Kathy Weisbach was refurbishing her grandfather's antique radio when she began to think about what it must have been like when people relied on AM communication. Her curiosity led her to buy a transmitter and have it installed on Frankfort Ave. She never thought that her self-funded hobby would draw the immense amount of community interest that it has. A flood of artists have submitted their music to be played simply because they want it heard.
Crescent Hill Radio is one of Louisville's newest sources for local broadcast entertainment with just about 18 months under their belt. They are a non-profit unlicensed AM station (AM 1650) under part 15 of FCC regulations whose AM broadcast area runs along Frankfort Ave betwen Clifton Ave and Stilz Ave. Since that area is not very large, they turned to the internet for a broader audience. They can be listened to on their website or through a variety of applications like I-Tunes or Windows Media Guide.
"We've gotten a lot of hits through SoundCloud, which lets people listen online," said Weisbach. "Most of our listeners seem to listen to the archives later because they can't listen when the shows are being broadcast. They can connect with our web site or facebook page."
Their variety of shows focus on Louisville and regional talent, businesses, and announcements while keeping it local and in line with their desire to be a community radio station. They were recently the Windows Media Guide Editors' Pick of the Week, which has given them listeners all over the world.
"They must like us," she said. "They've picked us over thousands of stations three times now."
They also do remote broadcasting sometimes, which means they can broadcast live shows and events. They broadcast Danny Flanigan + 1 live from Clifton's Pizza every Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Danny does a song swap with a different guest each week, keeping the broadcast fresh and interesting. They once attended one of my Sub Rosa variety shows to interview and record some
of the comedians.
The hosts of Crescent Hill Radio are all currently volunteers, although Weisbach would like to raise funds to begin to pay at least something small for their efforts. She believes they do it because it is fun and gives them a creative outlet. One of the biggest events that they have covered so far was the Fourth of July Crescent Hill Arts and Music Festival at the Peter Dumesnil, where they broadcast live from both stages and had roving reporters in the crowd.
Most of the programming is an automated playlist of local and regional music, but there are some hosted shows. Some of their current featured shows include:
Hippyhead's Spotlight -8 p.m.- Thursdays.: Hippyhead and Kev bring you new local music from a variety of genres, plus live performance and interviews with local band members.
Kentuckiana Blues Show - 8:00 p.m - Fridays: Gary Sampson, president of The Kentuckiana Blues Society, brings local blues and blues calendar to the airwaves. There is also a local blues hour everyday at 4 p.m. with daily blues shows announced at 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday Night Live 7 p.m. - Wednesdays: A show hosted by kRi and Angie that showcases different local artists and interviews with them.
Jazzin' it Up -7 p.m. - Mondays: An hour featuring local and regional jazz.
Keep Hearing Voices - 12 p.m. - Saturdays: One hour of storytelling, songs and other eclectic fun hosted by Marie Direction
From the Inkwell - 1 p.m.- Saturdays: Authors and poets give readings and are interviewed by host Sheri Wright.
Future plans involve a fundraiser this fall at the Vernon Club, so they can raise operating costs and maybe something for the hosts. Weisbach said that she would like to broadcast an old style radio play with a foley man for sound effects. She thinks it would be fun to work with a theater and live audience to produce one that they can stream live. She'd also like to find someone to help with PR and booking, so they might be able to do trolley hops again like they did in 2010. They set up a small stage with with sound system in front of the transmitter on Frankfort Ave, featuring a different band for each trolley hop.
Crescent Hill Radio wants to reach out to local artists, schools, and individuals who would like an outlet for their performances or announcement of their shows. Their mission statement is to connect the community with local and regional music using fair and non-competitive programming. They accept submissions and ideas for shows by email. Interested parties can submit music to be played on air, shows or events to be announced, or show ideas using the email link on their web site. Since they are not registered with ASCAP or BMI, they can not play copyrighted or protected material.