You won’t find much that’s closer to the cultural heart of Eugene than the Grateful Dead, so it makes perfect sense that Eugene Weekly readers have chosen Deb Trist, aka “Downtown Deb,” as their favorite radio DJ.
Trist hosts the popular KLCC radio program Dead Air.
Trist, a New Yorker who moved to Eugene in 1983, has hosted the show since 1986. With her long-time connection to the band — she married its music publisher Alan Trist — she features music from the Dead, from the band’s late leader Jerry Garcia and from other musicians. She interrupts the music, as she points out, with minimal talk.
The name Dead Air originally belonged to Grateful Dead soundman Dan Healy, who used it for a radio program in California; he gave it to Trist in 1986.
Trist moved from a commercial station to KLCC in 1991. “That was like a welcome home,” she says. “Public radio.”
Garcia died in 1995, which means Trist has been playing music for decades from a band that no longer exists in this physical universe. “But they are eternal,” she says. “And since Jerry died, Dead Air has been essential as a gathering place for listeners.”
Check out Dead Air from 7 to 9 pm Saturdays on KLCC, 89.7 FM.