The beauty of it is we went in cold.

No scripted breaks or outlines. Just two guys alone in a studio (frankly, often alone in an entire office building) talking about the music that interested us and playing it as well. On a big ol’ Clear Channel Modern Rock Station in Hartford.

It’s been five years since Jefferson Waful and I debuted on WMRQ with our Jam Nation radio show and as I look up at my wall of DATS, I now appreciate the experience all the more.

_Jefferson in studio_

Frankly I don’t want to over sentimentalize. At times I wanted to kick back with my family on a Sunday night rather than make the mad dash to Hartford. And I certainly don’t miss those frantic car rides trying to get there in time for the show’s opening (and I will admit that on occasion Jeff would call me from the studio while I was still in my car where we would discuss what the first song would be, after which I would hear him introduce the show and then start in with that selection while I was still en route to the show). In addition, on rare occasion, we could be ever-so-slightly testy with another after talking all week on the phone, back when he was the news editor (although I think that when some of that bled onto the air and we dug in with our disparate opinions, the show was all the better for it).

Our last year in Hartford I was also using my free time to complete my Jambands book so I was extra fried (and batter-dipped). But still, I have the DATs…

You see the amazing thing about Jam Nation was not just that we were on a Clear Channel modern rock station (at the time Dee Snider and Co. handled the morning shift and on Mondays he would berate us for liberating cloying beverages from the Sobe machine which as far as I knew were available for everyone- and for the record we never did…until he started accusing us, of course). No what really elevated Jam Nation was that our program director Todd Thomas had the vision to deliver the show the way it should be done, so that twice a month we had full-on electric live performances. They sounded right too, thanks to our gifted engineer, Chris Russo (a Phish alum, who last I heard was on the road with Guster- alas, he wasn’t available the night we had the New Deal perform but that’s a story for another day). Anyhow, the resulting DATs now sit above me.

Incidentally, although this reads something like a post mortem, Jam Nation does still exist. However, in late summer 2003 WMRQ flipped formats becoming Power 104, focusing on hip-hop, so we lost our flagship station along with our performance space. Jeff and I still do the show, you can hear it Thursday nights on XM Music Lab (Channel 51), it’s just a little different. I am hoping that one day we can pick it up again old school style (and this may yet happen, so stay tuned…)

Okay, all of this is well and good but how does it relate to Well this month marks the debut of Dean’s Downloads on the site, where we are offering up free mp3’s for your enjoyment. I intend to rotate much of the Jam Nation archives into play (including the occasional cheesy promo as well).

Alas, no talk breaks. For now, I’ll leave those to staffers Mike Greenhaus and Benjy Eisen for their Cold Turkey…

Later days and peace,