Editor’s Note: In last week’s edition of our free email newsletter, the Radio Survivor Bulletin, I asked readers to share what keeps them motivated and excited to create great radio, even when burnout begins creeping in. Rachel Duchak responded and directed me to this short essay she wrote for her website, Central Coast Foodie. It’s a lovely reflection on getting involved in a new LPFM community station, and she kindly gave us permission to republish it here. –Paul
As someone who grew up in southwestern Ohio watching WKRP in Cincinnati, I particularly enjoy delivering my weekly live radio show via our local Low Power FM station, 97.3 The Rock. For over two years since our little community radio station began broadcasting over the (5 mile radius) airwaves and streaming out worldwide via the internet, KEBF in Morro Bay, CA has allowed me the opportunity to mind the metaphorical baby of live radio for an hour or so every week. I collect the mic baby from the hosts wrapping up their shows at 2pm on Fridays, deliver my ideas and favorite music over the internet and local airwaves to anyone listening around the entire planet, and then pass off that baby to DJ JD, the host who takes over the mic from me during the Friday afternoon mix.
“Do you get paid for that?” asks an incredulous friend when I tell her the gig. “Absolutely,” I grin while thinking of all the work the station does for us volunteers to get our message out to the community nearby and far away. I’m paid in collective effort for the greater good.
The antics and personalities that made the fictional WKRP so entertaining aren’t as prevalent with our little IRL local station, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a good story. Not only do we get to play whatever we want via our open programming format-free format, but we also provide a radio home to local air talent looking for an ON AIR home. Our volunteer-powered community radio station has room on the schedule for several non-student DJs kicked off the local college station during KCPR’s refocus on student broadcasters last year as well as nine DJs from beloved local commercial station KOTR that was bought out years ago.
The allure of playing music to the whole world runs strong through our station’s air talent, who present shows that run the gamut from old school funk, classic early jazz, live comedy clips, world music, “The Vinyl Frontier,” new music, reggae, food & wine, “Urban Landscapes,” local interest, The Dead, and more. Abe Perlstein brings into his “Tuesday Lunch” show a constant stream of local and traveling musicians for live performances on the radio, making his show a strong favorite of many listeners. In my show, “X Marks the Spot with Central Coast Foodie,” I try to stimulate everyone’s brain, appetite, and dancing feet. My show is a mix of Solid Gold dancing, literature PhD studies, and foodie activism you’ll not find anywhere else. Definitely not your normal radio programming.
When we set up our little pop-up booth with our snazzy volunteer-produced logo to sell our t-shirts and introduce our station, I’ve noticed that gone are the days when we were a new discovery for almost everyone: now we’re a good friend on the radio to so many locals and visitors, especially those who were still mourning the end of KOTR. In the past year, I’ve represented The Rock with my compadres at the 50th Anniversary celebration for the City of Morro Bay as well as the Lighted Boat Parade, the Kite Festival, the Merchant’s Fair, July 4th in Cayucos (2014) and Morro Bay (2015), and other events to help get the word out about our cool little radio station fully operated by volunteer power and lots of heart.
What kind of show interests you? Our schedule offers something for almost anyone, from Harry Farmer’s uplifting and enlightening tunes on “Eclectic Avenue,” to FlutterBy Cam’s “Massive Cure Power Lunch,” to five straight hours of the Monday Night Blues Block. Reggae, sports talk, dog training chat, highlights of the Morro Bay City Council’s agenda presented by Mayor Jamie Irons, and so much more.
We’ll never have a Dr. Johnny Fever problem where we wonder if anyone’s listening out there during late night programming hours: we know we have devoted listeners. If you’re an avid listener of the station, tell your friends near and far what a cool little LPFM station you’ve discovered on the beautiful Central Coast. All you usually have to say is, “No commercials,” and they’re open to listening via EsteroBayRadio.org or the TuneIn app via KEBF. If you’ve donated this year, thanks for the financial assistance. Still need to donate? Get it done to keep us on the air. THANKS!!