Pirate radio has long been a staple of music. For those who don’t know, pirate radio is essentially a catch-all term for radio that transmits without a valid license, for free, or in any other clandestine way. The history of this includes revolutionary broadcasts, protests, and of course, music that might not have fit within traditional radio parameters. It’s an idea that’s easily romanticized. In fact, it was in a (mediocre) British comedy film that came out in 2009 called Pirate Radio.
More recently, with the liberalization of music distribution platforms because of the internet, pirate radio has become more of a concept encapsulating free internet radio broadcasts that facilitate music discovery. There are several popular internet radio stations out there that provide curated music discovery playlists and more unique experiences with artists that you often don’t find on traditional broadcasts.
Musicians Sage Redman (Seattle native) and Joe Gillick (British born, Seattle resident) want to bring pirate radio to Seattle with Orphan Radio. The broadcast will be based out of LoveCityLove, a Capitol Hill art gallery.
In speaking about what they hope pirate radio brings to Seattle, Gillick told The Stranger, “Pirate radio nullifies the pedestal of the artist. You’ll see global stars like Jamie xx or Four Tet [broadcasting] in this little shack. Then you’ll be at Radar Radio and see people from the [grime label/collective] Boy Better Know, like Skepta, and it’s like they’re just another person doing radio, like you.”
What they particularly hope to do is bring together Seattle’s sometimes balkanized music scene. Says Redman, “People who like punk don’t go to techno nights, and vice versa. We’re trying to dissuade people from staying in their lane—to welcome people to listen to all kinds of stuff.”
Building a community of musicians across genres is a noble goal and one certainly worth pursuing. Orphan Radio is also seeking to use the LoveCityLove space to put on events associated with the Orphan Radio mission.
Starting out, Orphan Radio will operate on Saturdays and Sundays, from 5 PM to midnight. They hope to eventually branch out to Mondays and Tuesdays and to build out the roster of artists and DJs to be able to go 24/7.
To listen in and support the project, head over to orphanrecords.co.uk.
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