Milwaukee's Riverwest Radio Goes From The Web To the Airwaves
December 31, 2015 at 12:49 PM (PT)
The station operates at about one-thousandth the strength — and reach — of the most powerful stations. "It's the same as when you have soup cans with string or walkie-talkies as a kid," said station manager MARTIN HALLANGER. "Turning it on, when you first hear your buddy talking, it's like magic."
The station operates out of RIVERWEST FILM AND VIDEO, where a small, 40-foot tower has been installed on the roof.
The LOCAL COMMUNITY RADIO ACT, which passed in 2010 and relaxed the FCC's rules for protecting the reception for existing stations, made RIVERWEST RADIO possible. The FCC, in turn, provided a short window of opportunity for community-based stations to apply for licenses in the fall of 2013.
RIVERWEST slides in between Top 40 WXSS-FM (103.7) and Spanish WDDW-FM (104.7).
More than 1,400 LP stations have taken to the airwaves, and more are scheduled to go online in the next year or two, said the FCC's NEIL GRACE.
With antiquated audio equipment scavenged from eBAY and a dining table rescued in an alley, XAV LEPLAE built a studio for RIVERWEST RADIO in his movie rental shop four years ago, an "online labor of love."
Anyone who wanted a spot on the station got a show. You just had to put your name on the chalkboard schedule in the video store window and show up 15 minutes before airtime to get training on the audio boards.
The station's current lineup features eight hours of original content broadcast live from 3p to 11p each day, the large majority of it Talk.
Some of the more distinctive programs include "ANJA Notanja Asks," a conceptual interview show with artists, musicians and writers hosted by artist and poet ANJA SIEGER; "PACKERSverse," a conceptually sprawling and gabby exploration of the GREEN BAY PACKERS and all things WISCONSIN with MILWAUKEE Ald. NIK KOVAC; and "Cinema Fireside," musings on sometimes obscure film themes with MARK BORCHARDT, of "American Movie" fame, GABE VANHANDLE and LEPLAE.
RIVERWEST RADIO is hosting a launch party at the station, 824 E. Center St., FRIDAY from noon to 3p It is free and open to the public.