Randy McKean has been a broadcaster since 2006, and has been hosting The Outpost since 2007. The show’s name comes from its place in the week’s schedule—10 to Midnight on Sundays, the last gasp before the new week begins, and for its edgy, eclectic programming. His goal is to use this frontier base to broaden people’s perceptions of what “classical” music is all about. “There are many composers/performers today who explore the intersection between composed Western European and other musics such as jazz, rock, and world music,” says McKean. “My show attempts to showcase the latest chamber and orchestral music, as well as freer, improvised music, and to put them into perspective by surveying historical works and other genres that have influenced today’s works.” Interviews with composers/performers, on-air performances, and “theme” shows focusing on a particular composer or aspect of music are frequent additions to the program.
When not at KVMR, saxophonist/clarinetist/composer McKean leads or co-leads several bands, including the chamber jazz quartet Bristle, the improv trio Pluck Vim Vigour, the avant-folk duo Sawbones, and the acoustic-electronics duos Zap! and The Gargantius Effect. He appears regularly with Beaucoup Chapeaux, Ludi Hinrichs’ Chickenbonz, Dan Plonsey’s Daniel Popsicle, James Fei’s Alto Quartet, and Tony Passarell’s Thin Air Orchestra. His string quartet “Passages” was premiered by the Del Sol String Quartet at the Nevada County Composers Cooperative’s Wet Ink concert in 2009. His CDs include Bristle’s Bulletproof (Edgetone), Wild Horsey Ride (with Wes Steed of Hearts + Horses), So Dig This Big Crux (Rastascan) and, with the Great Circle Saxophone Quartet, Child King Dictator Fool (New World). McKean studied with trumpeter Paul Smoker and composers Anthony Braxton, David Rosenboom, and Maggi Payne. Formerly a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City, he currently lives in Grass Valley, California.