By Nina Reeba
   Saturday night is the hottest time on the FM dial for blues radio. "T," who is known as Ted Tepsich off the air, cranks up the blues jukebox every Saturday night with "Every Shade of Blue" on KSDS-FM (88.3) from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. from San Diego City College studios. Meanwhile, Dan Pothier holds court across town with "Blues Time" on KPBS-FM (89.5) every Saturday night from 9 p.m. until midnight at San Diego State University. Love of the blues is infectious; count these two among the afflicted.

   Listeners can channel-surf and get the benefit of both programs, although Pothier noted his individuality. "I have a different style than T," Pothier said. Tepsich acknowledged Pothier's influence. "Dan coming on board inspired me to make a few changes and fine-tune my show," he said.
   Pothier said he doesn't plan to compete with the KSDS blues show. He even listens to Tepsich on his drive home from the KPBS studios. Neither station is involved in the fierce ratings war, which influences everything heard on commercial radio.
   KSDS's T will celebrate the 10th anniversary of his program in December and has some special plans for the fiercely loyal following accumulated over the decade. In addition to a blues concert called "Jazz Live," he is concocting a "Blues Cruise" for listeners, as well as an original blues logo contest.
   "The listeners teach me a lot about the music and just make the whole experience total fun," Tepsich said. "This is not like a job. Many of the listeners tape the show every week. In fact, one fan showed me a trunk full of suitcases loaded with cassette tapes of my shows over the last eight years." During the five hours of "Every Shade of Blue," you'll hear as many as 75 different tunes, going back as far as 1920. Tepsich squeezes in many styles of blues, including blues from Chicago, The Delta, Texas, New Orleans, Kansas City and Memphis. He also touches on the various styles of gospel, Cajun, jump blues and even country blues. He said he combines these styles with a particular instrument in mind, such as the guitar, harmonica or piano.
"The advent of the compact disc has helped the evolution of my show tremendously," Tepsich said.
   Not only does he have access to all the new blues music, but all the major record labels are offering remastered versions of original out-of-print blues recordings. "Having a program director who loves the blues has also helped the show grow," Tepsich added. He credited Tony Sisti for enlarging the KSDS blues library from 50 to 500 CDs in just three years.
Tepsich grew up in Detroit but has spent most of his 45 years in San Diego. He's been living with an eye disease-retinitis pigmentosa-since he was a child, but wasn't diagnosed until recently. He is now legally blind, although some vision remains. Since he's been working at KSDS for more than 15 years, he knows his way around; but also uses an overhead screen device for reading. He hopes people don't pity him for his physical challenge because he said he now "sees things more clearly than ever before."
   Believe it or not, Tepsich first the heard the blues in an African jail. He doesn't like to talk about the details of his arrest since it happened "a lifetime ago." But he remembers a female inmate who was sentenced to death by hanging. Her women friends gave her a farewell serenade that lasted from 3 p.m. until 6 a.m. Tepsich described the tune as " the most hauntingly beautiful music" he'd ever heard, and whet his appetite for more.
   For those blues fanatics who don't have cable radio and happen to be out of reach of the low-powered KSDS-FM, fortunately there's a blues alternative. KPBS 89.5 FM also broadcasts an all-blues show on Saturday night. Dan Pothier, pronounced POH-shay, came out of retirement in March to take over "Blues Time." His followers previously heard his velvet voice in suddenly opened up because of the abrupt departure of Erin Searles. Flo Rogers, operations and programming coordinator at KPBS, said Searles met the man of her dreams and is now part of a cross-country trucking team. Searles hosted "Saturday Night Blues" on KPBS for two years. She also oversaw an all-jazz program on KSDS for about seven years.
Rogers said KPBS selected Pothier as Searles' replacement because he understood the style and presentation of public radio better than the applicants from commercial radio. "Dan is also a very charismatic and entertaining person with great knowledge of the music," Rogers said. "We felt he would be the program rather than merely a DJ playing records." Pothier jumped at the chance "to do a blues show." "I'm not in it for the money," he said. "I'm interested in education, preservation and commitment to the blues. Please don't think of me as an ethno-musicologist. I'm more of a blues historian."
   He humbly calls himself "just a DJ who loves the blues."
The 60-year-old father of five grown kids has led a colorful life. He was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas, but he has also lived in New York, Houston, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Tijuana.
   "When I was a kid, all the blues people passed through Beaumont to play at a little bar called the Magnolia Club," Pothier said. "I remember climbing up on a crate that I stole from a chicken house, so I could peek inside the bars' high windows to see Louis Jordan. I was't going to miss that. But the bar was segregated in those days so it was the only way I could see the musicians."

   Pothier also peeked in on B.B. King, Clifton Chenier, Big Mama Thornton, Ike Turner (without Tina) and Chuck Berry.
With such determination as a youngster, it's not surprising Pothier was eventually able to earn at least a partial living through his love of the music. From 1973 to 1975, Pothier taught a class at Howard University in Washington D.C. called "Blues History." From the lecture hall, he moved to National Public Radio in 1976 to conduct a research project on the blues. Much of that research consisted of conversations with friends and relatives of some of the greatest blues musicians of our time, including Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Johnny Shines and Furry Lewis.
   "I believe Robert Johnson is the musician most responsible for giving the blues the recognition it has today," Pothier said.
He cited the Rolling Stones, Paul Butterfield and Bonnie Raitt as artists who claim Johnson's influence. A wide variety of artists can be heard on "Blues Time." Pothier likes to play blues records from as far back as the '20s. Listeners can hear rare cuts from legendary artists such as Big Bill Broonzy, Nathan Hale, Leadbelly, Maime Smith and Memphis Minnie. He also enjoys more recent material by singers like Billie Holiday, Koko Taylor, Katie Webster, The Uppity Blues Women, Debbie Davis and John Lee Hooker. Pothier's vast record collection forced renovations to his garage. He converted his garage into a music library that houses 12,000 jazz, blues and R&B records.
Many radio stations don't own that many records. A vinyl purist, Pothier has only recently begun buying CDs. And unlike DJs on commercial radio, Pothier gets to select his own music.
   "I focus on what I'm feeling that evening and take it from there, he said. "After all, that's what blues is - feeling."

By Colleen Gibbs
   Jazz fans will soon be dazzled with the same theatrical, sound-and-sight sensations that have mesmerized rock aficionados at the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center. Beginning Oct.1, the Space Theater will present "Lites Out in 3-D: San Diego's Laser Jazz Show," which features a 14-song soundtrack highlighted by jazz greats David Sanborn, Hiroshima, Andreas Vollenweider, Lee Ritenour and San Diego's own A.J. Croce.
   KiFM staffers Bob O'Connor, Tony Schondel and Jeff Prentice produced the soundtrack, which is accompanied by brand new computer-generated, 3-D imagery created by ChromaDepth. The technology blends with the soundtrack to form the first and only 3-D laser jazz show in the country.
   Previously, rock was the only type of music to accompany the laser technology, according to space theater spokeswoman Sally Buckalew.
"For the jazz soundtrack, the laser imagery is very different," she said. "It's smoother and more mellow.--more conducive to jazz."
   Lites Out in 3-D: San Diego's Laser Jazz Show will be staged Wednesdays through Saturdays at 9:15 p.m., with extra 6 p.m. shows on Saturdays and Sundays.
For ticket s, call 238-1233.