet live on mic over the music (and the hour of suck was born.) I did my first themed shows in that Tuesday slot (music from 8-bit crack intros and the beginnings of the demo scene, and the other one I remember was electromagnetic dawn chorus, whistlers, and background VLF noise).

I left that slot when a hip-hop show applied for it and I declined to apply for it as well. When the Wednesday electronic show Nocturnal Radio was done I took that slot over. First show was November 24, 2011 and somehow I am still here, and officially on the schedule (in front of your face in this magazine, it’s weird seeing your own show printed there.)  The current show has less frogs, but many rotating features that never are scheduled at the proper times because I’m a little too organic (read: unorganized) for that.  Now six hours just flies by.  Listening to the sheer volume of new music I’m cataloguing in the Music Department helps. Often the first play of a new record on CKUW is in the dead of night when I play it. I should add that late night radio is the least profitable and therefore neglected slot that other stations leave to robots, repeated daytime shows or syndicated feeds if you are lucky.  I can’t stand by and watch the opportunity of overnight radio go untapped.

Stylus: What is the most memorable show you have hosted in the over night slot?
DT: Not show per se, they all blur.  I have moments that stick out though. A listener calling at 4:00am to request psychedelic music because he finished his busboy shift and wanted to drop some acid. The few times I’ve had live performers or guest hosts on. I’ve only had twop artists perform live: JohNNy SiZZle, and Mallory Knox. It seems only the real underground bands agree to show up, I’ve asked others.

Stylus: Does the overnight slot allow you to “get away” with more risqué topics?
DH: Yes. The dead of night means less listeners are tuning in but allows for a more relaxed format so I’m free to really practice radio as an art form instead of some “infortainment” product. Also, due to the length of the time slot, I am able to play entire albums, concerts, discographies, and that four hour long song.

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Stylus: What does your job as musical director entail? How much music is coming through CKUW on a regular basis?
DH: My office job involves training volunteers in the Music Department, who help me in maintaining the CKUW Music Collection (physically, the largest radio station music library in Manitoba that I’m aware of).  I am the liaison between CKUW and record labels, artists, distributors.  So I obtain new records for the station. Also, I’m responsible for compiling the weekly Top 30 charts for the CKUW website, and reporting those to various industry charts (Earshot!, CMJ) and also a special chart for Stylus. Tons of music comes through, from who knows where. I’d guestimate 5-20 pieces a day in all formats depending on the time of year. We always have a backlog to go through in all formats (CD/Vinyl/Cassette/Digital) and we reject a fair amount because we simply do not have the hours or space to process it all. Local music is a priority however and I wish local bands would send us more.

Stylus: What bands or musical acts or events inspired you to become involved in community radio?
DT: I grew up outside of Riverton, Manitoba so campus/community radio is out of FM range there. I did get a weak signal of Brave New Waves on a good night before the CBC cancelled that show.   Then I came to the ‘Peg and CKUW just got on the air a few months before. I was a fan of DJ Vom’s Scratching the Surface Noise (heard the Minutemen, and the Weirdos for the first time), and Midnight in the 8th Dimension with Andy O. Before Web 2.0 and music streaming those shows were a huge influence, and when I became a student years later at the U of W, I saw the table for signing up and joined because it seemed like a good thing to check out.

Stylus: What are a few of your favourite recent additions to the CKUW library?
DT: Hobocop, Nox Boys, Surprise Party’s demo cassette, Flesh Lite, Odonis’s all a blur.

Trouble with the Sandmanbroadcasts every Thursday from 12:00am – 6:00am on 95.9 FM or online at Listen in. Hey bands! Do not hesitate to come down to CKUW and drop of your music!

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