FREE AIR RADIO began when Shlomit Strutti, Alexander Chaparro, and I were out walking in Bushwick, looking for potential spaces to rent to do something like what would later become 7 Belvidere. We were loitering in Punk Alley, and Van Dave from the bookstore was complaining to us about the new internet radio station, KPISS, that had started broadcasting live on the web from a tiny storefront in the back of the alley. Dave was pissed that the station’s management seemed to look down on the punks while nonetheless still trying to cloak their project in the alley’s street cred. He said the DJ’s usually invited tons of their friends to come hang out on the air in the studio and they’d often leave behind a mess in the alley for the bookstore to clean up. He said, “Can you believe it? The owner even asks the DJ’s to pay like $35 a month to do a show?!?” I said, “Wait a minute… you mean, for only $35 a month, we can have a radio show AND a social space where we can host a weekly party in Punk Alley?!? Holy shit! We are IN!”
After we successfully signed up for a graveyard shift every other Friday night, Free Air Radio settled into a year of its mission to aurally outline the invisible connections between DIY cultural production all throughout NYC. We went to tons of live events — from museum artist talks to poetry readings to basement punk shows — and made recordings which we played on the air alongside Shlomit’s homemade sound collages, weirdo found sounds, and stuff that listeners made and sent in. Often we were joined live in the studio by a wide variety of guests and friends and we often aired live music and DJ sets for those gathered in Punk Alley. After a year, our always shaky relationship with KPISS proved untenable, but Shlomit and I are hoping to regroup to make a couple of mix cassettes this year of FAR-like material and to maybe even relocate our show to another station! Stay tuned!
The year’s worth of Free Air Radio broadcasts are archived here: Featuring rare live performances and readings by Alice Wynne, Angel Rada, Anne Waldman, Anselm Berrigan, Barbara Hammer, Baseera Kahn, Bernadette Mayer, Bikini Kill, Bill Daniel, Black Flag, Blake Nemec, CA Conrad, Cat Tyc, Celia Cruz, Celie Dailey, Charlie McAlister, Chris Kraus, Constance de Jong, Constant Insult, Contemporary Time Travel, Cookie Mueller, County Z, D Boon, David Wojnarowicz, Doom, Dushko Petrovich, Eileen Myles, Elaine Kahn, Emily Skillings, Ernesto Brando, Exotica, Fred and Toody Cole, Gauche, Gertrude Stein, Grant Hart, Gregg Bordowitz, Haram, HIRS Collective, Ivy Jeanne, Jackie Shane, Jenn Pelley, Joel Nelson, Kat Case, Katie Fowley, Lara Lorenzo, Lauren Stroh, Lea Bertucci, Library, Mary Jane Dunphe, Mel Chin, Mommy, Morgan Vo, Myriam Gurba, Nandas, Negative Joy, Norma Tanega, Oblivia, Patsy, Paul de Jong, Pharoah Sanders, Phil Noblock, Porqueria, Psychic Hotline, Ravi Coltrane, Reid Urban, Sara Jane Stoner,Sarah Steadman, SBSM, Serafima Mintz, Shellshag, Skot Oh, Sto Len, Suzanne Goldberger, Tashi Dorji, Tennessee Jones, The Deep Throats, The Raincoats, The Remnants, Tobi Vail, Tomas Transtromer, Tommy Pico, Trace Peterson, Uncle Happiness, V Vale, Vaginal Davis, Valerie Solanas, Walt Dangerfield, William Pope L., World of Pooh, Xylitol, Zero Gravity Thinkers and MORE!!!