Sunday, October 12, 2003

A little History

I have been out of touch the last few weeks working hard on getting the station back on the air; I flew to Florida in search of a vessel to broadcast from off the shores of Nyack. I was successful in acquiring one and will be returning soon. For those who are unfamiliar with the radio from years ago, here is a brief history….

Back in 96’ I started a small fm station out of my bedroom in my old apartment in Nyack, I pretty much kept it under cover for the first 8 months, not knowing, who, if anyone was listening, At the time working at the Nyack post office, I worked during the day went home at night fire up the radio, ate a steak or 2, and talked about anything that came to my mind, and played some of the best music not heard on the corporate stations today. I guess you can call it fate or some divine intervention, but I was getting a little discouraged with the lack of listeners (I thought I had), But how would I know, not giving a phone number or anyway for people to give me feedback. I wasn’t the partying type, and never really went out; basically I was a legend in my own mind.
Then one day I happened upon Blind man Lou, now this character, I have seen all the time while I worked at the P.O, and if you live in Nyack you might know him also, one of the bravest and inspiring persons I met. To always see him walking by himself around the street of Nyack with his tapping stick (sorry but I don’t know the technical term for this) I was going to call it a cane, but it seems to me that this gives the impression of an older gentleman, and Lou was not old. So seeing Lou one day in a predicament I usually see him in. Lost in some ones driveway. I took opportunity to meet him, so I pulled over the mail truck hopped out, and ran across the street to where he was. “Hey Lou where are you heading” I said “ Oh I am heading to the bank” he said in return. Hmm well the bank was in the other direction and across the street, so I decided to help him out. “Oh yeah, I am heading there too” I said knowing he couldn’t tell I just jump out of a truck and ran to him. So I told him to hold on to me, and we started across the street. Well the next thing he said changed my life forever. Half way across the street he asked me what my name was, I said John….John Holmes (the name has been chanced to protect the Guilty) he continued,”Oh you sound like a person I listen to on the radio every night”. You every get one of those feeling where the hair on the back of your neck tingles and you feel so good you could cry, well this was that time for me. He then told me that that persons name was Johnny Silver. I couldn’t contain myself “Lou..Lou I am Johnny Silver!! I am him!!”
I don’t know who was more excited, me or him, he grabs my hand following it down from the arm, and shakes it vigorously, saying “ I love the stuff you play, I hope you don’t mind but I been taping your on air skits.” This was the first contact I had with someone who actually found my station and listened to it, and it was a blind person, someone who lives by sound, and touch, someone who gets enjoyment out of the radio like we get out of the TV, who, out of all that is offered in the listening world, and where it means so much to him, Wants to hear me and what I play. I was on cloud nine and the rest was history. Lou convinced me to stay on the air and I did, finding out in the next few weeks that Lou was one of thousands that tuned in each night. It was time to take the next step….

The next year I decided to give out my phone number, probably not the smartest move, but definitely a fun one, I Remember the night I gave it out, I was sitting there like duh, why aren’t people calling, I pleaded into the mic, someone let me know you out there. No luck. Still each night I would go on, play the music, talk about life, and wait, then like magic it happened, the phone started ringing, one after another, mostly high school kids, but talented ones, people started calling up as different character, Silky Sasha, Max, Mandingo. The word got out, and I had to get another phone line, by the peak of the station I had 3 phone lines and a steady rotation of D.J,s my apartment was no longer mine, I would go to sleep and someone would be on the air, and I would wake up to a dj in my apartment. I recruited my most loyal listeners to dj, and station took on a life of its own, I was able to start hanging out enjoying the fruits of my success, I would walk around Nyack and hear people talking about the station, There is a certain feeling you get when you are kind of unknown yet, known. When people talk about you at parties, yet don’t realize you are standing next to them smiling and listening. This was a great time; I had no commitments, no worries. There are so many stories to go along with the station it could fill a book, and probably will one day. The prisoners of Sing Sing calling up, Little candy cane with here drug addicted life stories, The near riot that almost took place down at memorial park, The David letterman show calling up on the air..Dave Gonzalez and the p-funk band hanging out doing a show (10 pot smoking joint carrying camouflage musician crashing at the station, with enough smoke coming out of the windows I am surprised they didn’t call the fire department).
Needless to say all great empires finally crumble. And that happed one winter day, I was still working at the post office and happened to be inside the morning the FBI, and FCC came to the post office looking for the exact location of 55 Hudson ave (my apartment, and station). My apartment was so perfectly hidden behind the Strawberry place, that it was probably the reason I wasn’t caught before that day. Well these five gentlemen were having a meeting with the postmaster, who lucky for me was less the two weeks on the job, he still didn’t know me as an employee so when they mentioned my name as the residence they where looking for it was a miracle that I wasn’t hauled out of there that day. They got the location and went instead to the landlord. Well my landlord Al was never the friendliest person to talk to, and for the last 2 years was pretty much clueless of the happening up in apt #3, so when the Suits visited him that afternoon, he was in total shock. But one good thing I have to say is Al is a very knowledgeable landlord, and knows his rights and mine, and thank you Al if you ever get wind of this, for being understanding. Well, Al asked for a warrant, if he was going to let them in, and they didn’t have one, so I was safe for the moment. That night I took down my station and hid it at a friends place, I got rid of all evidence, and didn’t answer the phone. The next day I got a summons in my Po Box telling me I had to appear in federal court in NYC to face charges on operating a station without a license, the penalty being, A fine of $100,000, and/or 1 year imprisonment. Now let me step back here a second and say the following, what I am about to describe never happened for real, because that would be illegal. Now that that’s said, lets continue. I am working at the P.O when I get this certified letter, and seeing it is from 1 federal plaza, Federal Communications Commission, I do not sign for it, I am able to get it, open it, and read it, without having to sign for it, that’s some of the bennies of working behind the scenes. Well seeing the nature of this letter, and knowing my days at the Post office are numbered any way, I decide to take things into my own hands, I pull out the appropriate paper-work, fill out the forms and pull out the stamp and stamp the letter DECEICED, and send it back.
Well within the next few weeks was Halloween and I put my notice in that I was leaving, my final day would be Oct 31st I had cleaned up well. And was ready for my next adventure. There is a saying in radio is that once your on the air its in your blood, and being a pirate stations makes it all the more exciting, its been about 3 ½ years since I been on the air full time, and the urge is growing. The next few weeks could, and probably will spawn a return or the Iron Action radio show, it will be bigger then ever, and probably get me in hot water again. But I think it is time. I am going to keep it a little more tight this time, and try to be on the air 3-4 nights a week. I hope everyone enjoys it, and feel free to participate in it.

Dj Johnny silver

Monday, October 06, 2003

The return of Iron Action Radio

Decided to sit down at the transmitter and try to figure out how i blew it up 4 years ago, it turns out i didn't blow it that bad, just that i had no idea what i was doing back then. 4 Hours of research i was able to get a low buzzing sound that clicked in and took back the old frequency 91.9 fm i was using. i Know its going to be a long night, kiss is on the cd player, and i had just eaten a roast beef sandwich, not that those 2 things would keep my from my honey in the other room, but i feel the urge to steal back the airways, and start fresh with the radio. and like a 10 year old kid the night before christmas, its hard to fall asleep.

note..what will be the first song i play when i offically go back on the air?

guerilla radio
leonard cohan
chemical brothers
back in the saddle again
something new?

time to get this blog up..back to work

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