For years, Birmingham and its surrounding areas have turned to radio host Scott Register for the latest and greatest tracks, albums and artists. Just about every Sunday since ’97, Reg’s Coffee House has explored music old and new from a variety of genres. Along the way, he’s made an invaluable impact on the Birmingham music scene. We chatted with Reg himself about what those 25 years mean to him.
Bham’s music authority
Chances are, when you find your next favorite artist, they’ve been played on Reg’s Coffee House first. What started out 25 years ago as a show for singer-songwriters evolved into a chill amalgamation of Reg’s music taste—whatever that is for the day. The constant over the years? People turn to Reg’s Coffee House to filter what they listen to.
We asked him how it feels to hit the impressive 25-year milestone.
“Honestly, it’s surreal. It’s really tough to wrap my head around it. Every time I try to sit down and write something about it, I kind of have trouble putting it into words. It’s been an amazing ride and I’ll keep going as long as people will listen.”Scott Register
You know the saying, time flies when you’re having fun? That couldn’t be more of the truth for Reg, who’s been filling the ears of central Alabama with good tunes for years.
“Sometimes it feels like yesterday when we started and sometimes it feels like it was eons ago. It just depends. Bottom line is that I still love doing it. It still brings me joy to connect music lovers to artists and I’m lucky to have a platform to do it.”
A walk down memory lane
In the beginning, the vision for Reg’s Coffee House was what he described as your friend coming over to your place on a Sunday morning with a stack of CDs. Although that’s not how most of us play our tunes anymore, the heart of his vision has remained the same.
After all these years, Reg hasn’t preprogrammed any of his playlists. He simply gets on the air, starts playin’ a song and sees where it takes him. His “go with the flow” approach truly does make it feel like your friend is showing you their latest favorites.
It’s all in the motto: Reg’s Coffee House—helping build your music library one song at a time.
Bham Now: Have streaming services changed the way you discover new artists?
Reg: “I’ve never restricted how I found artists, so it gave me another way to find them. But I don’t spend a lot of time on streaming services. I’ve never been one to chase music. I’d rather just put my own playlist together.
I get introduced to some artists through emails and social media messages, asking me to check out their music. And if it’s something I’m into—great. If not, that doesn’t mean anything either. Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean there’s not somebody out there that does.”
Bham Now: What’s something that you wish you could tell yourself 25 years ago?
Reg: “Stick to your guns. I always had a vision for this, I always told myself to trust my taste in music and not be influenced by others. That’s always been the way I’ve done it. I mean, it’s my name on the show so it needs to be indicative of what I want to play, and I’ve never wavered from that.
It was—and it still is—what I would call my therapy session. It was a chance for me to go into the studio and play music that I love, and not have the pressures of my job on me.”
Bham Now: On your first day, was there a song you couldn’t wait to play on the air?
Reg: “The only song I can remember playing on that first show is the opening track because I play it every year on our anniversary. It was Worthy by Ani DiFranco, from her album Not A Pretty Girl.
She’s always been fiercely independent. She wouldn’t sign a label deal, she started her own label. She did everything on her own and I thought that her ethos and mine were similar in that way. She wasn’t someone that got a ton of radio play, so it was great to get her on the air.”
Lover of animals + music
Every year, the GBHS puts on one of the largest animal rescue fundraisers in the south—the Jazz Cat Ball. The thrilling Mardi Gras themed social event includes a black-tie gala, seated dinner, live music, casino and huge live auctions.
The Jazz Cat Ball honors someone every year who has gone above and beyond as an animal advocate in the community. This year, Scott Register was selected as the honoree for his never-ending passion for animals and the GBHS.
“I like to help these voiceless animals have a voice, along with the rest of the Humane Society, all the volunteers, the board…everybody that makes it work. It’s never easy and some of the stuff that we’ve seen is heartbreaking. It can rip hope from you. But you find a way to turn it around and give hope in places where it might not typically appear. I’ve always been a fan of animals just as much as I’m a fan of music.”Scott Register
Scott and his family have been consistently involved with the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. Scott is a former GBHS Board Member and has been lending them a helping hand for just about as long as he’s been on the air. He assisted with the capital campaign to construct the current GBHS building and hopes to assist in future projects for years to come.
The Jazz Cat Ball raises funds that help the GBHS get through their year. If you’d like, there’s still time to become a sponsor or purchase a table. Or, you can help save animals’ lives by donating online.
“I’ve made some really good friends over the years. I’ve been able to help a lot of artists get to the next level, and I’ve been able to help Birmingham get more recognition for how great the music-loving audience is here. It’s a privilege to be able to do it.”Scott Register
Tune in to Reg’s Coffee House on Birmingham Mountain Radio 107.3, every Sunday from 10AM-2PM.
What music have you discovered from Reg’s Coffee House? Tag us @bhamnow and let us know.