Guerrilla radio

Indie radio broadcasters come out from under the radar

Indie radio broadcasters come out from under the radar

Simon Stewart - Radio Radio
Deane Craw - Spellbound Radio
Drew Kirk - The Switch FM

Radio Radio 107 FM

The Fish and Chip Papers was the name of Radio Radio founder Simon Stewart’s Sunday programme at Rev Radio in the 1990s.

Broadcast from No 9 in Gladstone Road the idea was to present items from this-day-in-history and match them with music selections. From time to time, Stewart included topical news stories accompanied by an well-suited selection of a track or three.

Although Radio Radio content is mostly non-stop music, The Fish and Chip Papers slot has carried on into Radio Radio (the handle was inspired by English rock band Elvis Costello and the Attractions’ song by the same name).

Other than continuous music, and the occasional theme such as soul, Radio Radio has no fixed format, says Stewart. With a personal theory that 10 percent of any genre is worth listening too, his taste in music is eclectic although much of the music he plays are the sounds he grew up with.

“I might start playing soul music. That will keep developing. You put songs together that fit one another then change slowly over about five songs.”

For optimal sound quality Stewart has transferred his extensive 1200 CD collection into lossless files.

“They have better sound quality than MP3. Lossless files aren’t compressed. You can hear the difference.”

Because his music collection spans eight decades he aims for variety but he spent his formative afternoons in the 1970s so a lot of 70s and 80s music — only the cool stuff — is spun on Radio Radio.

“When you have some drinks and go home and have a private party — that’s what running a radio station is like.”

Spellbound 106.8 FM

Blues and jazz largely make up the Spellbound Radio diet. Most shows are put together by other people and these shows are the main staple of Deane Craw’s radio station.

“The worldwide blues family is pretty generous,” he says. “I don’t have to pay for them. Shows from the US seem to have good support and somehow they just do it.”

One such show is Mighty Mouth Blues hosted by award winning DJ Jonathan “Oogie” Richards.

“He’s very out there. He has a lot of talk as well as music on his show. The show I like the most is Smokestack Lightning. It comes out of Florida and plays the top 10 blues songs and the best of more than 10 years of blues music.

“The Indie Blues show is by a New Zealand guy who teams up with an American female DJ.”

Another show called The Soul of the Blues is hosted by freelance voice artist and Radio Cardiff presenter Jeremy Rees. The Wales-based programme presents new blues and soul-based releases and classics from Mississippi Delta blues to roots rock; rhythm and blues and southern soul.

While blues dominate the Spellbound menu, Friday and Monday nights are given over to hard rock show Legends of Rock.

“Legends of Rock branches out into more of a rock show than blues. Eight to the Bar is a new show with interesting American stuff,” says Craw.

The Sunday night show features music from the 1920s to 1960s.

Spellbound is also broadcast online.

“I probably have more listeners overseas than I do here,” says Craw.

Each show plays twice a week and Craw posts a weekly schedule on his website, spellboundradio.net/wp/. Craw keeps playlists of individual tracks and encourages people to email him if they want to know the name of a particular song and artist.

“I’ve gone to the niche market with blues as a point of difference,” he says. “I play what I like. It’s not as if I depend on it for a living.

“As a kid I learned piano and trombone and dabbled with guitar. I don’t play any more but the experience gave me a taste for music. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs but it was always music, music, music.”

The Switch 87.9 FM

On the spur of the moment, The Music Room owner Drew Kirk bought a radio frequency at an auction in 2009.

“I’d been a DJ in the 1980s so radio was an extension of that. No one played much 80s music at the time. That was my era but not a lot of its music was represented on radio.

“Radio broadcast was something I wanted to try but I had no idea where to start.”

He researched transmission technology and sourced suitable equipment and products.

“Most radio stations use radio frequencies. I use internet to broadcast over the air. This was different from a lot of low-powered, small stations. I transmit signal over the internet. The audio is encoded with a lossless, digital radio format that can be decoded into audio signal at the other end.”

The other end is at the top of a hill. Spellbound radio has a transmitter at the same location. The two stations transmit at different frequencies but share the same aerial.

Kirk allocates categories such as tempo, year and genre to his music selections.

“I try to change the genre variety every three songs. I use two types of New Zealand radio software — one that creates playlists based on commands like three alt-rock songs followed by drum and bass.

“The other software plays commands. I can shift stuff around or delete a song. The software lets me create arrangements for how the day will play out.”

“I play everything that is not on commercial radio — alt-rock, electronica — but I still play some choice, classic ‘80s bands like Hunters and Collectors, The Johnnys, Hoodoo Gurus, Iggy Pop and the Stooges. A little drum and bass from time to time.”

