Here we are again... and things are going pretty good. Smaller group, more focus, more attention to the station by a more dedicated set of folks. It's goodness.

I think one way to bring down a pirate station is to let in anyone interested in doing it. Pirate radio, by nature, attracts some fringe folks (myself included). The problem is not all of these folks are thinking in terms of community and working withing a group of people. Some have an axe to grind regardless of it's effect on the overall view of the station by it's listeners (or the effect on the other station members). Some are just into having a party and using the station as the focal point. Some are just plain nuts. But most aren't. No way to tell though until they've been around for awhile.

The key is to have a MISSION and clearly defined reason for being. This time around, I wrote up a Mission Statement and clear set of policies (how we'll operate day to day) and went over it with the captains (that set of folks that help run the station day to day). We then asked everyone to sign it (using their DJ names only, of course).

Not a legal document by any stretch, but a clear statement of why we're here and how we'll operate. If you don't agree with the approach, no worries, don't sign it, and go do something else. I think it's given us a much clearer sense of purpose and direction than before. So far everyone's agreed with the whys and hows.

We also instituted a sort of probation period (3 mo) where your show and contribution to the station get's reviewed at the end of the period by the captains council and you then become a full fledge pirate (or not). If it's not working out, everyone agree's up front that, at 3 mo, we part ways amicably. If it is, we go forward and that person get's more responsibility and say in the running of the station.

We'll see if, over time, it sticks.

You know, the hard part of pirate radio isn't the technical aspects of setting it up. That's learnable by just about anyone, and cheap enough that, if you're really interested in doing it, you can pull it off, even as a starving student or artist.

The hard part is KEEPING it running, month after month, year after year. The last 4 years on air have been an incredible learning experience in how to operate an obviously public yet underground entity staffed (and paid for!) entirely by volunteers. I've done alot of things in life, but this has been the hardest, and most rewarding, to date.


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