October: Hometown Roots

Back on the Airwaves: Radio Alchemy “50 Years Too Fast 4ward”
Despite a 6 hour time difference on the east coast, on Monday, September 24th I was able to resume my regular weekly schedule picking up my show from the year 2000. Still I was acclimating and my head was a bit congested because of the change and travel. It’s always exciting for me to be back on the airwaves once again. Also, it provides me with a decompression to bridge between this time out and heading back to Hawaii.

Missed Communications: Phone Repairs
The upside of smartphones is that they make it possible to plan out trips quite effectively. Apps such as Uber, GPS, Air BnB, Transit Trip Planners, Email, Vivid ‘Flash’ Seats among others really helped make this whole trip a fantastic experience. Unfortunately, the downside is when your phone won’t recharge and all your information is locked inside your phone that cannot be accessed. Such was the case on the night of the Nine Inch Nails concert when I was unable to even show them my ‘flash’ ticket and instead had to have the credit card swiped to identify that I had purchased my seat. Which worked perfectly as I was told by someone who had a similar experience at the hostel where I stayed. But if you’re a friend of mine and haven’t received a call in awhile… it may be because I’ve lost your phone number and it did not transfer onto my new one. This journal serves as a good primer for what I’ve been up to for over the last 3 months. My pictures and videos also got lost in the process except for those on Facebook.

The X-Files of Allentown
Which of the following unusual events did NOT happen while on this trip to the Lehigh Valley:

a). A 4 alarm warehouse fire broke out in the middle of Allentown
b). 65 Beagles were rescued from a private home and taken to the humane society
c). The Catholic Priest Sex Abuse Hotline was set up to handle victim’s lawsuits
d). The Mayor of Allentown was tried, found guilty and imprisoned for 15 years.
e). Sands Casino in Bethlehem gave away $1.5 million in prize money to a customer
f). A car bomb exploded killing 3 people in it including a 2 year old child.
g). Nearly 100 exotic animals were found at a couples home in Macungie.
h). The Movie “Billboard” was made here based on a true story of 3 guys camped on a billboard (in Allentown) as part of an AM radio promotion in the early 80’s.

The answer unfortunately is e). No one here became an instant millionaire that I know of. The other stories are however true and some quite inhumane and dismal at that. Particularly f) which I won’t go into. The X-files would really have to step up its game to compete with these last several weeks. There were more including some strange weather patterns (floods, tornados) but those are becoming more and more commonplace all over the world.

CloZee at The Foundry – Fillmore in Philadelphia
Having heard of CloZee and her performances recently at Envision 2017 in Costa Rica as well as several near missed concerts in both Reno and Denver, I’d finally get to see her show in Philadelphia.
It was everything that I hoped it would be. A very skilled electronic goddess/dj who can also play mutiple instruments as well as producing her own work, she really delivered a great set. So glad that I did not miss this one as I’m unlikely to see her perform back on the islands. Though that would be amazing to see and I’m sure she would love playing here.

Overview and Trip Summary
In between all of the above moments, there were a lot of very special times with people from my past times here in Allentown especially. It doesn’t seem like there is ever enough time to be truly grateful for all of those. But it is always satisfying to make those connections. Even to just relive or stroll past some of the cornerstone places that were very real to me growing up.

One radio station that I connected with belongs to Muhlenberg College and was a flashback to my final year in 1983. Many people from that great period of broadcasting are now spread out over the country working their own magick. Some are still here in Allentown and serve as an inspiration for knowing what is possible thru community radio and the purpose that it serves.

WMUH still stands today and broadcasts 24/7 but shortly after I left it spawned another Public NPR based community station – WDIY. Both of these serve as beacons because that final year in 1983 was so special to me personally. It marked the end of my time hereand yet, like Burningman, that part of my soul that was left behind can be reclaimed again each time I get to revisit.

So many thank yous go to all who were part of this fantastic journey. Sometimes it’s essential to just get back to your roots so that you can further gain perspective and move forward. It also reshapes some very valuable connections with friends and family who we all love.

