Barsuk's Radio Man Digs Camping, Dylan, and Baked Goods

Ask him what he thinks about the consolidation of radio interests.

Wes Howerton knows a whole lot of secret spots in this state. Most of those he'd like to keep to himself, but on the topic of what gets him out of bed in the morning, it's full disclosure for Barsuk Record's radio/marketing man.

Where are you from, and what brought you to Seattle?

I'm from Arkansas. I was sick of living there and had a friend going to grad school at UW. He said I could stay with him until I found a job, so I moved. The day I moved to Seattle was the first time I ever stepped foot in the city.

What was your first job working in music?

I was the music director at KXUA, the University of Arkansas' college radio station.

How did you get it?

I was the one willing to give tons of my time for no money.

What drew you to this minefield?

I'm willing to give tons of my time for very little money.

Break down what you do now for Barsuk:

I promote our records to radio stations all over the country, from college to commercial radio. I also help with marketing our bands' tours.

How did you come to work there?

When I moved here, I started as an intern at another record label here in town. I had a great time, so I decided to start asking around about other jobs in the city. I was in the right place at the right time, I guess. Oh, and I'm willing to give tons of my time for little money.

How do you get a station to play Barsuk bands?

I offer them baked goods.

What's the worst thing about dealing with radio people?

Well, some of the commercial stations have some serious dicks working there, so they tend to make things a little less than fun. (Side note: People that work at the End and the Mountain don't fall into this stereotype.)

What are your thoughts on media consolidation and entities like Clear Channel?

I think that they're sucking the soul out of radio. The local aspect of radio is quickly fading, with more and more programming being done from somewhere else. There are several people at the FCC that feel the same way and are trying to change things. Unfortunately, money talks loudest in our government.

What's the best thing about your job?

I actually enjoy getting out of bed everyday to go to work. I think that's the greatest thing in the world.

Favorite place to see a show out of town:

Probably the Mercury Lounge in N.Y.C. [It's a] small room with a good sound system and great lines of sight from everywhere in the room.

What's the most irritating thing that's happened to you on the job:

Someone insulted my baked goods.

What was the first song you requested on the radio?

Chicago's "Look Away." I was very young.

Where is the best camping spot in the state?

Off Highway 2 north of Index, down a forest road. That's all I will reveal because I don't want everyone else camping there, too.

Favorite lunch item or place to get lunch in Georgetown:

Lunch special at Coliman, perhaps the best Mexican food in Seattle.

Top five records of all time:

Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks

Ester Drang, Goldenwest

Neil Young, After the Gold Rush

Son Volt, Trace

Otis Redding, Pain in My Heart

This list will change tomorrow.

A weekly peek behind the curtain of the Emerald City music world, Behind the Scene sheds light on folks you won't see onstage, but who make it all happen.

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