YELLOW SPRINGS — Basim Blunt, aka “Radio Basim,” whose long-running “Behind the Groove” show that has delighted WYSO listeners for nearly a decade has recently moved from Friday to Thursday nights.
On his way from his hometown of Jersey City across the country following his lifelong journey through the realm of radio and, more recently, podcast production, 55-year-old Blunt initially stopped in to Dayton in 1993 to work as the promotions director at 92.1 WROU. It was Blunt’s intention to eventually make it out to Los Angeles, Chicago, or Atlanta.
All of that changed after he met his wife, a Dayton native. Blunt changed course, decided to settle with his growing family in the local region, and became a well-recognized, award-winning producer of audio content, starting with his work in 2012 when he first joined WYSO.
Blunt is also a senior producer at 93.1 WYSO’s Eichelberger Center For Community Voices.
His locally sourced 10-minute audio documentary “Boogie Nights: A History of Funk Music in Dayton” earned Blunt both accolades and his own show at WYSO, which has been an NPR member station since 1973 and became independently owned and operated after separating from Antioch College in 2019.
Blunt’s “Behind the Groove” broadcasts an eclectic brand of music, typically focusing on funk, soul, and classic R&B — namely all of the diverse stylings that enliven the DJ who has been producing the series since 2013. Concurrent with the establishment of “Behind the Groove,” Blunt founded a program facilitated at WYSO called Dayton Youth Radio. Through DYR, Blunt has expertly led Miami Valley teenagers in the production of more than 300 episodes of short stories about their lives and sui-generis perspectives.
In October 2021, Blunt took the opportunity to move “Behind the Groove” from its Friday night spot to its current timeslot on Thursday evenings from 8-10 p.m. The show filled the hole left behind after Tod Weidner of “The Jewel Case” moved to California to pursue his burgeoning career in music performance and production.
“Friday 10 to 12 is great,” Blunt said. “But it has its drawbacks. You’re raising kids, you can’t go to the movies, you can’t go to basketball games, or anything else so many other people do to unwind after a long week. So, the opportunity to change to Thursdays was really fortunate.”
Despite the fact that, as Blunt put it, “we really blew up the time switch through on-air promos and that sort of thing,” he lamented that it’s still taking some time for his regular Friday night audience to discover his move to Thursdays at 8 p.m.
“WYSO is all about community,” Blunt said, elaborating that radio in general for him is about forging an intimate connection with his listeners. He recounted a story about taking a call on air from a bedridden fan of his show who called in from an area hospital just to say that listening to “Behind the Groove” was one of the few things keeping the patient relaxed during a challenging time.
“It’s little things like that which remind not only me but all the DJ’s here at WYSO that what we do is not only entertainment but also important,” Blunt said.
“For our loyal audience, it’s not just radio – it’s part of their lives. People have the radio on while they’re being intimate with a loved one, doing the dishes, and all of that kind of stuff. That’s why, when I moved to Thursdays, it became really important for me to ensure that my listeners knew that I had changed times.”
Referring to Barry Leonhard, the host of the new Friday night techno show “Club Cuts” as “an awesome DJ,” Blunt disclosed that some of his fans who haven’t yet learned of “Behind the Groove’s” switch to Thursday nights have been surprised at the musical lineup change.
“Barry’s music is more or less for a younger demographic,” Blunt said. “So, if you’re 40 and up — which is a lot of the demographic of my audience — hearing “Club Cuts” without realizing it’s no longer “Behind the Groove” can be a little confusing. I’ve definitely gotten a few phone calls already with people saying, ‘What are you doing? What the heck are you playing?’ ”
Blunt laughed off the confusion, exuberant about WYSO’s being able to offer so many different kinds of musical experiences, be it “Behind the Groove’s” funk and classic R&B or “Club Cuts’” techno. He meanwhile remains confident that it will only be a matter of time before all of his loyal listeners will become aware of the time switch.
“I know it will happen sooner or later,” Blunt said, noting that he’s aware of at least one fan of his show who has easily made the transition.
“I was walking down the hall at WYSO one day and ran into my general manager, Luke Dennis, who told me he needed to talk with me for a second. I was at first a little worried that I’d done something wrong, but that’s when Luke told me that he had just gotten off the phone with Dave Chappelle who told him I was his favorite DJ at WYSO and that he never misses my show.”
“To be told something like that just really gives me a charge and keeps me wanting to make my show better and better,” concluded Blunt. “To be a DJ on air is a lifelong fantasy that’s come true. I’m playing music for people, which is something I’ve always loved doing. And that’s something that happens for me in reality every Thursday night.”