Finally, in closing… a very special remembrance and tribute to Zackary Gibson who passed away on this day, November 4th. He will forever be remembered for providing the foundation for some of the finest Big Island outdoor gatherings both at the Kava Farm on the Hamakua coast as well as Kanaka Kava Bar in downtown Kona. A true renegade and pioneer in every sense, he will truly be missed. Much Aloha and Mahalo for the great times Zack! Rest In Peace.
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August: Arise & Shine

Tales from Loveland @ Arise Festival

Arriving in Denver morning of August 2nd in preparation for a shuttle bus ride unlike any other to the Arise Festival next day in Loveland, CO. It was a 3 day festival headlined by “Thievery Corporation”, Layout consisted of 2 Primary Stages and 2 secondary side stages flanked by a host of informational booths and holistic vendors, CBD distributors and some really good food. Also a dome which hosted various lectures and presentations by activists and festival organizers. Supporting acts included a most awesome visual / acrobatic performance by Quixotic. Other bands included Trevor Hall, Dustin Thomas, Kitchen Dwellers, Andrew “Tubby” Love & Amber Lily, Start Making Sense (Talking Heads tribute), Dead Floyd, Ayla Nereo, Sligthtly Stoopid and Pepper. There was a somewhat familiar crossover among several of those performers with ties to the Hawaiian Islands. Despite the occasional hail, wind or lightning storm that forced a few delays in the schedule… it was an awesome festival with a great group of people. On the final day, also got to meet up and spend some time with “Godlazer” a prominent CO resident DJ who has visited and played the Big Island who I got to meet up with later in Boulder, Colorado. Thievery Corporation of course was the highlight and were incredible as I cross them off my list of “most wanted to see” performances.

Reno, NV: Burningman Prep

August 8th was my flight to Reno, NV in preparation for the next venture which was Burningman over the next 3 weeks. Teaming with “Collision Cuisine” which later became “Camp Dashi”- A supporting network which provided the culinary infrastructure for several other prominent camps most notably “Playa Alchemy” and Camp Ibiza. It was an adventure into food preparation arts at its finest along with some old and new friends from prior year Burns. Moreover, it was an extreme logistical challenge combining all types of vehicles, generators, heavy kitchen appliances, tents, bicycles, a golf cart, trailers and thousands of dollars worth of food. It was an exceptional experience with many challenges along the way and lots of careful planning.
Michael-S

Black Rock City, Set-up

The early entry pass to Burningman has two sides to it. The main advantage being early arrival to put everything into place in time for the event. It provides a nice transitional atmosphere that prepares you for what’s to come. But set-up can also seem like a very raw experience. It is a blank canvas to start which quickly morphs into home for the next 2 weeks. Usually it involves the initial setting into place various tent and shade structures followed by power generators. But as a kitchen facility, attention turns quickly into the efficient set-up of various sinks, refrigerators, ovens, large storage facilities for food and supplies. Finally the creature comforts like showers and porta potties. All in the middle of a dry lake dessert. Don’t forget to prepare for the wind and dust storms that can happen at any time of day or night without notice. The other advantage is that you may only have a 2.5 hour wait in line instead of the sometimes customary 6 hours at the start of the event.
setup

Burningman

There’s no rational explanation for why all this extreme preparation would be worth the experience so I won’t try. Suffice it to say that the time spent on or around the Playa (the inner city at Burningman) is something that might closely resemble a week on the Moon or Mars where the new currency becomes creative and artistic expressions adorned with art cars, fiery scenes, sexy lights and plenty of freedom to experience one’s own sense of adventure and exploration which is then balanced by survival skills and basic necessities. Much of those can be broken down and found on the Playa itself thru its gifting culture and at times ‘humorous’ bartering network. Cash does not exist in this atmosphere as there is nothing to buy except for Coffee and Ice.
Burningman

Camps: Dashi / Mystic / Freestyle Palace

I had the good fortune of not having to work during the event itself this year. Most of that took place at Dashi prior during set-up and after during ‘the strike’ (aka tear down). So it was my honor to also be part of another camp “Freestyle Palace” where I camped the previous year. The people here are wonderful, generous and creative souls who really know how to enjoy life. They come from many places throughout California primarily but some farther away like me. Throughout the week they feature a huge ball pit of several thousand balls in a circular swimming pool with stuffed animals in between. But it has an open bar, DJ booth with dance poles secured to a platform and hosts such things as “Air Guitar Contests”, Comedy Shows, a Pub Crawl and the newest entry for this year – our own art car “Tessie”. It was also host to several play shops throughout the week and some samples of Pan fry Ice Cream. It is a great place to just lounge out, rest and recover from the previous all-nighter. Across the way is also the Freestyle Dome which has several electric instruments often used for an instant ‘Flash Jam’ for any willing passersby and participants.
Ballman

