Earlier this year, Kinetic HiFi founders Brad Cooper and Boyd Stough started up theFIX.fm, a local online radio station with an all-music format. As music lovers, but admittedly inexperienced radio guys, Cooper and Stough wanted to bring back elements that have been absent from mainstream radio for an awful long time now, like consistently good, requested music, live DJs, and a truly local presence.
"What we're trying to do at the most basic level is play stuff that people like," Cooper says. "Listeners can expect to hear a mix of indie, alternative, electronic, and local music. Some tracks you'll hear on other radio stations, but a lot will be new to people, and we like that. We're not worried about big record labels, Top 40 charts, and all that junk, and we're always taking input from listeners and contributors who have suggestions about what we should and shouldn't play."
A big plus they're proud of is that there's no big boss man telling the DJs what to play, and it's unlikely you'll hear the same song twice in one day. The FIX has been fortunate in carefully putting a crew into place that has diverse but discerning ears.
When there's no DJ in the booth, the FIX has a massive library of music in rotation from indie to electronic to local tunes, all current or from the '90s with a little bit of '80s to boot. The station is committed to playing three local tracks an hour. But the DJs lined up thus far in the station's young life are impressive, too. Listeners are exposed to local personalities who are passionate and super knowledgeable about the music that defines their shows, from hip-hop to metal to space-age funk to '60s music. The slots are that assorted and engaging, which is how radio was always supposed to be, right?
The FIX's homebase is behind Children's Cancer Society Thrift in Avondale, and good vibrations can be enjoyed by passersby via the station's outside speakers. In the meantime, here's a rundown of the FIX DJ lineup thus far:
DJ: Party Dad
Actual name: Tay McNabb
Show: The Land of the Good Groove
Showtime: Tuesdays 8-10 p.m.
Show's musical style: "I'm a big fan of the Balearic style of DJing, which is kind of hard to define, almost on purpose," McNabb says, referring to his island approach to DJing. "I guess you could say there's an overarching beach-y, vacation-y vibe to a lot of Balearic records, which I think really suits Charleston well. But there's also this wildcard element to it that's like, 'Let's take a break from the usual and go exploring!'"
Artists you may hear: McNabb says, "Stuff goes in and out of rotation for me, like any DJ, and lately I've been playing a lot of '70s jazz-funk like Roy Ayers or the Crusaders. From there, I might play some classic New York disco off of Salsoul Records, then maybe I could go off into electro or new wave and hang out in that vein for a bit before dropping something current by Todd Terje or Psychemagik and riding that vibe into some late-night house jams. Or I could just play 'Lowdown' by Boz Scaggs. Who doesn't love 'Lowdown' by Boz Scaggs? I also like to champion dollar-bin records that I may have bought as a joke, but have since worked their way under my skin. I feel this way about the work of Rupert Holmes."
DJ: Cool Hand J
Actual name: Jason Disbrow
Show: The Adventures of Commander Cool Hand
Showtime: Thursdays 8-10 p.m.
Show's musical style: "I don't want to pigeonhole myself into anything," Disbow says, "but I spin a lot of re-edits of '70s, '80s funk, soul, disco while mixing in the '80s and '90s rap that sample it. I consider the tracks 'the essential classics.'"
Artists you may hear: Midnight Star, Eric B. and Rakim, James Brown, Chubb Rock, Earth Wind & Fire, D-Train, Kashif, Skyy, Instant Funk, Gay Marvine, Audited Beats, Green Velvet, Curtis Mayfield, A Tribe Called Quest
DJ: VP on the Radio
Actual Name: Arvaughnna "Vaughn" Postema
Show: Time featuring The Then, Now, and Later
Showtime: Sunday 6-9 p.m.
Show's musical style: A first-time DJ and CisernYard Radio veteran, Postema explores hip-hop and contemporary R&B, sprinkling her sets with a good deal of current and historical facts from her well of musical knowledge.
Artists you might hear: En Vogue, Tupac, Run-D.M.C., Xscape, MC Lyte, Bobby Caldwell, OutKast
DJ: DJ Carolopolis
Actual Name: Caroline Trouche de Golian
Showtime: Mondays 6-8 p.m.
Show's musical style: Hawaiian music to punk rock, funk, house music, and rap. Trouche de Golian says, "Each song has a female-identified person performing on the track, from lead singer to drummer to guest rap vocals to cellist. The eclectic across-the-board nature of GIRLSCHOOL shows the many different ways that women contribute to music. I also spotlight local and regional bands."
Artists you might hear: Shovels & Rope, M.I.A., Potty Mouth, Prince & the Revolution, Nina Simone, Bonnie Raitt, The Breeders, Neneh Cherry, The Cramps, Cibo Matto, Wild Flag, and any of the classic tracks that Carol Kaye plays on. The name of the show is an homage to the '80s British metal band Girlschool.
DJ: Brian Castengera
Actual Name: Brian Castengera
Showtime: Tuesdays 6-8 p.m.
Show's musical style: "My focus is Americana and indie rock," Castengera says. "You may hear music from the '40s to new releases."
Artists you might hear: Lucinda Williams, Lydia Loveless, Willie Nelson, John Coltrane, Neko Case, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, and The Shins
DJ: Psychedelicized Soul
Actual Name: Mark Harris
Show: Fillmore West: The Daze of the Sixties
Showtime: Wednesdays 6-8 p.m.
Show's musical style: Harris says, "The initial show will be from the first week of January 1967. The acts that week were the Young Rascals, Sopwith Camel, and, for their first time at the Fillmore, the Doors. In addition to playing their music from the time, I will also tell anecdotes about the groups, the Fillmore, and the particular shows."
Artists you might hear: Stones, Dylan, Petty, Van Morrison, Allmans
DJ: DJ TBA
Actual Name: Landon Boozer
Show: The Metal Cavern
Showtime: Mondays 8-10 p.m.
Show's musical style: Boozer says, "Hard rock and metal with emphasis on the bands local to South Carolina."
Artists you might hear: Palmetto State metal bands like Homicyde and In for the Kill to big names like Iron Maiden, Five Finger Death Punch, and Pantera
The FIX recently released an app that conveniently allows for mobile radio-station streaming, so ditch the Spotify for a day, and give the local guys a listen. And stay tuned for an announcement on theFIX.fm on promotional events, from parties complete with live DJs and free stuff (read: booze) to a FIX festival sometime in the next year.