Category Archives: Dan Sullivan


If you’ve ever tuned into WMEB on Thursday during your morning commute you’ve likely enjoyed the soothing sounds of old school soul and R&B from the 50’s and 60’s. The man you have to thank for enriching your drive-time experience is Bud Walkup, who has been hosting the Bud Show from 7am to 9am on Thursdays for the last eight years. On his show, you’ll hear some of the most beloved hits from classic labels like Stax and Motown, and also some forgotten rarities and hidden gems of the era.

Bud has been a passionate fan of soul music since his college days. As he explains it: “(In) 1965 during a college visit to Temple University in Philadelphia… I heard Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) by the Four Tops and have been hooked on Soul ever since.” But despite his love for the joyful, life-affirming music of the Motown scene (indeed it’s hard to think of a song more upbeat than “Can’t Help Myself”), Bud’s true musical inclinations lie in the realm of the plaintive ballad. Above all, he enjoys the deep soul music that came out of the American South. The song that plays during his radio promo- Otis Redding’s “Cigarettes and Coffee”- is a perfect example of this. “When asked my favorite type of music,” he explains, “my answer is always the same – mournful. I love sad songs. It’s the Irish in me.”

Though you’ll mainly hear 50’s and 60’s soul on his show, Bud himself has an eclectic taste in music. Before he moved to Maine eight years ago, Bud played radio shows at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and Denison University in Ohio that focused on other genres. “Deep Soul ballads remain the music I most enjoy,” Bud explains, “but I also listen to just about anything except opera and head-bangin’ death metal. I just haven’t been able to get into either of those. At home, jazz is what I most listen to.”

Bud’s taste in other radio programs also reflects his eclectic taste. His favorite program is WMEB’s own alternative rock show, Architecture in Sound, which airs on Sunday mornings and is hosted by Dan Schwartz (Look for Dan in a future edition of our program spotlight). Bud also recommends Rich Tozier’s jazz program on MPBN and the online show The Brown Underground on Live 365. Like the Bud Show, Brown Underground also plays obscure soul music from the past. If you dig The Bud Show, be sure to check out these shows.

Tune into the Bud Show from 7am to 9am on Thursdays on 91.9fm or here on our online stream.

Program Spotlight: West of the Fields

Travis Gass makes no secret of his musical tastes: it’s right there in the title of his show. “West of the Fields”, the song that gives Travis’s show its name is a cut from R.E.M.’s legendary debut Murmur, a rightful staple of college rock. Indeed Travis bookends his show with a pair of R.E.M. songs every week. In addition, his Twitter background image is the cover of R.E.M.’s Chronic Town LP. But the material Travis plays on air is not limited to Michael Stipe and company. If you tune in to WMEB on Mondays at noon you’ll hear a wide variety of music across the alternative spectrum.

1374345_10151773978916319_1510145494_nTravis has been on air for 16 years now, and his show, along with his musical taste, has evolved with the times. When West of the Fields first aired in the late 90s, independent music was burgeoning into a growing cultural force and beginning to break into the mainstream. Brit-pop music in particular was at the height of its popularity, and Travis was right on board. “I think I’m a little less of a hardcore Anglophile than in ’98,” he says. “Back then, if Q magazine or NME was into a band, they were going to be all over the show.”

Over the years, Travis has embraced newly emerging genres in the alternative world. As he puts it: “I’ve sort of surfed the wave of whatever’s going on in the indie rock/college rock world. When Rapture/LCD Soundsystem/CSS dance-punk was all the rage in the mid-2000s, the show was more beat-heavy. Lately it seems like indie rock is obsessed with R&B, and I’ve really enjoyed acts like How To Dress Well or Banks that have kind of combined those aesthetics.” No matter what the prevailing trend, Travis has remained meticulously attentive of current music. As a result, West of the Fields is an intriguing mix of the old and the new.

Travis has also seen the radio station itself change over the years, mostly due to the effects of changing technology. West of the Fields first aired when MP3 technology began spreading across the internet, and since then the show has eased into the digital age. “I used to just fill my backpack with CDs I was interested in playing that week, and then grab stuff from the new music bins at the station,” says Travis. “There was never a set playlist, just a general idea of what I wanted to play. Now I usually have everything plotted out in iTunes well in advance of the show.” According to Travis, this change in format has both its benefits and detriments. “You lose a little spontaneity that way,” he says, “but I think the flow of the show is much better than it used to be.” Now, West of the Fields is also available as a weekly podcast on Travis’s blog on the Bangor Daily News website.

Because of Travis’s longevity on the airwaves, he’s developed an uncanny knack for uncovering forgotten treasures from bygone eras. On occasion, he’ll play the top hits from the alternative charts from years past. This gives interesting and often amusing insights into what was used to be in vogue. Additionally, he counts down his favorite tracks of the year each December.

To listen to West of the Fields, tune in to WMEB every Monday from noon to 3pm.

West of the Fields on Twitter

Travis’s BDN Blog