Camp Mystic should have it’s own recording each year as it has become my premier ritual every mid-Week on Wednesday Evenings on the 2:00 side of town. This year was again an exceptional lineup of Random Rab, Human Experience (aka David Block), Gaudi and Dessert Dwellers. I love it there because once you come, you don’t want to leave. It has some of the best fire dancers and performance artists amidst a beautiful, sensuous atmosphere. It’s become a home away from home away from home. The perfect Shamanistic Shangrila for Yogi’s and/or those who like to dabble in mind expansion exercises.
Camp-Mystic

September: Super Rocky Mountain High

Reno Reprisal
All good things came to an end right around Labor Day. And labor we did as it was all hands on deck for the breakdown (aka strike) at two different camps. Whether that meant decapitating an art car or tearing down kitchens and tents and disposing of sludge water, it’s always a trying time after so much fun being had. Back in Reno it meant gathering whatever remains were still useful and washing all the playa dust off them for the remainder of the trip. Or in this case, just fixing a broke phone. Did I leave out the “mooping” of our space as to “leave no trace” on the Playa?

Denver Re-deux
The first go round was a bit rushed to really get a handle on what Denver was about. This time though, I got to explore around the city a bit more with one particular goal in mind – to see Nine Inch Nails at Red Rocks. But it was also a first chance I had to check in with clients and such as I’d been having way too much fun of late. But once those two days were complete, we got a chance to buy some tickets to the show and then make an attempt at getting my phone fixed while uploading at least a few select photos and videos onto Facebook from these past 2 weeks.

After one less than desirable hostel experience, I checked out and into another. Very centrally located was the “Fish Hostel” about 2 blocks from Coors Field in downtown Denver. It was here that I first met David Carson Bello, a guitarist from a heavy metal band and instantly became friends. Notably that evening included an open mic night in which he performmed as I recorded and broadcast live over Radio Alchemy from the hostel bar. Near my final couple of days as we stalked several pawn shops for guitars, I opened a magazine to an advertisement for the Terrapin Cannibis dispensary in Boulder. This was my Alchemy moment as it confirmed that I was to meet DJ Godlazer which was already on my agenda. And so I caught a bus to Boulder, punched in Terrapin on my GPS and walked thru University of Colorado campus to where he worked. Very similar to what I experienced last year in Seattle, but this time I got a scent of the many varieties and a course on what was available within the dispensary. The real treat though would come after his day was done as I was taken to the very top of Mount Boulder at 10 PM on a full moon night by motorbike. A truly exceptional experience and a perfect way to capture the view from atop of this beautiful mountain.

Red Rocks Amphitheater
I’d already had some idea that Red Rocks was THE Premier Concert Venue beforehand from watching U2’s video “Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky”. But to be there in person was for me no different that seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. I had planned to go there if I were in Colorado regardless. Nine Inch Nails made the decision a bit easier as they were playing two shows on September 18 & 19. I chose the earlier date since I would be leaving too soon after the show on the 19th to really stay focussed. I had already booked a nice Air BnB for that night and got to rest a bit before taking an Uber to the show. The magnificence of this place was immediately apparent. Similar to a miniature Grand Canyon with a large stage and about 10,000 seats and an indoor theater and museum which I wished I could’ve spent more time. As it was, I felt fortunate to be able to enter this monumental space of beauty. My phone had finally given out before I could snap my last photo and before I could show my ‘Flash Seats” ticket to the woman at the gate. Fortunately, I was told earlier that they could scan the Credit Card I used to purchase the ticket with. Out printed a ticket with my name above “Nine Inch Nails”… my favorite souvenir to take home from this majestic evening.

