July 10--On Thursdays, when the Main St. Jukebox in Stroudsburg locks its doors for the night, a party starts and the music gets a little louder.
Something of a mix between a radio broadcast and a podcast, an Internet show begins.
Soon, beers are popped open and a serious discussion about good music and local live music is underway.
The "Juke Joint" is put together with the same honesty and opinion on music that you get from snarky record store clerks.
A different mood is shared every week with the same indie-music loving characters who take their pop culture and their bands as seriously as a banker takes the stock market.
There's store owner Tom LeFevre, 43, who uses the show for downtime and to hang out with his friends and family, keeping the show on track while side conversations erupt over Black Sabbath's latest tour and hand-made instruments.
There's the rock dude Steve Truglio. He's a serious fan of the rock band Clutch and already an Internet radio veteran having run shows on the PIBCO (Pocono Internet Broadcasting Company) station.
"The focus is on the music," Truglio said, describing the 90-minute program's format. "The show really kind of writes itself."
For fans of music that range from punk, hardcore, metal and hip-hop, the "Juke Joint" represents the first opportunity to discover new music, the B-sides or the deeper album cuts from CDs and classic albums.
It is the store that has tantalized Charley Pishnick Jr.'s imagination since he was a kid, when CDs were all he knew. Now, 23, and the brother-in-law of LeFevre, he gets to influence the show's play list with his interests, which vary from Motown to hard rock and more.
What the "Juke Joint" becomes is a way for listeners to step inside the music store without visiting Stroudsburg.
There were only about 19 people listening live one recent Thursday through the Spreaker.com website where the show is available, but the episodes, about 13 in all, have over 2,000 listens, or plays, over time.
In the decade that has seen the devastation of the record industry, the show is an extension of that other vestige of the music industry that's threatened with extinction, the independent music store.
"Does anyone buy music anymore?" Pishnick asked. "I hate that question."
The show works to whet the appetite for music lovers who may come by the store to ask about a track that was played on the radio or to buy a physical copy.
Sitting down off to the side during a recent show is Dave Reiser. Much of the "Juke Joint" owes itself to his vision to create an Internet radio station through his Rock Hard Productions company.
Along with Truglio, the two are in partnership with Main St. Jukebox to promote local music and bands in general.
"FM radio sucks," says Reiser, an audio engineer who has worked at Electric Lady Studios in New York.
He's building his radio network as an alternative to FM radio, which he says has "sold its soul to corporations."
Reiser helps support about half-a-dozen online radio shows under his Rock Hard Radio Network, including Truglio's "It's My Show."
The group of four regulars goof around and play anything from the likes of musical groups called Snot, House of Pain, Sublime and a bevy of other groups that fall in the "independent" section of mainstream music.
With the growth of the Sherman Theater into a music venue, the record shop has gotten a jolt of life. Bands that perform at the venue often stop by to browse records and take fan pictures.
It's like the two places were always meant to work together, and for many it's a sign of downtown Stroudsburg coming into its own.
"The town I feel is on an upswing," said LeFevre, who has run his Main Street record shop since 1994.
"We're trying to build something really good," added Truglio.
The "Juke Joint" airs at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays. Listen at: http://tinyurl.com/lkf7jq4
(c)2013 the Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pa.
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