On February 8, I launched my new radio mixshow, the Asheville House Music Society, on local Asheville, NC-based community radio station, AshevilleFM.org. Airing on Saturdays, late-night from 12 midnight to 2 am Sunday mornings, the show’s music format is comprised of live and pre-recorded DJ mixes in the various sub genres of house music, including deep house, tech house, indie dance/nu-disco, and techno. I’ll be announcing upcoming gigs around the city, as well as interviewing local DJs, artists, and promoters who fuel the house music scene here in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
When I arrived in Asheville in January of 2014, I learned the city’s house music community was sorely in need of a shot in the arm. While there’s a very small scene here mostly led by a few collectives like the venerable and long-lasting Earthtone Soundsystem (Deep House, Indie Dance/Nu-Disco) and Iffy and Rob’s crew, In Plain Sight (Techno), the city’s local venues and promoters generally book avant-garde live acts or drum’n’bass and EDM DJs. DJ Mark Farina, internationally known for his Mushroom Jazz series, is insanely popular here, drawing over 300 people to his shows. The local crews draw far fewer on a regular basis, unless there’s a specific event like Trasformus, which is Asheville’s forest-dwelling, rain-soaked alternative to the hot desert sun of Burning Man.
After reading about AshevilleFM.org and its open format programming strategy, as well as its push to launch a low-power FM alternative in Asheville, I knew hosting a show on the station could be the toehold house music in Asheville needs to increase visibility. While live and on-demand streaming DJ mixes on the Internet are popular, terrestrial radio continues to maintain its hold on the listening public–especially in the car. I would argue, to grow a house music scene in a major city, there needs to be a house music mix show on the radio, so people have a reliable and easy-to-access point of presence for this is kind of music. I knew AshevilleFM would be the perfect vehicle for a DJ mix show airing house music that wouldn’t make the playlist of the city’s mainstream pop music station, Star 104.3.
An Internet-only outlet since 2009, AshevilleFM.org launched a successful crowdfunding campaign last year, raising over $40,000 for operations and its FCC application for a low-power FM license to broadcast over the public airwaves. The FCC awarded AshevilleFM a license and assigned the station the call letters: WSFM-LP, and its frequency: 103.3 on the FM radio dial. With 52 shows and an all-volunteer staff, AshevilleFM is truly community-powered radio shaped by the city’s residents. The station’s engineers recently installed a 100-watt transmitter and broadcast antennae atop the Indigo Hotel in downtown Asheville, one of the highest points in the city center.
At 100-watts, the station’s broadcast footprint is approximately 10 miles and the signal is expected to reach about 100,000 people living and working in Buncombe County. In preliminary testing, the station reports its broadcast could be heard as far south as the Asheville airport, as far north as Weaverville, and as far east as Warren Wilson College. It could also be heard to the west in Candler and Canton. This certainly bodes well for the Asheville House Music Society, which will serve the local community over the public airwaves, while reaching an international audience on the web.
UPDATE: As of Monday, May 18th at 10 am, AshevilleFM activated its 100-watt transmitter and began broadcasting at 103.3 LP-FM.
Record labels and artists may send music to the show by submitting new releases encoded at 320kbps as.mp3 files via DropBox or HighTail to djtonyz [at] ashevillefm dot org. If the .mp3 file does not include identifying metadata, it’s always best to compress the .mp3 and include an accompanying text (.txt) file containing artist, song title, album title (if applicable), record label, and release date. The station does report its playlists to performing rights organizations, so it’s important to include accurate song information to ensure copyright owners receive their performance royalties.
If you miss the live stream of the Asheville House Music Society, you can always find an archive the next morning, complete with show playlist, on the Asheville House Music Society show page on the Asheville.org website here: http://www.ashevillefm.org/asheville-house-music-society. Currently, the website uses a HTML5 player for the live audio stream, making the show available on most mobile handsets. But the archived shows use an Adobe Flash audio player. Adobe Flash does not work on iPhone and most Android devices, which means for the time being, you’ll need listen to archives in a desktop browser with the latest version of Flash plugin.
For those of you with radio aggregator apps, AshevilleFM is available through the TuneIn app, or you can time-shift the broadcast on Dar.fm. You can also follow the Asheville House Music Society on Twitter (@avlhms) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ashevillehousemusicsociety?fref=ts).