Name my radio show!
June 7, 2015 6:41 PM   Subscribe

OK, we have a low-power community radio station starting up, and even though doing radio was never on my bucket list, it's such an exciting project (and group of people) that I've decided to get a show while there are still open slots in the schedule. The only problem is that I can't settle on a good name, and it's really important to me that I have one that works.

The show will cover a variety of topics with a local focus (our range isn't that great, although we do stream, too). Historic preservation and local history is the top one, followed probably by issues of downtown development, sustainability, walkability, and so forth -- the New Urbanist and Strong Towns package. Then my remit will segue into things like bicycling and hiking without sliding all the way into an outdoors show.

Options that I have rejected include almost anything that's my name, Dan, mostly because I don't want "me" to be the focus; I'd like the name to instead indicate what a farrago of a show I'll have. I could possibly go with an online pseudonym I've used, Janesvillean (a deliberate variant of my city's demonym -- frankly, I just don't like the way the "ville" turns to "villian"). It's OK and I may use it temporarily, but I don't love it; I'd rather describe the content than make it about me.

Other options might be the nickname of Janesville, Bower City, in some fashion. A lot of people really like that and it does somewhat evoke both history and the idea of greening the city or appreciating its nicer aspects. In the same vein, I have a probably personal affection for the name Wisconsin City, which was a town that was platted but never approved or built. To me it sounds almost exciting -- I'm thinking "Kansas City, here I come", and I lived in both New York City and Jersey City, so the name feels urban to me. To others it just sounds generic, though.

A Chicago public radio show that I really liked was Gretchen Helfrich's Odyssey. (Bonus, follow the links and she's in an early OK Go video. No, not one of the viral ones.) I don't want to steal that name and even that sounds too broad for my purposes but I like how it suggests open-ended possibilities.

So maybe a name that suggests a mix-and-match approach; one of my favorite books is Guns, Germs and Steel. This one, though, was pretty universally rejected by my studio-mates -- "Bricks and Branches". I still like the euphony but most of them though it sounded like brickbats or arguments and rants rather than suggesting how I would focus on both the built and natural environments.

So there you have it. The only other thing to maybe use, metaphorically, might be the Rock River running through town. Oh, and the classic standard "I Love You Truly", which was written by our own Carrie Jacobs-Bond across the street from the radio station, which I am hoping to get recorded and maybe use in some fashion on my show, if its saccharine doesn't overly discomfit me.
posted by dhartung to Grab Bag (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Truly Janesville.
posted by themanwho at 7:02 PM on June 7, 2015

Best answer: I'm going to have to go with "Bricks & Branches," to me it doesn't sound at all like arguments and rants, it sounds like an urban neighborhood. Anybody who thinks "arguments & rants" will change their mind after the first episode.

Oh! & yay! Radio!!!
posted by Floydd at 7:16 PM on June 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Bower City Odysseys?
posted by jaguar at 7:23 PM on June 7, 2015

"Jane Says"? You could use the riff from the Jane's Addiction song as a leader.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:26 PM on June 7, 2015

Some variation on Titiana's "Lead him to my bower" from A Midsummer Night's Dream? (Scroll to the very end of that page.)

Lead us to the bower
Lead you to the bower
Leading us to the bower
Lead you to my bower
posted by jaguar at 7:27 PM on June 7, 2015

"Living in Janesville" lets you do historical and current topics under one theme. Though "Live From Janesville" makes me think of the old Sat. Night Live skits which I like.
posted by stray thoughts at 7:44 PM on June 7, 2015

Janesville Journal
Bower City Beat
Bower City Backstory
Bower City Stories
Rock River Radio
posted by inturnaround at 7:46 PM on June 7, 2015

City Servings
You are Here

And because I can't resist how terrible this would be, The Bower Power Hour
posted by prewar lemonade at 7:55 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Combining a few of your options:
Bricks & Bowers
posted by eponym at 8:19 PM on June 7, 2015

Best answer: Absolute Bower
Bower to You
Jane Doe
One Park Place
The Lucky Curve
posted by carmicha at 8:42 PM on June 7, 2015

Bricks, Branches, Bower.
posted by safetyfork at 8:48 PM on June 7, 2015

Could your range potentially cover the majority of your county? I was thinking someting similar to inturnaround, like Rock River Revival, Rock County Ruminations, or something like that. Seems like if you're edging into outdoor topics, a name with a broader base than Janesville is justified.
posted by LionIndex at 9:12 PM on June 7, 2015

Janesville Tonight
posted by Cosine at 9:26 PM on June 7, 2015

Janesville So Far.
posted by jamjam at 9:46 PM on June 7, 2015

Bower to the people
posted by askmehow at 9:55 PM on June 7, 2015

Response by poster: Some decent suggestions above, and thank you, Floydd -- you're the first positive response I've gotten for B&B and this may tip the game!

themanwho, that's a nice way to join them, but the name almost makes me feel it would be more about personalities than ideas -- and the genesis of the radio station is a podcast called Discover Janesville, which is just that.

