Memphis, Tennessee. The home of Sun Studio, Stax, and Hi Records. The delivery room for rock and roll, and the breeding ground for blues and soul. A gritty river city that has been responsible for some of the most popular and acclaimed artists of the 20th century, such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Otis Redding, Al Green, Rufus Thomas, and many more.
So did Memphis musicians all die? Did all of the talent spontaneously combust in the mid-70’s when the hit-making machines lost steam? Do you have to go to Beale Street to see tired cover bands and impersonators in order to hear commercially-friendly Memphis music?
And Radio Memphis is the proud beacon of the wild DIY spirit and eclecticism that Memphis SHOULD be universally known for.
Ric Chetter, the founder, is a veteran of television of radio with over three decades of experience. Prior to this, he was most recently known as the co-host of the popular morning show “Bad Dog & Ric” with corporate-run FM station Rock 103. Over the years, he became increasingly jaded with the oppressive limitations of the format. No new music, fewer special guests. In April of 2011, over a pitcher of margaritas, Ric fully realized the structure and blueprint of what radio should be. His dream was Radio Memphis.
“Apply what Radio used to be to new technology with the most unique music in the world.”
I consider this to be their chief slogan as it condenses a wide range of what they actively do into one sentence. Currently broadcasting in the back of a house in the Cooper-Young district to over 100 countries, this Internet and App only station can be accessed 24/7 via your smartphone or computer. Rather than distancing the listener, Radio Memphis is using technology to bridge the gap between the PEOPLE and the MUSIC. In addition to calling in and making requests, every listener has the option of tuning in to live video and chat, which allows anyone to interact with the jocks, guest artists, and live in-studio performers. In the modern day, where there’s many degrees of separation between the consumer and the content, this is both a return to form and a road to the future for radio. This model should be emulated in every major city around the world.
Of course, nothing of this magnitude can be constructed and executed without a cast of fresh minds and colorful personalities. The uncensored remarks of Dirty ‘Di’ Dianna Fryer, the smooth impovisations of David Thorn, the offbeat tangents of Brother Doug…these jocks and more were instrumental in the groundwork, support, and continued expansion of the station.
How about the actual music? Every genre you can imagine is represented. To name a few: rock, metal, punk, country, blues, hip-hop (“Memphop”), reggae, soul. They embody the “Outlaw” attitude by kicking mainstream mediocrity to the side and giving the spotlight to the most unique artists on the rise. The irony is that many of these artists have commercial potential and high-quality recordings. Hot new tracks coming out of cities like Memphis, Nashville, and Muscle Shoals need exposure to be heard. If you’re an original artist, this could very well be your platform.
As a Memphis musician whose band is actively supported by Radio Memphis, I’ve had the opportunity to play a couple of their live events, get frequent radio play, and attend the studio multiple times. I’m continually impressed with their dedication on all fronts. They book, host and DJ live shows, which feature a variety of Radio Memphis artists. And the depth of their catalog exceeds expectations. Hundreds of songs are in rotation at any given point in time, and over 1,000 can be pulled up if requested. They continually discover new artists with radio-quality tunes—not to mention that the audio quality of the broadcast is superior to FM radio. Which leads us to the next point.
“Terrestrial Radio is Dead”
This is another one of their big slogans, and it’s hard to disagree with. In a world with sundry technologies available at everyone’s fingertips, the incentive to tune in to a standard FM/AM station and listen to “Stairway to Heaven” for the millionth time or be force-fed the same banal top 40 tracks is waning. There’s a ton of vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD and digital options for those songs if you want to revisit the classics. With a station like Radio Memphis, you can listen to the classics of the future. Something NEW.
Radio Memphis laughs in the face of the world by blazing a trail with a new format and playing great new originals from the Memphis and Mid-South area—highlighting the fact that the city is still to this day bursting at the seams with creativity, with or without national recognition.
Check out Radio Memphis @ pirateradiostudios.com
For Memphis & Mid-South artists: e-mail your original, unsigned radio-quality mp3’s to firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Robbie House
A member of one of the most notorious rock bands in Memphis, Robbie House says, “I’m looking forward to being a contributor to Outlaw Magazine. Being a Memphis musician with gallons of civic pride, I would love to cover the up-and-coming artists in my city from indie rock to metal, and from album reviews to articles. Memphis kick-started rock and roll and, despite all odds, we’re not dead yet. “
Outlaw Magazine. Country, Rock and Roll, Blues, Folk, Americana, Punk. As long as it is real, it is OUTLAW. Overproduced mediocrity need not apply.