November Genre DJ of the Month:
Ken Luther the Metal Professor
Tell us about WVLP. How did it get started and how does it uniquely serve the Valparaiso market?
WVLP went on the air in 2003. We are a non-profit all volunteer low power FM community radio station … well, almost all volunteer, as we have a station manager Gregg Kovatch who gets a very small stipend each month that does not come close to matching all the work he puts in. We present a lot of shows hosted by local people with a large variety of interests – with music shows from classical to heavy metal, and talk shows from politics to cooking. We provide a pipeline for publicity of local events and have a daily news hour at 7am during which volunteers read news items on international to local interests.
How long have you been at WVLP? How did you first hear about it & what is your history there?
I was one of the first people on the air on WVLP, and at first, we had to prerecord our shows in a small recording studio because the ability to broadcast live was not there yet. I honestly don’t remember how I got in touch with the station manager Rick Watson at that time, but I had just come out of doing a metal show on a community radio station in Bloomington, IN (WFHB) while going to school there, and knew I wanted to continue. After a few years, I stepped away for quite a while and did occasional shows on our University station WVUR. Then I came back to WVLP about 2 years ago. I will name drop Bill Paige, who hosts The Blues Drive; he and I had back to back slots on Wednesday nights when the station first went on the air, and unlike me, he has continued to do his show all along ever since then.
Your bio says you are a math professor by day and a metal show host by night. Do you have students that are fans of the show?
I’ve never been informed that I have any regular listeners in the student crowd. I think they’re pretty shocked to learn that this old professor guy has a heavy metal radio show.
What is your favorite album of 2018 so far?
Tiara, by Seventh Wonder. It just came out in October.
Do you have a favorite artist or album you never get tired of listening to?
My current favorite band in the universe is Seventh Wonder (see above). For things I never get tired of hearing, I can list some obvious ones like pretty much any album from Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, or Rush. On the more obscure category, I can list anything from the 1970’s era of Tangerine Dream, Pacific Coast Highway by Christopher Franke, and Remedy Lane by Pain of Salvation.
What is the best live show you have ever attended?
I’m going to cheat here because my answer doesn’t involve one artist, but a whole festival – ProgPower USA in Atlanta, Georgia. And my first visit there, ProgPower III in 2002, was the single best musical event I’ve ever attended: the roster that included Pain of Salvation, Gamma Ray, Angra, Edguy, Threshold, and Blind Guardian cemented my love of the genre, and I made life long friends that I still see (almost) every year.
Who is an artist or band completely outside the realm of metal that people might be surprised to know you love?
Hands down, it’s Yanni. Metal aside, I love anything with a good melody, and his music is chock full of that. I’ve seen him live several times.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Visiting my Grandmother in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, riding her large adult sized tricycle, and going to the lighthouse down at the end of the road.
What event/or individual in your life would you say shaped you the most as a person?
I’m sure the correct answer is “My parents!” But in the spirit of music and radio, I’ll cite the Iron Maiden concert in Cincinnati, OH in 1983 on their Piece of Mind tour. My friend John and I didn’t know a whole lot about them, but got great seats on the floor of the arena. Never having seen pictures of them, I imagined black leather-and-spike clad nut-jobs coming out and screaming in my face for 2 hours. But, they came out in colorful attire, the singer wore a white lace shirt, I could actually understand the lyrics, and best of all, they played a song based on Dune, by Frank Herbert – which was one of my favorite books at the time. This blew my mind and created a musical obsession that I have to this day. If I didn’t see that concert, I may have gotten more into the Michael Jackson craze, and be a totally different person today, and may not have experienced my answer to #6!
If you could choose, what time period in the past would you most want to travel back to and visit and why?
Probably the late 1800s, so I could be part of the wild west. I don’t think I’d participate in the the “wild” part of it, but the idea of being able to hop on a horse and ride into the panoramas of the west where you would not see another human being for miles is quite attractive!
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Valparaiso you always make sure to take guests/visitors to?
When the budget is good, this would be Don Quixote. It’s an authentic Spanish restaurant where you can get paella and things like that. The owners are great, and they come out to give personal attention to guests. You never know when a complimentary appetizer plate could be offered to you just because they are trying out a new dish and want to see how people like it.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
“Acknowledge, adapt, move on.” I think I may have heard this in a movie or TV show. Don’t get hung up on things you can’t change.
Dog or Cat? Dog, for sure.
Cold drinks or hot ones? Cold.
Morning Person or Night Owl? At my age? Neither. But I’ll say Night Owl.
City or Country? City, but grudgingly (which contradicts my answer to #10, I know …)
Watch TV or Read A Book? In an ideal world, Read A Book. In actual daily life? Watch TV.
Winter or Summer? Summer.
Dine or Delivery? Delivery.
Fly or drive? Drive.
Pants or Shorts? Pants.
Do you have any current favorite TV show obsessions? What is the best movie you’ve seen so far in 2018?
TV: Lucha Underground, The Last Ship, My Hero Academia, Monty Python’s Flying Circus (because it just got released on Netflix!).
Best (new) movie I’ve seen in 2018: Hereditary.
Finally, and most importantly: With Thanksgiving coming this month, what’s is your favorite food for the holiday?
Corn pudding. I always take a tiny bit of turkey to be polite, but it’s really all about the side dishes. And corn pudding wins. If anyone wants to make some for me, here’s a recipe from allrecipes.com:
(1) Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
(2) In a large bowl, lightly beat 5 eggs. Add 1/3 cup melted butter, ¼ cup sugar, and ½ cup milk. Whisk in 4 Tbsp cornstarch. Stir in 1 can corn and 2 cans creamed corn. Blend well. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish.
(3) Bake for 1 hour.
(4) Feed to Ken.