by Ex Fabula blogger, Steph Kilen

Ex Fabula tackled a new frontier with a live, on-air radio event, the latest in theTerminal Milwaukee series on Thursday, March 29. About 25 people gathered in the WMSE studio lobby to listen to stories of “frontier radio” while what we believe to be the rest of Milwaukee and beyond tuned in to listen on their radios.

[slideshow]All Photos: © Kathrine Schleicher 2012 –

We’ve been all over Milwaukee with Tom Crawford, series centerpiece, and he welcomed us “back to the mothership” at the WMSE studio. Clearly in his element, Tom shared how he went from sometimes over zealous WMSE fan boy to station manager, while the other storytellers told stories of the magic of WMSE and radio in general.

Hal Rammel, host of the WMSE show Alternating Currents, told of the joy of playing or hearing “just the right song at just the right moment” on the radio as illustrated by a call from a listener. The woman had called when she just happened to hear an avant garde piano piece Hal was playing while running through her dial. It turns out she hadn’t heard the song in 60 years, the last time being when she wanted to play it for her piano recital but her teachers hadn’t allowed it.

Brent Ghode talked about hosting a metal show on WMSE on June 6, 2006 and the huge disappointment of the skip in Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast.”  Despite the photo, no props remains a part of the Ex Fabula rulebook, but hey, it was live radio – anything goes.

Paul Cebar delighted listeners by telling us about the particulars of tuning in a crystal radio as a child and the “thrill of pulling sound of the air.” And finally, Julie Cudahy, “den mother of WMSE” told of her journey through adolescence and music, across the country and to WMSE.

Throughout the broadcast, historian John Gurda, the glue of Terminal Milwaukee, gave historical perspective on radio in Milwaukee, the downtown and Cathedral Square area,  and Milwaukee School of Engineering.

You don’t have to take my word about what you missed, this time you can hear for yourself. The full show is available for download in the WMSE archives (you’ll want the 3/29 show).

Next up: The Terminal Milwaukee grand finale, Saturday, April 28, at Alverno’s Pitman Theater.