Whatever Happened to Radio Anarchy?
Welcome to Blog Post #100
Kind of surprised to be here. Let's do some light slander today, shall we?
Back in the mid-90's, I was floundering in the academic grind that is grad school. I think the seeds of my discontent were specifically sown by the late Carl Rogers. I remember sitting in class and thinking "the Rogers approach is a scam, he's not helping anyone. He's just re-wording what the patient says and taking their money."
Other critics have labeled Rogers' approach as psychobabble. I know, supposedly Rogers is a pillar of Modern Psychology. Whatever. I have to bear the responsibility that I wasn't cut out for higher education. When I should have been studying even harder when I became disenchanted, I was sidetracked. I met someone at my place of business that had his own Pirate Radio Station. Even though I was in my 20's, there was a magical allure of a formatless extension of my psyche.
My guide laughed at me "not quite freedom. If you get popular, the feds will come and shut you down. If you don't get popular, you don't have an audience. It's more of a lose-lose instead of freedom."
I didn't care. My friend set up a small transmitter for me with left over Radio Shack parts and a ton of solder. We never merged operations, even though we should have. He loved Gangster Rap and believed it only needed the proper platform, in rural Minnesota, to make it popular. I, on the other hand, was addicted to snide comments intermingled between my CD collection of Punk, Metal, and Alternative.
I named the station Radio Anarchy, because I played whatever the hell I wanted. Really. I had the passion, but neither the resources nor the technical ability to pull it off. My goal was to broadcast to the college, Minnesota State University, a few miles away, but the makeshift transmitter made it only a few hundred yards. So my potential audience at the apartment complex, if everyone was listening, which they weren't, was probably a couple of hundred people.
On one occasion, when I was checking the station's range, I heard a large truck drive by me blasting what was playing on my station all the way down the street. That day I had 1 confirmed listener....
...the station never took off and a year or so later Radio Anarchy was dissolved. The job market for Pirate Radio Broadcasters was, and is, very limited.
So I went into the private sector, but my dreams never quite went away. My mentor's taste in music evolved and then he moved far, far away. The reason I'm not giving up his name is because, well, he's still at it. If you want to listen to some true pirate radio today, here ya' go:
(Hint: It's only a part time station and it's not me. Not by a long shot.)
Coincidentally, while working on this article, Chris Cornell committed suicide. His death was not only a shocking blow to his family, but killed 3 different bands all at the same time, Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Temple of the Dog. I mention this because one of the 10 or so albums in heavy rotation on Radio Anarchy was Soundgarden: A-Sides. Now you can make fun of me all you want and say "Soundgarden? That was on every rock station in America." Not where I was. Remember, in Southern Minnesota, in 97-98, radio was K-Dog, Country, and Christian. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate country music?
Editor's Note: Yes, like, at least a half dozen times. The last time when talking about Frank Zappa, in April.
So instead of yammering on and on, I am going to share the Top 10 Performances That Hearken Back to the Spirit of Radio Anarchy.
Warped - Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Day I Tried to Live - Soundgarden
Dead Bodies Everywhere - Korn
This Story Must be Told - Nomeansno
By the Time I Get to Arizona - Public Enemy
Alpha Male - Anthrax
Hooker with a Penis - Tool
Us vs Them - Sick of it All
Beer - Reel Big Fish
Gave Up - Nine Inch Nails (fixed)
I had a particularly nasty audial addiction to Nine Inch Nails. One of my favorite songs of all time is Gave Up by Nine Inch Nails, but by 1997 I had heard the song about a thousand times. I re-fell in love with the song when broadcasting Radio Anarchy. Because there were no rules, I would use the fixed version, a genius interpretation of the original that adds more confusion and space-age sound effects. I have never heard the fixed version anywhere but on Radio Anarchy and in hindsight, it is the song I'm most proud to have repetitively played.
In my head, Beacon of Speech is just Radio Anarchy with less music...
And more confidence on my part....
And the addition of the steadying influence of Ted Koly....