Welcome to the Prog-Rock Diner
Established 1991 | TUNE IN!

About the diner
The Prog-Rock Diner is a weekly progressive rock radio program broadcast from Radio Fairfax, a free-form, non-commercial station playing a unique mix of genres and styles. The Diner is open on Mondays from 5-7 PM and features radio host Debbie Sears. To listen to the diner, visit the Radio Fairfax website on Mondays between 5-7 PM and click on the LISTEN NOW link.

Debbie Sears

About Debbie Sears
Music has been in my family for several generations, from a great, great Aunt who was an opera singer, to a grandfather who played trumpet in John Philip Souza's band and was a music teacher to my dad who played saxophone. Both my parents had musical interests, my mother did some singing and recording when she was young. Although I've lived most of my life in the US, when I was a child we spent a few years in the Dominican Republic and in The Philippines. I think all of these factors contributed to my exposure to all kinds of music and from an early age I enjoyed a variety of music. Though I had some music lessons in piano, clarinet and guitar I didn't develop any real talent but learned to appreciate the process of music.

I didn't really start listening to rock until the Beatles came along when I was about 12 years old. When the somewhat experimental rock music came along - about the mid to late 60's - I found that I'd really liked music that wasn't always standard formula stuff. Pearls Before Swine comes to mind among others. Back then it wasn't called progressive, there were radio stations that were 'underground' radio and I listened to a couple of very good ones WHFS and WGTB (in the DC area) into the early 70's. Some of the DJs on these stations turned me on to a whole new world of music and I loved it.

Fast forward a bit to 1980/81 when I moved to Telluride, CO and discovered a Public Access station KOTO. I got my FCC license through them and had my own show for 3 hours a week. Although my collection was quite a bit smaller and CDs were unknown then, I brought a lot of music to the audience that I'm sure they had never heard before. The Strawbs, Grave New World, was a favorite of mine at the time. The bug had bitten and I seriously thought about radio as a career, however when I found out that it cost quite a bit for the training and then there was no guarantee that you would even get to play music you liked, let alone pick it out...it was all done for you and basically you were feeding a cart machine. I nixed that idea.

Then in 1991 when I moved back to Virginia I happened to see a small blurb in a local paper about a Public Access radio station starting up practically down the street from where I lived. It was Cable Radio started by a couple of people at the Cable TV facility who were interested in music. I immediately went down there and signed up for the brief on hands training course and started my 1st show in May of 1991. It's all volunteer but I produce my own show and that means I play pretty much what I want!

Back then it was called 'The Alternative Radio Diner' as I borrowed the idea that it was an alternative to the commercial stations and I had National Lampoon's Radio Dinner LP in mind as well. A couple of years later I changed it to The Prog-Rock Diner because 'alternative ' became a music genre and this description didn't really fit my show. So the Prog-Rock Diner has been serving up progressive music since then, from my own collection and from promos. It covers just about everything under that HUGE progressive umbrella from symphonic to avant. Sometimes I'll throw something in that might not be quite progressive but it's mostly prog.

How do you define this genre? That's not so easy but some of the artists you might hear are: Genesis (early), Fruup, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Eloy, Ange, Magma, Lazuli, Present, Djam Karet, The Muffins, Caravan, Camel, Thinking Plague, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, The Red Masque, Omega, Deus Ex Machina, Gentle Giant and many others including local groups such as Oblivion Sun, Encompass, Brave, Odin's Court and Ephemeral Sun. There are so many good artists it's impossible to list them all but the music on my 2 hour weekly show covers the period from the mid 60's to the present. I've done quite a few interviews and hope to post some of these on this website. Requests are always welcome and can be sent to my email address, but need to be in advance of the show so I can check to see if I have them or can locate them.

I don't claim to be an expert in progressive music, there really is so much out there that I'm constantly learning. My main goal always was to get it out there for people to hear and hopefully turn some on to something they had never experienced before. It's certainly 'out there' now though when I started there were very few progressive shows. The advent of the internet has really helped this genre, but it's still a struggle for the majority of artists to be heard, so in my small way I'm helping as much as I can and hope that you will enjoy it as much as I do.