JoeZydecko, the problem with that is that we're named after a man named Janes, not a woman named Jane (the opposite of all our namesakes, actually). Also, not really a 90s alt-rock guy. OK, that's not entirely true. Pumpkins, man. Besides, I am hoping to build an audience, then hit them with this. Popes, man. And who doesn't love a good Fuck You Song?

carmicha, bonus points for referencing the pen invented here.

LionIndex, we're low power so our broadcast range is probably not even the entire city! :( And while I might touch on some of the communities or county history here and there I don't think "the county" gives the right impression. I'd feel obligated to do a corn futures report.

Thread still open! Keep 'em coming!
posted by dhartung at 9:56 PM on June 7, 2015

The Brick Forest
posted by snez at 10:29 PM on June 7, 2015

JanesWorld. :)
posted by taz at 3:50 AM on June 8, 2015

oooh ooooh, wait! "Jane Air"

(I can't decide if this is excruciatingly bad, or pure brilliance.)
posted by taz at 3:56 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Bower Hour?

Using the Rock River theme, Currents?

I like Bricks and Branches and Rock River Radio, too.
posted by readery at 4:52 AM on June 8, 2015

Best answer: Music shows are easier to name I think, for example "Bower City Blues" has a nice ring to it. Jane Air would be an awesome name if your focus was lit or environment. And I like the aforementioned Bower City Stories. I don't know how long your show will be but you could have your main topic or a guest and then end the show with a bower city story from a listener during the last 5 minutes. People could write in about something that happened to them in the last few weeks that either exemplifies the town or demonstrates a concern.

Anyway... whatever you choose, have a great time. I did radio for 16 years and loved it!
posted by mulcahy at 6:12 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Catalyst and Currents (hmm, together?) have appeal.

Oh, range might still be limited due to our tower placement and terrain. We're crossing our fingers.

mulcahy, I used to have a D&D character by that name.

I forgot one option I've considered, a jocular nickname some use: Janesburg. It comes across as sarcastic and negative to some, though, the way that "Chi-Town" or "Frisco" grate on their residents. Something like The Janesburg Report sounds newsy and serious but the name lets you know it isn't completely (and while I have MacNeil/Lehrer Report in mind, Colbert is probably the more direct association). Aaaaand you see why I've been going in circles.
posted by dhartung at 2:06 PM on June 8, 2015

So, I know the area a bit (lived in Madison). Still, I went to Wikipedia. Apparently Janesville was very welcoming to German immigrants (and their descendants clearly are an important part of the fabric of WI today). They had a German-language newspaper, The Janesville Journal. Maybe use that as a name for your show. It fits it, and it's a nod to Wisconsin's and Janesville's immigrant past.

And while you're deciding on a name, write to Madison and tell Walker et al. that getting rid of tenure will be a death sentence for UW.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:23 AM on June 9, 2015

Response by poster: Yeah, we've done our best to elect an Assemblywoman (Kolste) and State Senator (Ringhand), but as you may have heard there is practically no communication across the aisle and the GOP caucus is just doing what it wants, nodding only as absolutely necessary to the idea of citizen or stakeholder input. I would suggest that a death sentence for the UW is pretty close to the intended result. Sorry for the derail, but it is appropriate -- the impetus for this radio station began with a desire to have an alternative newspaper, and to sidestep things like our very reactionary local media.

I'll be mooting some of these suggestions at a volunteer event tomorrow.
posted by dhartung at 11:51 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: OK, my "soft launch" (wherein I am interviewed by someone else) is now scheduled for next Monday at 11am CST. I'll share a link when I know where it can be found. As of right now I think I am settling on Bricks and Branches after all, which is NOT to say that this discussion hasn't been helpful. There are some oddball names to our other shows, and I don't think this one particularly stands out in that regard and does have a "listen to find out" quality with a sort of "aha moment" when you get it.
posted by dhartung at 3:27 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by carmicha at 8:09 PM on June 16, 2015

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