Who's driving this bus?
Pablo - a.k.a. J-Ro, a.k.a. Jake, a.k.a. Jon Roren is the
creator of Taco Wagon, having been involved in broadcasting since
before SUNY Oswego had a terrestrial FM radio station. He has
a love an obsession with music that reaches back as far as
any of us can remember. He is the president of ESCHE Records, has promoted a
number of concerts on Long Island, has worked for MTV Networks (although that
may be less of a positive now than it was then), and still collects any and
all kinds of music. He regularly DJs on Stony Brook's
WUSB and posts musings at
J-Ro's House of
Chicken & Waffles.
Jismo - a.k.a. lilmatt, a.k.a. Matthew Willis glommed onto Pablo's radio slot in 1993 and basically hasn't let go since. He is the brains and braun behind Taco Wagon's digital incarnations, paid the BMI and ASCAP bills, and used his previous employers' bandwidth for powering Taco Wagon v2.0. He also set up v3.0 on Live365, and is the one writing the code that gives you this here page. He still loves music, but can't hold a candle to Pablo in this regard.
Mikey - a.k.a. Michael Willoughby began hanging out with Jismo in 1994 in the SUNY Oswego Theatre. He hosted the Wagon in Boston for a time, and introduced Jismo to some of the local Cambridge, Massachusetts bands. Mikey is the one to blame for the blue Taco Wagon logo as well as the awesome pre-CSS site design and layout, but please don't hold any of it against him, as it was 2000 when we released it, and was a huge step forward from what we had previously. He's currently enjoying being a dad, and stays in touch with Pablo and Jismo almost daily.
Now here's the original press release-style blurb we used back in the day...
Taco Wagon was originally the brainchild of one Jon "Crazy Pablo" Roren. In 1991, while a student at the State University of New York, College at Oswego, Pablo, ever the broadcasting major, had a regular radio show on the college's cable-only radio station, WOSR. That station, now WNYO, went FM in April of 1992, and with it came Pablo and his collection of every esoteric import CD known to man. Some folks had college loans for college. Pablo's were for his account at the CD shop.
In 1992, Pablo was searching WNYO's walls for interesting new music to play when he found a scratched volume of College Music Journal. This particular volume contained a track by the Young Fresh Fellows, entitled "Tacowagon". Pablo had already become familiar with the Fellows from the song "Twisting" from They Might Be Giants' 1990 release, "Flood". The TMBG reference led him to the Fellows' "Electric Bird Digest" album, which includes such classics as "Sittin' on a Pitchfork" and "Hillbilly Drummer Girl". One spin in the CD player later, Pablo had found his signature song.
Enter Jismo. Meeting Pablo as a freshman in 1992 in an Oswego residence hall, Jismo, a.k.a. "Little Matt" Willis, immediately clicked with Pablo with their mutual love of R.E.M., Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Camper Van Beethoven, and Dr. Pepper. They began a friendship which eventually spanned the width of the country, spawned some petty larceny, and still stands strong today.
After much prodding, the non-FCC licensed Jismo became a regular accompanying Pablo on his radio show, now entitled Taco Wagon, in early 1993. Their off-beat, radical, tell-it-like-it-is, what-the-hell-it's-safe-harbor-hours, style of radio announcing and kvetching endeared them to few listeners, but did gain them a reputation.
Pablo's graduation from SUNY Oswego in 1995 not only surprised many, but it also brought the end of an era for WNYO. In addition, the demands of Jismo's technical theatre degree pulled him away from his love of the radio mic. Taco Wagon made it's final radio broadcast in May 1995.
The next chapter:
While perusing the net, Scour.net in particular, in late 1999, Jismo happened upon a small app, myCaster, that promised to allow him to put up his own radio station quickly and easily. He had been experimenting with ways to play his extensive CD collection at the office without dragging it from home. Always the skeptic, Jismo downloaded the app. Within minutes he was able to stream music to whoever he wished.
The proverbial "light-bulb" appeared about his head. Seventy bucks and a quick stop at Network Solutions later, Jismo had his prize in hand, the domain tacowagon.com.
Immediately Jismo emailed both his ex-radio partner Pablo, and also their long-time mutual friend Mikey. Excitement and energy was high. And why shouldn't it be?
Taco Wagon was to live again...digitally.