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Mark Lynch / Host

Mark Lynch shows

Mark has been with WICN in some capacity since the very early 1970s, when the fledgling station started at WPI. His early shows included the bizarre Psychic Journal and the extremely questionable Put Your Head On My Shoulder, WICN’s only “advice to the lovelorn” show. Not content with these short strange spots, he heard Never Mind The Bollocks and immediately joined the Rock Department in the late 1970s. He and Bob Mercer soon became the department heads and together they rapidly turned WICN’s alternative take on contemporary rock into one of the most cutting edge shows in New England.

The late nightly show Positive Noise garnered recognition and praise from bands and press all over the world by being the first on any radio station to play bands like The Galloping Coroners from Hungary and promoting artists like Laurie Anderson. All the while that Mark was on the air till 3 am, he was simultaneously getting up early to study birds and to teach at the Worcester Art Museum. This schedule could only go on for so long, and he retired from Positive Noise in the mid-1980s. It was then that he decided that the best way to understand his bifurcated life in art and science was to listen to artists and scientists speak, and so Inquiry was born and has been on the air ever since. Besides hosting Inquiry, Mark is a teacher and trip leader at the Massachusetts Audubon Society at Broad Meadow Brook. He is the Book Review Editor at the ornithology journal Bird Observer.

After returning to host Positive Noise for WICN’s 45th Anniversary Celebration, Uncle Mark is now hosting Positive Noise the first and third Mondays of each month from 10 PM to midnight.


5 Questions with Mark Lynch

What brought you to hosting a show on WICN? Why do you love being on the air?
A roommate of mine, who was at WPI at the time, told me about this new station on campus (WICN) and convinced me to get involved. Production was a small room not much bigger than a phone booth. I began with Momento Mori (a weird pause in your otherwise normal) and Put Your Head on my Shoulder,” a not-ready-for-prime-time advice for the lovelorn show, circa 1973.

What is your favorite WICN memory?
When the Stray Cats partied (Sheila made them lasagna and they thanked her from the stage) down the station; we have some great photos; when on Positive Noise, Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks spent the evening with me previewing his new record; when the entire rock staff went to see Eraserhead en masse; when I got to introduce Joey Shithead of the West Coast band D.O.A. to Glenda Reiss, head of WICN’s Classical Music Department. There are way too many memories from doing Inquiry, but one of the wildest was having Dr. James Watson (of DNA: Watson/Crick) confess that he had a thing for Renee Zellweger; interviewing famed novelist Douglas Copeland (coined Gen X) by phone and realizing that he was way on drugs (I have to do the impression on purpose) and tell me he started an Internet rumor that Jennifer Aniston had “nipple fatigue:” and the many people I have gotten to talk with over the decades like Tommy Smothers, Neal DeGrasse Tyson (who did the interview from a pen/stationary store because he was running late and just walked into the store cold and asked if he could do the interview) he was the coolest/smartest; interviewing Daniel Handler (author of Lemony Snicket) and he ended up interviewing me; Patti Boyd, former wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton; I have done interviews with guests who were: walking down the streets of NYC; on a train; while speeding down a highway; while fixing and eating breakfast; while in bed; and while having sex (once); yes, I did interview Christopher Plummer and he was extremely generous and funny: he referred to The Sound of Music as “S&M” because he HATED the experience. My list of WICN memories is endless!

FILL IN THE BLANK: The best concert I ever saw was ______________?)
Many, many concerts: Captain Beefheart ; Zappa and the Mothers (brilliant); Janis Joplin; The Who (doing Tommy); Nash the Slash; Flipper; The Replacements (who did a money-raising concert for the station for a case of beer); The Stray Cats; Iggy Pop and the Pretenders (Pop opened up for The Pretenders); The Tubes in a small theatre before anyone knew who they were (White Punks on Dope was INSANE); The Au Pairs; X; The B-52s in Worcester (my son’s first concert); children’s author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka had written a great kid’s book called Punk Farm and we assembled a band that pretended they were the farm animals from the book and they played live at WICN and I interviewed Jarrett in between with my granddaughter; Darlene Love…I could go on.

Many listeners don’t know that the majority of our hosts are volunteers that do this out of a personal passion. What do you/did you do professionally off the air?
For 40 years I taught art classes at the Worcester Art Museum (including classes on modern and contemporary art; animation; comics; and lectures on how to use art museums as resources in natural history); I am a teacher and lead local trips on birds and natural history at Broadmeadow Brook MAS; I am a book reviewer for the journal Bird Observer.

Who are your favorite artists and/or albums of all time?
The list changes daily! Elvis Costello/My Aim is True; Sex Pistols/Never Mind The Bollocks; The Rolling Stones, 12 X 5; Public Enemy/Fear of a Black Planet; Beastie Boys/License to Ill; everything by Marvin Gaye; Ivy/Apartment Life; Portishead/Dummy; everything by Joy Division and New Order; Stereolab/Dots and Loops; LCD Soundsystem/This is Happening; Captain Beefheart/Trout Mask Replica; Lene Lovich/Stateless...I have to stop now.