Nine Inch Nails
I’d seen NIN once before during their prime around when “The Downward Spiral” came out in 1994. It is known as my favorite weekend in Hawaii as the night before “Depeche Mode” had played at the Bleisdell Arena and were already well established as a Synth band with a darker edge. Depeche had also played a second show that Saturday across town in Honolulu and it was not until 3 AM at a nightclub called the After Dark that Trent Reznor and NIN took to the stage. One of the edgiest performances ever seen to date. Reznor had to allow Depeche to finish their show to make an appearance at his own. When they finally did go on, the entire warehouse erupted into a frenzy. A whirlpool of people that were already tensed up from waiting so long became a human cyclone. I would later also see Depeche Mode at the beach on the sands of the Kohala Hilton the next day two towels down.

Fast forward to 24 years later and a similar anticipation of finally getting to this venue at this moment. I was already riding a high from two weeks at Burningman and knew I was approaching the end of this expedition in Colorado. Could there be a higher note to go out on? NIN is not intended as a pop band. They (he) only became popular because he was so damn good that they were immediately invited as a main act at Lollapolooza in its early days. It’s music would be recognized for its biting lyrics and shredding of familiar pretensions commonly found in the pop culture. Though Reznor along with Atticus Ross would produce the soundtrack to the movie “Social Network” which was ranked by many as the best Film of 2010 certainly for its relevance to the Facebook phenomenon but also because of how the film effectively used the soundtrack.

Also of note, Johnny Cash would also cover his song “Hurt” on his 87th album of his enormous career. (Also of note he did coincidentally cover Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” on the same record). Not surprising that “Hurt” would be the final song of the last encore for both NIN shows at Red Rocks. The light show was incredible. The sound was perfect. His supporting band amazing. Even the opening act “The Jesus and the Mary Chain” were quite appropriate to set up the night.

It couldn’t be summed up in a few sentences to how important it was for me to see this particular show. Even my seat was placed next to a Chemist from upstate NY who had seen them 10 times before, several at Red Rocks as he was now transplanted in Colorado. I gave him my card for the radio station afterwards and hoped that one day he’ll tune in.

Nine Inch Nails – “The Perfect Drug” September 18th at Red Rocks

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor admitted that he was initially “flattered” but worried that “the idea of Cash covering ‘Hurt’ sounded a bit gimmicky,” but when he heard the song and saw the video for the first time, Reznor said he was deeply moved and found Cash’s cover beautiful and meaningful, going as far as to say “that song isn’t mine anymore.”

Return to Allentown
Allentown, PA was my home for 23 years. It was where I graduated both High School and College and worked full time. It was also where I volunteered time as a DJ at both WDFM in State College (Penn State) and WMUH, Allentown. It really set the stage for what was to come for the next 35 years. It’s always a pleasure to return to as I have family and a friend who I share the common interest with and is now host to Liber Limbia every Saturday from 2 to 6 PM Hawaii Time. It’s a space I like to return to as it gives some reference point to all that has happened since leaving in 1983. Because of all that has happened in Hawaii this past year, it takes on a role that I had not expected: A place of refuge and solace. But it also is a place where I can now resume my connection with Hawaii since I can now broadcast from this remote location 6000 miles away.

Alchemy: It’s a Beautiful Thing!

On July 20, 2013 Radio Alchemy had it’s first ever broadcast on internet radio as it recorded and later aired the sounds of the Mango Festival on that day.

Fast forward to 2018 and we’re at the 10th annual Mango Festival once again and we will be covering the entire festival on both RadioAlchemyKONA.com and KONA 100.5 LPFM. It is, after all… the 5th anniversary of that very first day.

Since that time, there have been many magical Alchemy moments. One year ago, in March 2017 we fist connected to FM radio as KONA – 100.5 LPFM. Radio Alchemy has since aired from 7 PM til 1 AM – 7 days a week.

For this FM station to happen, we first were made aware that the FCC was providing a window of opportunity for those were seriously interested in creating an FM radio station using this LPFM format. That window would close in less than 1 month from the time the inevitable question was asked: “Do we want to do radio for the Kona community?” The response and feeling was “We absolutely Have to do Radio” and in a way that has never been done before.

But the prerequisite was that we needed to have direct association with a non-profit 501(c)3 entity. All of the subsequent paperwork would rely on the standing of this entity. But the time to process the necessary Permit forms for FCC construction permit was rapidly running out.

