John Wendland's Memphis to Manchester
show, which airs every Friday from 8-10 a.m., epitomizes all the qualities that make KDHX the best radio station in St. Louis and quite possibly the world: wide-ranging but impeccable programming, a minimum of chitchat and a genuine passion for sharing great music that's largely ignored on the corporate-controlled, profit-driven commercial airwaves. Though Wendland's choices transcend mere genre classification, the flow is seamless, seemingly inevitable, resulting in a rich and subtle map that traces the hidden connections between the avant-psych of Captain Beefheart and the country/soul of Arthur Alexander, the sweet riddims of Jimmy Cliff and the astringent Brit-folk of Kirsty MacColl, the transcendent garage of Them and the twitchy punk polemics of the Clash. One recent installment, the glorious "Monkeycast" edition, crammed 35 songs about primates into two hours, with contributions from such disparate sources as Annette Funicello, Toots and the Maytals, the Kinks and Johnny Paycheck. But Wendland doesn't need a clever thematic hook to enchant his listeners: He's got a wealth of knowledge, an apparently exhaustive record collection and an on-air personality that's refreshingly free of egotism and pretension. Just when you thought KDHX couldn't possibly get any better, along came Wendland, proof positive that, on community radio if nowhere else, the airwaves can enchant as well as educate.