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Chicago Independent Radio Project

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I support the mission of Chirp, though to be honest, I never even consider listening to the radio these days. The pool has been brackish and dead for too many years thanks to the corporate radio model utilized by such behemoths as Clear Channel and their ilk. Now I just keep an iPod or an iPhone with me anywhere that I might have listened to the radio in years past- car, walking, biking, riding the CTA.

Ain't Misbehavin' - Joe Daniels and his Hot Shots - Decca Records

What will set Chirp apart, Ms. Campbell said, is not only the sheer breadth of its offerings, which she described as “a diverse array of independent and under-appreciated music from a wide range of eras and genres,” but also its D.J.’s passionate love for the songs they play.

“Maybe I’ll play a great new local band sandwiched between a David Bowie song and a Yo La Tengo song,” said Mr. Drase, who will co-host a show. “You never know what you’re going to turn people on to.”

Unlike most commercial stations, where the average play list might include about 500 songs, Chirp has a catalog of nearly 50,000 albums, which were donated. And the idea, said Billy Kalb, the station’s music director, is to play as many as possible.

“We want to be like the friend with the really amazing record collection,” said Mr. Kalb, 24, as he sorted through donated CD’s. “We want to play enough new music to keep things interesting, and the local bands that other stations probably won’t touch.”

[Click to continue reading Independent Station’s Power Lies With Its People – NYTimes.com]

If Chirp had only been launched fifteen years ago, before we all started carrying around our music libraries1 nearly everywhere we go…

CDs shelf one

Here’s what they say about themselves:

The Chicago Independent Radio Project, or CHIRP, was formed to bring a truly independent music- and arts-focused community radio station to Chicago.

At a time when corporate-owned radio grows ever more bland, repetitious, and commercialized, community radio is more important than ever. The volunteers at CHIRP are true believers in radio that is diverse, exciting, live, and locally-based. Community radio is non-commercial, and is created by regular people from all walks of life, not just broadcast professionals. It is committed to playing music the big stations won’t touch, and to focusing on the vibrant culture of a community that often flies under the radar. This is the kind of station CHIRP is creating.

CHIRP is launching its new service on the web at CHIRPradio.org in the fall of 2009. In addition, we are working to change the law so we can eventually apply for a broadcast license. In order to do this, CHIRP and its allies must convince Congress and the FCC to change rules that say there is no room for new low power FM radio stations in big cities like Chicago.

CHIRP must raise money to cover the costs of its day-to-day operation, which includes costs like rent, streaming, utilities, and equipment. The organization also needs funds on hand so that it is in good position to apply for a new broadcast license at some point in the future.

Fortunately, these goals are well underway. Studio buildout is nearly complete. Congress and the FCC are in the midst of reconsidering the law that limited LPFM to rural and exurban areas. And CHIRP has already raised thousands of dollars thanks to the generous support of individuals, bands, venues, and foundations.

[Click to continue reading CHIRP: The Chicago Independent Radio Project]

Footnotes:
  1. I have over 171 days worth of music in my library at the moment. Of course some of it is shite, but at least I am in control of what song gets played when []

Written by Seth Anderson

December 27th, 2009 at 11:40 am

Posted in Business,Music

Tagged with , ,

3 Responses to 'Chicago Independent Radio Project'

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  1. Hey Seth, cool write-up! I personally get sick of my own ipod quite frequently and I’ve already discovered a few songs I didn’t know existed from listening to CHIRP. It’s also possible to listen on an iphone but I don’t have one to try it out. I agree 100% about the sad state of radio these days. I especially dislike stations with narrow specialty shows because even though I mark my calendar for some, I forget that they exist very quickly.

    Kumar McMillan

    21 Jan 10 at 1:53 pm

  2. I wish the best for CHIRP, though to be honest, I never even think about listening to the radio.

    Seth Anderson

    21 Jan 10 at 2:22 pm

  3. Yeah, it’s going to be tough. I think it will be better when we get our FM license so that people can listen in the car and have an easier time integrating it into their daily routines. We’re also hoping the format will make it listenable at any time of the day.

    Kumar McMillan

    21 Jan 10 at 2:44 pm

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