Programmer Spotlight: Marcie Finkelstein of the Tuesday Morning Show
Naveen Sultan about about 1 month ago
Get to know Marcie Finkelstein of the Tuesday Morning Show on this edition of Programmer Spotlight!
How and when did you start at WMNF?
It's been about 30 years since a friend of mine became involved with WMNF and got me volunteering. I made a lot of good friends working behind the scenes and never thought about going on the air. Then in 1986, Janine Farver, who hosted the Thursday Morning Show, somehow convinced me that I wanted to be a programmer. I auditioned for a new slot, the Early Risers Show, and for a year was on Fridays from 5-7am.
What does your show represent to you and what do you hope people get out of it?
I don't think of what I do as broadcasting. It feels much more intimate, as if we all get together on Tuesday mornings to share music and ideas. I'm hanging out with a lot of warm, interesting people who are enjoying each other and the music - like an old-fashioned record party. I often get requests for something I'm about to play, or that make a perfect segue to what I'm planning to do next, or fit with another request. I've learned so much from the listeners, and I feel like I know everyone, even if we haven't met. Though that is one fun part about going to WMNF events -getting to meet people in person. Most of all, I want everyone tuning in to feel comfortable and welcome and to know that for those few hours each week that we're together, I'm very glad they're there.
Name a show, other than the Morning Show, that you enjoy.
I listen to so much on WMNF, but one program I'm guaranteed to hear every week is Rhythm Vault International. I've listened to Jeff Stewart in whatever timeslot he's had over the years, and now it's the soundtrack to my drive to work on Tuesdays after my show. Jeff is always entertaining and informative, and you never know what he's going to pull out of that vault.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Up through junior high, I was sure I was gong to be an actress. But my career peaked - and ended - after 9th grade with my acclaimed performance as Yente the Matchmaker in a summer camp production of Fiddler on the Roof. I still remember most of my lines!
You interview a lot of musicians. What was your most memorable interview?
That's a tough question. There are moments with all of them that are special to me for different reasons. I think of the ones who can be goofballs on stage but one-on-one were so open about relationships and their personal demons; Bob Schneider and Todd Snider come to mind. Some told riveting stories: Michael Franti recounting what happened when he started singing peace songs to soldiers in a Baghdad bar; Mavis Staples describing her family's work with Martin Luther King; Sam Baker's story of the bomb that nearly killed him in Peru. Then the ones I was intimidated to approach who turned out to be surprisingly engaging, like Steve Earle and James McMurtry. I had a great time interviewing a slew of musicians for a tribute to John Prine. Fred Koller remembering how he and John came to write Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian was the funniest. One of my absolute favorites was Jesse Winchester, who spoke of his upbringing, the choice to flee to Canada during the Vietnam War, and the love that brought him back to the South - all in that mellifluous southern accent. And I can't leave out Richie Havens, laughing over memories of Woodstock, or Pete Seeger because - he's Pete Seeger! And because he was so gracious and acted as if he had all the time in the world to chat. I just spoke with Fred Eaglesmith and am excited to air that conversation. As often happens, he was revealing in unexpected ways, and I always appreciate that. I guess they're all special to me, so better stop me now.
Name one WMNF concert that was particularly special to you.
Again, it's always hard to pick one, but I'll go with the Ribbon of Highway Ensemble at the Palladium Theater in St. Pete. The group featured a cast of Morning Show favorites - Jimmy LaFave, Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Ellis Paul - plus a perfect "Woody Guthrie" in Bob Childers and a special appearance by Woody's friend, Stetson Kennedy. The energy in the room that night was electrifying.
What is something you want to share about yourself with WMNF listeners that they would be surprised to learn?
I was always naturally shy and can still feel self-conscious in social situations. One thing WMNF did for me is give me a sense of belonging and purpose that made me much more comfortable with myself. It's a very special community of people. It's home.