25 years and Murray’s still ‘Shakin’

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WITR host Mike Murray, left, with guest Bobby Lloyd Hicks, drummer for The Skeletons.


It all started 25 years ago, when Mike Murray met Mick Alber at a popular Rochester club, Scorgies.

Alber, a 16-year-old from Rochester, had a modern music slot on RIT radio station WITR-FM. After their meeting at Scorgies, Alber invited Murray to co-host the station’s Friday Night Filet; a three-hour weekly show featuring a particular artist or music.

That was February 1984. The two hit it off, Program Director Hal Horowitz ’76 loved it, and Mike and Mick became a radio duo.

Eventually the show moved to Sunday and expanded from one to four hours. In late 1996, Alber called it quits, and Murray stayed on as solo host for Whole Lotta Shakin,’ airing 3-7 p.m. every Sunday.

The show celebrates its 25th anniversary March 28 with a party from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Rochester’s Village Gate Square, 274 N. Goodman St. The Bop Shop music store is co-sponsor. A $5 donation is requested for admission. The Projectiles will perform and Murray is expecting many old friends from Rochester’s rich music scene to pop in.

“It should be a lot of fun,” says Murray. He sounds pretty excited about this: 25 years is a good run.

“I really am thankful for the opportunity RIT has given me,” says Murray.

His interest in music dates to 1966, when he turned 6 and got a transistor radio for his birthday. Over the years, he’s played guitar and been a singer in several bands, notably The Fertility Right Brothers and the Quatloos.

Murray majored in communications at SUNY Brockport and worked in the industry for a time, but commercial radio wasn’t what he’d hoped for and he moved on to a career in credit and collections.

But Murray’s passion for the music of his youth remains intact, and that’s what his fans tune in to hear: R&B, garage rock, rockabilly, surf, twist, British Invasion, “greasy R&B” and more.

“I like that kind of music,” Murray says. “It’s not too deep, not too serious, it’s just fun.”

Interestingly, the show’s playlist is not all oldies. Murray finds that many of today’s groups embody the spirit of early rock that he enjoys. He features local groups as well as music he’s discovered from all over the world via the Internet and MP3s.

“Twenty years ago I couldn’t imagine that I’d have so much contemporary music to play,” he says.

Murray has listeners far and wide as well: WITR broadcasts online (http://witr.rit.edu) as well as on the air (89.7 FM). “I’ve made a lot of contacts around the world.”

Friends and fans can find out more about the show at www.wholelottashakin.net, where there are playlists and a link to Murray’s MySpace page for historic photos and show info.

Or, to listen to Whole Lotta Shakin' or other broadcasts online, check out the WITR Web page.