Community radio is one of those things rarely appreciated by communities which actually have it. Having spent too much of our adult life in the cultural armpit known as South Florida, we know all too well the hunger bordering on obsession for good radio. It just wasn't there. Sure, there would be the occasional promising format change or personnel shuffle at semi- (barely) progressive stations. There was even one attempt at a free-form format for which we were lucky enough to work -- until it went under, soon after. So, it stood to reason that as soon as we landed in Austin, bygod, Texas, the Live Music Capital of the World ™, we would OD on halfway decent radio. There was KUT and KGSR and KNNC, all interesting in their own ways, but still limited (dare we say stilted?) to marketing to people's LCD instead of providing service for them. Not that there is anything wrong with that in a capitalist economy. It's just that some of us like to pretend that the radio waves transcend ownership, like the earth, the sea, and the sky in which it resides. Some of us like to pretend that radio is a public service, by and for the people and all that malarkey. So some of us are a bit more than giddy when it comes to our local community radio stations KOOP
, and UT's student station KVRX
. For some of us, these are essential to our culture, providing opportunities for people to hear music, info, and political discourse they would otherwise not enjoy. For Austin to have three odd little stations, the caliber of these is phenomenal. At anytime of day or night, Austinites may escape the commercial blather or sleepy FM-drone of the local radio market. Our community stations are at times amateur and silly, as well as informative and risk-taking, and Austin, Texas is all the better for it. So, when you see the words Pledge Drive
, don't scream, don't run the other way. Give money. Support local community radio. This week, KOOP Radio 91.7 FM
makes it easy. As has been its way in the past, KOOP presents an odd-ball event that resembles a party as much as a fundraiser. Their North Loop Strip Block Party Blow Out
, this Sat, Sep 20, 4-7pm in the 100 block of North Loop & Ave. F) should be just that. Those nutty merchants of North Loop (Forbidden Fruit, Hog Wild, Room Service, Musical Exchange, Highland Plaza Shoe Repair, Herbs & Things!, Austin Homebrew, Midnight Tacos, Ararat, North Loop Food Store, and Sgt. Peppers) will give away tons of stuff, including free beer
, beverages, tacos, and snacks. Local bands (Gringo Starr, Killing Ophelia, Mariachi Diamonte, Group Anatolia, and more) will sing and play their generous hearts out. Go thou and do likewise. 472-1369.
While there is no serious shortage locally, the American Red Cross has sent out an urgent appeal for Type O Blood to help alleviate a serious drain on the national blood supply. As of early September, local supplies were at less than half the inventory required for local hospitals. We're not talking Mountain Dew or Yoo-Hoo here, people. The shelf-life on this life-stuff is 42 days, tops -- so, it's not like they can stockpile. Please donate. The Central Texas Regional Blood & Tissue Center, 4300 N. Lamar, needs you. You must be 18 years or older, weigh more than 110 pounds, and be in good health. Eat before you give (so you don't pass out). 451-2222.