Susan Dey talks about the Andes Battle of the Bands

Alan Light/Flickr
July 10, 2013


CHRIS: We have here Joe Piasek who is the managing consultant and executive producer at WIOX Community Radio in Roxbury and Susan Dey who many of our listeners may know from her roles in the Partridge Family and LA Law in the ‘70s and ‘80s. And they’re to talk about the Andes Battle of the Bands, which is sponsored by WIOX and Andes Works! And it’s taking place Saturday July 13th. So I want to thank both of you for stopping in.

JOE: Certainly.

SUSAN: Thank you, Chris.

CHRIS: So I just want to start off by asking you a question about WIOX. It’s an all volunteer station serving the community of Roxbury and the surrounding areas. What do each of you do there in your involvement with the station.

JOE: Age before beauty? I’ll go first…that means. Um. That’s a great question because it is in all-volunteer station. It covers much of the Catskill Mountains on FM. And all of the various digital devices. But it’s really made up of ninety or more than ninety regular volunteers who come in and produce very diverse programming. It’s a hyper-local all live radio station with a great relationship with WSKG, I might add, in the morning for Morning Edition. But for the rest of the time it is about as diverse as you can imagine. Musically, talk, news, information, humor—sometimes by accident—it’s certainly the most unique radio station I’ve ever heard. And my role is to keep it from falling apart. Or maybe keep it at the edge so that it can go anywhere.

CHRIS: Susan—how are you involved with the station? You’re just a loyal supporter of WIOX in Roxbury?

SUSAN: I’m a grateful supporter. Grateful and loyal. And it was really important when they came. And it meant a lot to me because I love the area. You know, across the United States, it’s just an area where there’s just a lot of small little towns that aren’t necessarily…they don’t necessarily feel that they are connected and yet it’s that connective tissue that gives them their strength. I loved the diversity that Joe referred to. I love the music. I love the fact that what they were promoting was not the homogenized sound that you hear on commercial radio. So I went out and bought a radio.

CHRIS: You didn’t have a radio…?

SUSAN: No…who has a radio anymore? So I went out and bought a radio and spent that extra couple dollars for the wire antenna. And when I put it together and I taped the antenna to my window and turned it on and I could get WIOX, I was so excited. Because it is a connection.

CHRIS: Well you were involved with putting this Battle of the Bands on. Give me a little bit of backstory on how this Battle of the Bands came about. I know it’s the second one—how did it go last year and how do you expect it to go next year?

SUSAN: I was asked by the fire chief in Andes, NY if I could do this for the town. A little backstory—is that I had moved there in the area since 2007. And one of the first things that came up on my radar was this issue of hydro-fracking, which is, I didn’t move there for that. And, um, I spent a long time—over a year, year and a half—learning, reading, trying to understand what this was about. And unbeknownst to me there were people like myself who were doing the very same thing. And slowly a group of people got together and we decided that we wanted to do what we could to preserve the land that was around us, to preserve the water, to protect from heavy industry. And part of that was basically fighting and educating and fighting, and we were able to get a ban in our town.

But it was also the concept that it wasn’t enough for us just to say no to something. We wanted to get behind and support the economic development for this area. And there are many different ways that has been happening out of Andes Works! which isn’t even an organization. We’ve been so busy that we haven’t had to time to be an organization. We’re just doing things. And we raised money for a park that needed to cut down and plant trees after the hurricane. We created rail trails with New York Parks and Trails. We’ve been actively involved in creating a positive kind of growth. And the fire chief came to me and asked me if I could do this. And I suppose he thought that I had some kind of background in music because of the Partridge Family, even though I did not sing, and my piano was stuffed so it did not make a sound.

CHRIS: So you never sang…


SUSAN: Um, so he asked me to do this. And there were just about four of us, and we weren’t getting very far at all. And then somebody said, “Why don’t you see if WIOX Radio can get involved.” And that’s when I called Joe last year. And we had our first event. We had seven bands, and it was fabulous. It was hard work, but it was worth it when, the day of the event, to watch these musicians performing. To feel their passion. To feel the courage that they had to come and do this. And that’s why we’re doing it again.

CHRIS: So you’re giving these bands the opportunity to be heard? And throughout the region? Bands can enter from Binghamton?

SUSAN: Oh yeah…last year we did. We had a band from Binghamton, we had a band from Oneonta. Um…Atlas Arrows won last year from Binghamton. They were a good band. If they’re listening…we miss you.

CHRIS: So this is taking place July 13th. Where is it taking place?

SUSAN: The fire department is holding this in Andes.

CHRIS: So our listeners hear it here first. The Andes Battle of the Bands that will be broadcast from 6-8 PM, the finals will be. And I guess anyone in our area can feel free to go to Andes for the day. And watch this whole thing unfold.

CHRIS: Joe Piasek and Susan Dey. Thank you for joining us. I really appreciate it.

SUSAN AND JOE: Thanks, Chris.