Back in February we told you about John Rody, a Texas Radio Hall of Famer who secured one of the FCC’s new community radio licenses enabling him to go on the air with a low-wattage FM radio station, known as The Pirate. The station, which has existed in Internet streaming form for some time, plays all local programming and finally officially launched this past Saturday, September 19.
In the months following the awarding of the license, Rody and his wife Sallie stepped up the Internet station while they raised money for a transmitter tower. A community-funded non-profit radio station can’t just write a check. A crowdfunding campaign fell far short of their goals but using military surplus gear they flipped the switch and went live over the weekend. A party ensued at The Live Oak Lounge, with acts such as Lindsay Hightower, Cut Throat Finches, KatsüK, the Phantom Sensation, Jacob Furr and Sally Majestic all playing to celebrate and support community radio.
If you find yourself in Fort Worth, you can check it out on your radio at FM 97.5. (True to its "pirate" name, the signal isn't even strong enough to reach Dallas.)
The focus of The Pirate has always been local original bands. You'll hear Rachel Gollay singing about being a receptionist, Michael Kelley's "Phlogiston Theory," Oil Boom’s "Waterloo," Katsuk’s "Cut the Cord" and the mighty Jace Bersin Trio funking it up. Local musicians can submit a recording to The Pirate and get their music put into rotation. (You just have to drop it in a box at Avoca Coffee on Magnolia in Fort Worth). Most of the community radio stations that were granted licenses under the Community Radio Act of 2010 were religious or educational organizations. In a market with close to a million potential listeners, this represents an unprecedented opportunity for local artists.
But it’s not all music, all the time. Mathew Broyles (of Shotgun Friday) hosts a show called The Barbershop, a roundtable discussion with local musicians and other involved parties. (Full disclosure: I was recently on the show with Stefan Prigmore and Rebecca Jozwiak.) Jeffery Lord’s Funkytown podcast is now broadcast on The Pirate as well. Callie Dee, the local hip-hop promoter and organizer of the DDFW Master of the Mic competition, has her hip-hop show on The Pirate as well.
In fact, anyone can pitch an idea for a show and Rody will consider it. The pirate is hosting a workshop today at Shipping and Receiving Bar for anyone interested in starting their own show. According to the Facebook page, they are looking for hosts, announcers, DJ's, commentators, sports, weather and news announcers, show creators, and producers. If you have an idea, this would be a good time to pitch it. The workshop starts at 7:00 pm and runs through 9:30 pm. Shipping and Receiving is located in Fort Worth’s near-southside area, just a couple of blocks off of Interstate 30.