Afternoons with less news and more music. That’s the gist of a SaintPetersBlog story detailing upcoming programming changes at WMNF 88.5 FM. The post cites a note distributed to interested programmers and other observers of the community station who were informed that locally produced afternoon news and talk shows like WMNF Drive-Time News and Last Call will be nixed in 2015. What’s certainly a bummer to lovers of the station’s homegrown coverage of state and local issues is a win for listeners hoping for a more long, deep, and continuous block of music in between 1 p.m. and WMNF’s already music-centric evening programming. There will still be three five-minute news segments in between 3 and 6 p.m, and Program Director Randy Wind seems to think the change will help boost afternoon listener numbers. “Our news can reach more listeners in short newscasts,” he told SPB. “Our loss of audience at 4 p.m. is dramatic.” Tell us your thoughts on the changes in the comments and read Curtis Ross’ recent feature on WMNF here.
Back home, Tampa Bay’s own Merchandise recently stirred the local music pot by booking a WTF show at Seminole Heights’ American Legion Hall (Parquet Courts, y’all). On their current stint overseas, the boys are busy getting even more acquainted with Eurofans in some of the continents most esteemed listening rooms. They took a little bit of their show to the airwaves last week by making their television debut on French program Album De La Semaine (“Album Of The Week” if you're stumped). Frontman Carson Cox and guitarist Dave Vassolotti navigated a translator to answer a few interview questions before playing selections from their gorgeous 4AD debut, After The End. Cox’s accent is spot on in between takes of “Enemy,” “True Monument,” and “Green Lady,” and he even makes his way into the live studio audience during a performance of “Telephone.” Watch the whole segment — complete with album profiles and people on the street bits — above.
In the next few days, SoHo’s newest Italian joint welcomes diners to help them iron out the kinks during their “Test Kitchen” week. Ava has a brick pizza oven, beautiful iron work, as well as blown glass and pretty light, but there’s also a heavy connection to the Tampa music scene. Head chef Joshua Hernandez most recently handled fiddle duties for fast-rising, hell-raising Atlanta country-bluegrass outfit Whiskey Gentry, but he also spent some time playing with Have Gun, Will Travel and Will Quinlan. What’s more is that Tommy Simms (Win Win Winter, Automatic Loveletter) concocted the restaurant’s bar program, choosing the spirits and writing recipes for Ava’s craft and dessert cocktail menus. Smell probably plays a bigger part in what you taste, but these boys are fine soundsmiths, too — and that can’t hurt the flavors they'll bring to the new spot. Ava is located at 718 S. Howard Ave in South Tampa. You can actually get a taste of what Chef Hernandez used to do on stage when the Whiskey Gentry plays New World Brewery this Saturday. Doors are at 9 p.m. and cover is $10-$13. Tickets are available here, The Higher Choir and Will Quinlan play support.