Preserving the Sounds of Pirate Radio

In a brief music news piece, the Boulder Daily Camera reports (bugmenot passwd) that 400 hours of shows and “Live at Studio Free” sessions from the departed Boulder Free Radio are going to a new online stations called The Boulder Sound. The article lists the webstream address as but I got nothing there. The main website just gives the message “coming soon.”

The article also notes that Monk, the station’s progenitor, is giving away the station’s equipment to “worthy causes,” and that the station’s mobile-unit van has been impounded for unpaid parking tickets.

I’m glad that somebody had the forethought to record some of the station’s programs. Radio, especially the last remaining outposts of freeform and locally-produced noncommercial radio, is an ephemeral medium. Many moments of brilliance (and stupidity and mundanity) are lost to the aether and noted only by those who happened to be tuned in. Since pirate radio is the most underground, too many of the moments go noticed by too few.

Thus, recordings of pirate stations are valuable both as historical artifacts and for their own sake and enjoyment.

It would be very cool if some of those recordings could be made available for download, as well. Radio Indymedia and Radio4All offer lots of archive space which many unlicensed stations already take advantage of.

The exchange of programs between pirate stations helps make the movement more coherent, while celebrating its diversity and without forcing the overhead of having formal orgnanizations and federations. Why not be able to turn on the radio in Chicago and hear the sounds of pirate radio from Santa Cruz?