Why Every Music-Lover in Wisconsin Needs to Know About The Great Unknown Radio


When we first wrote about 22 bands playing original music in Northeast Wisconsin – we figured we probably forgot a few that should have been on the list.

But the comments we received from fans of dozens of other local bands told us otherwise. Many were missed.

It turns out the talent pool of area musicians is even better than it seemed. Wisconsin bands are literally making enough original music for a ’round-the-clock radio station. We know that for a fact – because such a radio station actually exists…

The Great Unknown is a non-profit online radio station that streams nothing but songs from indie rock bands with Wisconsin roots. That includes many of the bands featured here on WhooNEW and many more that we’re still discovering.

If I’d known about the The Great Unknown when I wrote that first article – it would have a different story – and a much longer story.

Former Radio Man Goes Rogue


Kent Waush (Photo Courtesy: Joe Arena)

The heart and the brains behind The Great Unknown is a seasoned radio veteran named Kent Waush. In fact, as sole-proprietor he fills most of the roles.

Waush spent 14 years working in the radio business as an on-air personality in Upper Michigan and South-Central Wisconsin before calling it quits in 2001.

People who choose radio as a career don’t do it for the money. They do it because they love radio, and Kent Waush is one of those people.

“I’ve missed it ever since,” he says. And soon the gears started turning.

“I wanted to create an Internet radio station that would play regional independent/indie rock music. I spent 2-3 months working on the station before even telling anyone about it. I wanted it to sound phenomenal right out of the gate. A ton of work went into its launch, but it was well worth it.”

There are now around 460 different Wisconsin bands being streamed on The Great Unknown – from Appleton indie-rocker Cory Chisel to Madison’s Lords of the Trident, the self-proclaimed “Most Metal Band on Earth.” Listeners can tune in directly from the website or by using the TuneIn App.

It’s all because one person with a little knowledge and a lot of passion decided to break out on his own and make something worthwhile – something to raise awareness for the Wisconsin music scene.

A Gift to Wisconsin Music Makers

The Great Unknown RadioA deep appreciation for the work of musicians also becomes very apparent when talking with Kent Waush. The Great Unknown is his way of giving back by spreading the word over the online airwaves.

“Ultimately it was created to shine a spotlight on the massive amount of talent we have here in Wisconsin,” he explains. “I like to say that we play bands/artists that deserve to be heard.”

Kent says that band members are always letting him know how grateful they are for his efforts. The Great Unknown provides much-needed and much-deserved exposure for musicians who are always looking to find new fans and the next gig.

“The response from the artists and bands has been outstanding. I cannot tell you how many times I have been thanked for creating the station, but it is I who need to thank them for all the pleasure they give me and all the other music fans.”

It’s not too hard for newcomers to get some airtime on The Great Unknown. There’s no red tape. Kent says you just have to please his independent music-loving ears.

“Given the fact that I do not take my marching orders from any corporation and such – the process is quite simple. Bands and artists just need to drop me a line via The Great Unknown Radio Facebook page or shoot me an email.”

A Gift to the Ears of Music Lovers

Wisconsin bands aren’t the only ones benefiting from The Great Unknown. Fans of good music reap the rewards as well.

Kent says the reaction he gets from the radio station’s listeners is “overwhelmingly positive.”

“I get the feeling they come away stunned that all the talent they hear, all comes from Wisconsin,” he says. “I go to a lot of local and regional shows to see and listen to the bands around the state, and it seems I meet someone each time that mentions they’ve listened to The Great Unknown and how much they loved it.”

When you tune into the stream of Wisconsin music, you will be sure to find something new, something you like and someone worth supporting. So look up those bands and find out when they’re playing near you or make a trip to see their next performance. You may even choose to download their songs and even buy their albums.

Kent believes this is just the beginning for The Great Unknown, and he hopes to add even more for listeners of the online radio station to enjoy in the future. That includes interviews with the musicians, acoustic hours and featuring an artist of the week.

“I would love it if someday I could devote all my attention to The Great Unknown Radio as I truly believe the bands and artists deserve a platform to be heard 24/7, and with growth over time I can make this undertaking even better.”

A Chance for You to Give Back Too

Of course, besides supporting the individual artists and bands, you can also support The Great Unknown directly. Listeners can make PayPal donations through the website.

However, an even better opportunity to show your support and appreciation is coming up on Friday night, June 27th at the Fox River House in Appleton.

That’s when The Great Unknown will host a fundraising concert to benefit the online radio station and its efforts to spread the word about what Wisconsin musicians are creating.

The night will feature four acoustic performances: Appleton’s Christopher Gold with Freddie Haas of the Red Hawks, Ricky Ganiere of Milwaukee’s Great Lake Drifters, Madison musician Simon Balto, and the band Hallorann of Appleton. (Check out the artist links for previews)

The concert is free – there’s no cover charge. But a compilation CD featuring music from favorites played on The Great Unknown will be made available for purchase.

Kent Waush promises it will be a night of awesome entertainment. And if you choose to offer some support, you’ll be furthering the cause of creative musicians in our state.

Event Details for The Great Unknown Radio:

Great-Unknown-Event-PosterWhat: Concert and CD Release Fundraiser

Where: Fox River House, 211 S Walnut Street Appleton

When: Friday, June 27th – 7 to 11pm

Website: Visit thegreatunknownradio.com

Social Media: Like The Great Unknown on Facebook

Look for other fundraisers for The Great Unknown around the state in the coming months.


  1. What a great effort for the music community–musicians and fans alike! I’m about to move back there-and I’ll be listening. Clever to offer a night’s compilation CD! All very nice!

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