Ann Arbor calling: Is Tree Town really a hotbed of musical creativity, or is that just a legend nurtured by aging boomers, nostalgic for the days when Commander Cody and Cub Koda spread the city's fame across the country? Jim Griffin is about to find out.
In October Griffin launched the first-ever all Ann Arbor radio station - on the Internet. An artistically inclined techie -- he runs Griff's Jams, a kind of musical salon, in the old WAPG radio station downtown - Griffin is convinced web radio is about to take off. His ambition is to make annarboralive.com one of the world's 100 top webcasters within five years. For now his local/indie channel - the first of several planned to showcase the local performing arts scene - is putting Ann Arbor's creative self-image to the test: it plays all Ann Arbor music, all the time. The webcasts include some blasts from the past, like Cub Coda and the Rationals, but Griffin says he'll consider playing anything the artist will sign a release on. By his estimate, as many 8,000 people in town may have produced CDs, and he hopes to have 800 playing by the end of October. The channel launched with about 200, but even with limited selection, he says, the city sounds good. "The first day we got the channel up, I went home and listened for three hours," he says. "And even though we did whole CDs --- we didn't pick the best tracks - I was real pleased. It sounded like radio."