In this, our final installment of #RFBatHome, we profile yet another of our intrepid, indefatigable, inspiring Radio Free Brooklyn hosts who continued to put out new content each and every week during the height (depths) of the COVID-19 pandemic’s grip on New York City. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see youse somewhere else: here, or somewhere out there, real soon — mask on — and socially distanced of course! And if you can, take a trip over to the corner of Grand and Lafayette Streets in Manhattan to see “Wall of Lies Redux.”
Your friendly redheaded editorial director,
Hello Radio Free Brooklyn! I’m Sam Hadelman of The Sam Hadelman Show. I’ve been hosting my own show since I was 18, and had a fairly successful college radio show at my alma mater, Stetson University. When I started graduate school at Fordham University in NYC, I looked for a home station that would lend me the creative freedom I wanted for my work. I didn’t want a place where my music would be censored, or a boss who would tell me to “tone down” my content — I even tried to scare some of the people I initially talked to at Radio Free Brooklyn by saying things like, “Hey, my music is pretty explicit,” and everyone was still really supportive. I wanted to be at a place that cared about my craft, and so far, I made a great decision in being involved with RFB.
My show explores modern hip-hop and R&B, with some reviews, cultural commentary and the occasional rant about the state of music. When I got a little older, I started to enjoy more Southern influences, such as Ludacris, Lil Wayne, and T.I. Today, I try and stay as eclectic as I can in the realm of hip-hop, ranging from Benny the Butcher to Playboi Carti. I’m also fascinated by the history of certain regions’ sounds, and how over the years certain genres have transformed. I love to interpret what I hear, and hip-hop constantly keeps me engaged. I also talk about a lot more than just the music. Context is so important in some sub-genres of hip-hop that to neglect it would be doing the music a disservice. I want information on my show to be well researched, so I take what I learned in communications and journalism, and directly use that knowledge.
I lived in Brooklyn when I first started recording for RFB, but due to COVID-19 had to relocate to help take care of my parents. I’m currently broadcasting out of New Haven County in Connecticut, in their living room, right next to my record collection. I use a Behringer XENYX Q802USB, my mic is a Neewer NW-700 and Sennheiser Urbanite XL headphones. I actually play all the music off my iPhone 6 and record it into Garageband. The basis of each show derives from my mood, so every week I throw together a different batch of sounds and artists that match how I’m feeling or what I’m interested in. I also weave together music from radically different worlds, and go from Point A to Point B without the listener even noticing I switched things up.
That said, I think the COVID-19 pandemic has changed my content just because my surroundings have so drastically changed. A lot of the inspiration for my show pre-pandemic came from aimlessly walking around NYC, traveling on the subway, and going to shows constantly for work. Now, my surroundings are consistent with farms and woods, so what I have been listening to has changed substantially. Bon Iver, Marvin Gaye, and Hall & Oates definitely get more play in my headphones than they did before, and honestly I’m not mad about that at all.
My favorite thing about having a show with Radio Free Brooklyn is when audience members reach out to say they like the show. I love converting, or at least introducing people to new music. So, for example, having older audience members reach out and be like, “I liked that Playboi Carti song!” is a feeling I’ve never had before. That’s an engagement you aren’t going to get anywhere other than Radio Free Brooklyn. It’s awesome to see people reconsider what music they listen to, and in real time, no less. If my show can elicit that, it’s even better. I want to play the music I think is important for my audience to hear — and RFB lets me do just that.
Tune in to “The Sam Hadelman Show,” Tuesdays at 3:00 pm.