At about the same time Karen Burdick was playing the blues, Steven Cantor ’73 was in the basement dreaming up God’s Big Radio Show, which—you do the logic—would play only Bob Dylan. KRRC was the first time Cantor had done any radio, but for someone whose deepest love was music it was the land of milk and honey and rare recordings discovered on the shelf.
“Reed was an incredible thing for me,” Cantor says now. “It still stands out as the most amazing group of people I’ve been able to be a member of in my life. Every person I met was interesting.”
Cantor left Reed in 1971 to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied with, and eventually became friends and roommates with, the celebrated jazz guitarist Pat Metheny. Cantor’s ear for music was so good that he was soon helping produce records for Metheny, whose band members included some of the world’s finest musicians.
“I was the guy in the studio whose responsi-bility it was to keep an eye and ear on the forest while the musicians got (appropriately) lost in the trees,” he says. “I was a member of the production team on two of Pat’s recordings, and then co-produced the first two solo records for Lyle Mays [Metheny’s famed keyboardist] with him.”
“Those records were labors of love for me,” he says. “I didn’t want to make it a job.”
Cantor stumbled upon a free-form radio station affiliated with Tufts University, where he did a show that drew upon his extensive contacts with different kinds of music and musicians. When he returned to Portland in 1993 with a “day job” as a database programmer at Adidas, he began looking for a similar outlet for his passion.
“I noticed that Oregon Public Broadcasting’s
radio station had a format something like the Tufts station, and eventually
I went on air there, playing music on the weekends—four hours Saturday
and three hours Sunday. So you see, I don’t really have a career
in radio: it’s sort of a sponsored avocation! In fact, I probably
spend everything I make at OPB on recordings for the show.”