The profiles of KCSB people in the Santa Barbara Independent’s KCSBeat column continue with a glimpse into the institution that is Leo Schumaker’s Bluesland:
To log more than 1300 on-air hours spinning the blues requires total devotion to the form, and Schumaker’s sprouted early. As an eight year old growing up in Oxnard, he spent a day shining shoes with a cousin and needed something to buy with his earnings. Visiting the local Fedco, he browsed the record bins and happened upon Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s Gangster of Love. The chance he took on that 12-cent 45-rpm single paid off. “From that point on,” as Schumaker tells it, “it was the blues for me.”
Schumaker’s relationship with KCSB began when he became a fan of Matt Cohen’s program Jumpin’ the Blues. He called in regularly to talk to Cohen about the blues. “I bugged him,” Schumaker admitted, “and eventually he just said, ‘Quit calling me and get your own show!’” Beginning Bluesland in the days when the studio featured both a mixing board with big, old-style circular knobs and a reel-to-reel machine on the wall, he prepared for his very first 4 a.m. broadcast by hanging a framed picture of his blues hero Muddy Waters on the wall and beginning with a dedication: “This is for you, Muddy.”
Read more here.