The first thing to know is that no one calls him by his full name: he’s been Matty Dread since “forever,” he says. His parents were children of the 60s, so he grew up with music, listening to Dylan and Joni Mitchell and Simon and Garfunkel “with a little Zeppelin mixed in,” he says. He himself chose to listen to the Beatles, and in high school “I saw social advantages to be leveraged by being a rock’n roller!” he says. “Besides, tie-dyes were fun to wear!”

He went to college in Vermont where “there were a lot of parties with local jam-bands. Phish was coming up then, playing keg parties and corner bars.” After starting his academic career as a chemistry major, Dunn quickly realized that his place wasn’t in the lab. “I changed my major to anthropology for about a minute,” he says, but then found himself attracted to the radical politics involved in philosophy: “my intro professor was an avowed Marxist,” he says. “I was socially liberal and aware on a hippie level, but I’d never thought in the systematic way that he presented things. The fact you could look at world’s inequalities through the lens of class, race, and gender, but especially the economic angle, was super-interesting to me.” He pauses. I’m actually still terribly interested in it as an engaged citizen. The movement of money can explain a lot about the world, no matter what you believe, even if it’s been used to a lot of ends. There’s something to be said about controlling the means of production.”

He went on to study philosophy at Syracuse University and began a teaching career, but soon thereafter “I had enough. Higher education is a fraudulent enterprise,” he says. “It’s a self-congratulatory illusion of unearned meritocracy. And being a junior member of the faculty is the same as indentured servitude: it’s labor done by people with no control over their work conditions.”

He was still excited by music, however, and while still in school he started working house parties; he got his first DJ job at a graduate student beer hall and his first radio job at the university.

Dunn met his wife in grad school and they both left their respective programs. They moved to the Cape in 2002, both working in the restaurant business. His father-in-law has a show on WOMR and Dunn signed on as a volunteer DJ, hosting a show called Soul Funky Train in the midnight to three a.m. slot on Sunday nights. “I was waiting tables in Hyannis and then going straight out to Ptown,” he recalls. “There wasn’t any money, but the show allowed me to pursue music.”

In 2005 he was able to get a more accessible time slot, Saturday nights from nine to midnight. “Party people found me,” he says, “and the workers of the world heard me, too. The repertoire has changed slightly over time but is fundamentally the same now.”

He wasn’t just a DJ. “I was always volunteering for something at the station,” he remembers. “I volunteered on the administrative side, started working on our internet presence, served on various committees, worked on the database. I won the Paul Christo award for cataloguing our CD collection. When the Rev—”John Nelson—“became interim executive director, he asked me to share the position with him. Since 2012 with John Braden as executive director, I’ve been operations manager.”

His show can be heard Thursday afternoons from 1:00-4:00. “The day I moved to that time slot was the day the transmitter fell over and we went off the air,” he remembers. “I like to think I didn’t have anything to do with that!”

What does he love about WOMR? “Its integrity and authenticity,” he responds. “It’s real people expressing themselves honestly. You don’t find that in a lot of places. Being manipulated by money doesn’t play in here at all. We have to raise money, but that’s not why we do anything. We serve our mission, which is to provide a voice for the people. The integrity of that mission is what makes me as proud as I can be of doing what we do here. We let the people speak.”

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