Kirk’s radio station can be accessed online at www.theswitch.co.nz. The website plays the current track but no playlists are available. If you want to Spotify the artist you are hearing, stop the car, go online and note down the song.

Radio Radio 107 FM

The Fish and Chip Papers was the name of Radio Radio founder Simon Stewart’s Sunday programme at Rev Radio in the 1990s.

Broadcast from No 9 in Gladstone Road the idea was to present items from this-day-in-history and match them with music selections. From time to time, Stewart included topical news stories accompanied by an well-suited selection of a track or three.

Although Radio Radio content is mostly non-stop music, The Fish and Chip Papers slot has carried on into Radio Radio (the handle was inspired by English rock band Elvis Costello and the Attractions’ song by the same name).

Other than continuous music, and the occasional theme such as soul, Radio Radio has no fixed format, says Stewart. With a personal theory that 10 percent of any genre is worth listening too, his taste in music is eclectic although much of the music he plays are the sounds he grew up with.

“I might start playing soul music. That will keep developing. You put songs together that fit one another then change slowly over about five songs.”

For optimal sound quality Stewart has transferred his extensive 1200 CD collection into lossless files.

“They have better sound quality than MP3. Lossless files aren’t compressed. You can hear the difference.”

Because his music collection spans eight decades he aims for variety but he spent his formative afternoons in the 1970s so a lot of 70s and 80s music — only the cool stuff — is spun on Radio Radio.

“When you have some drinks and go home and have a private party — that’s what running a radio station is like.”

Spellbound 106.8 FM

Blues and jazz largely make up the Spellbound Radio diet. Most shows are put together by other people and these shows are the main staple of Deane Craw’s radio station.

“The worldwide blues family is pretty generous,” he says. “I don’t have to pay for them. Shows from the US seem to have good support and somehow they just do it.”

One such show is Mighty Mouth Blues hosted by award winning DJ Jonathan “Oogie” Richards.

“He’s very out there. He has a lot of talk as well as music on his show. The show I like the most is Smokestack Lightning. It comes out of Florida and plays the top 10 blues songs and the best of more than 10 years of blues music.

“The Indie Blues show is by a New Zealand guy who teams up with an American female DJ.”

Another show called The Soul of the Blues is hosted by freelance voice artist and Radio Cardiff presenter Jeremy Rees. The Wales-based programme presents new blues and soul-based releases and classics from Mississippi Delta blues to roots rock; rhythm and blues and southern soul.

While blues dominate the Spellbound menu, Friday and Monday nights are given over to hard rock show Legends of Rock.

“Legends of Rock branches out into more of a rock show than blues. Eight to the Bar is a new show with interesting American stuff,” says Craw.

The Sunday night show features music from the 1920s to 1960s.

Spellbound is also broadcast online.

“I probably have more listeners overseas than I do here,” says Craw.

Each show plays twice a week and Craw posts a weekly schedule on his website, spellboundradio.net/wp/. Craw keeps playlists of individual tracks and encourages people to email him if they want to know the name of a particular song and artist.

“I’ve gone to the niche market with blues as a point of difference,” he says. “I play what I like. It’s not as if I depend on it for a living.

“As a kid I learned piano and trombone and dabbled with guitar. I don’t play any more but the experience gave me a taste for music. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs but it was always music, music, music.”

The Switch 87.9 FM

On the spur of the moment, The Music Room owner Drew Kirk bought a radio frequency at an auction in 2009.

“I’d been a DJ in the 1980s so radio was an extension of that. No one played much 80s music at the time. That was my era but not a lot of its music was represented on radio.

“Radio broadcast was something I wanted to try but I had no idea where to start.”

He researched transmission technology and sourced suitable equipment and products.

“Most radio stations use radio frequencies. I use internet to broadcast over the air. This was different from a lot of low-powered, small stations. I transmit signal over the internet. The audio is encoded with a lossless, digital radio format that can be decoded into audio signal at the other end.”

The other end is at the top of a hill. Spellbound radio has a transmitter at the same location. The two stations transmit at different frequencies but share the same aerial.

Kirk allocates categories such as tempo, year and genre to his music selections.

“I try to change the genre variety every three songs. I use two types of New Zealand radio software — one that creates playlists based on commands like three alt-rock songs followed by drum and bass.

“The other software plays commands. I can shift stuff around or delete a song. The software lets me create arrangements for how the day will play out.”

“I play everything that is not on commercial radio — alt-rock, electronica — but I still play some choice, classic ‘80s bands like Hunters and Collectors, The Johnnys, Hoodoo Gurus, Iggy Pop and the Stooges. A little drum and bass from time to time.”

Kirk’s radio station can be accessed online at www.theswitch.co.nz. The website plays the current track but no playlists are available. If you want to Spotify the artist you are hearing, stop the car, go online and note down the song.

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