Enter the government shutdown of 2013. A rare instance and usually an unwelcome one. But in fact, it was this period that enabled the alliance between Radio Alchemy and Sanctuary of Mana Ke’a Gardens to be established. There was little doubt that the shutdown delayed the deadline enough for completion of the forms to be filed with the FCC and the permit was approved shortly after the reopening 13 days after it had closed the doors of it’s many agencies.

This is but one of a great many tales that this station has among it’s 5 year history. Those who have helped this radio station blossom may hereafter be known as the “Oceans 11 of KONA”. They know who they are and they recognize the importance of sustaining this station for the purposes of bringing Big Island news, events and great music to our community. We in fact would prefer to expand our horizons to the “Oceans 111 of KONA’ and that more and more people from throughout our community become inspired participants and contributors. We pledge to blaze the trail to see that this happens. For the people of KONA –We are the “Voice of KONA”. Please come forward and participate in any way you can.
Mahalo nui Loa from everyone at Radio Alchemy and KONA 100.5 LPFM

It Takes a Village: Our Time Has Come! KONA 100.5 LPFM v2.0

As of Wednesday May 30th, our transmitters are back up and running once again. The Emergency Alert System has been tested twice… once for the normal first of the month testing on June 1st, then again on June 3rd after an earthquake alert was sounded. Fortunately, no tsunami was generated.

During these critical times of change taking place on the Big Island, it is becoming more apparent of the need for FM communications that are free from the confines of the electrical grid and even from Internet Service which we rely on heavily. About 2 weeks ago, our very large #1600 battery was put in place from which we intend to power our KONA radio station. In the upcoming weeks, necessary connections and preparations are being made to bring this project to completion.

It took the combined efforts of both Waikoloa Woodworks and Big Island Electric to secure this battery plus the detailed work of Andrew Pope and “Hot Stuff Engineering” to create the framework for this large battery to assist with its placement and charging. This is a major project and one that has been the focus of our efforts for sometime. Thank you once more to all those who are participating in these efforts to make our community radio station self sustaining.

Also thank you to Michael Burnham of Ka Lae Garden Thai Restaurant down in Ocean View for the donation towards the cost of repair for our equipment. Also to Joe Limbus from Liber Limbia whose show is heard every Saturday only on RadioAlchemyKONA.com from 2 til 6 PM (Hawaii Standard Time).

We are very much needing to cover the remaining costs for the repairs and shipping of the transmitter as outlined in last months newsletter. Checks are gratefully accepted at KONA – 100.5 LPFM and we will be setting up a gofundme page shortly here as well.

Plans are now in place to really take this station to the next level. Of course, in order to do this… it will take the participation from within our community. We extend this invitation to all who can assist in the following areas:

  • Website Design & Integration
  • Audio Production
  • File Maintenance & Archiving
  • Fundraising & Promotion
  • Radio DJ Participation & Broadcasting
  • With special emphasis on the final item above, we are now happy to invite those wishing to come on board to get set up for doing weekly or even monthly shows from all over the Big Island (not exclusive to only Kona). All the tools are now in place to get you started including several training videos set up on the DJ page of this website.

    We also wish to Live Broadcast from events on the Hilo side of the island similar to what we will be doing this Friday, June 8th from MyBar in Kona: “Who’s Funk’n In Da House?”

    An application form is available at this link so we can introduce you to this wonderful opportunity. Aloha!

    May the Force (Pele) be With Us!

    On May 4th in Puna on the Big Island, a surrealistic event transpired that will be remembered for decades to come. It was the first of multiple eruptions which took place in the Leilani Estates subdivision which created spectacular and at times very dangerous conditions for our Puna family. This is not a singular event but rather an ever changing evolution of our landscape here on this wonderful island. Though one event did stand out – a 6.9 magnitude Earthquake around noon on Friday, 5/4. It was the largest quake on record since 1975 some 43 years ago.

    Somewhere amidst this framework, our own Voice of KONA – 100.5 LPFM is undergoing its own series of alterations and adjustments. Our transmitter is under repair with the manufacturer in San Diego. Meanwhile, we are currently preparing for what will be our Solar Energy System which will provide this same transmitter with a continuous source of power.

    Metaphorically speaking, we are very much in harmony with the creative chaos that is ensuing at these very moments in time. This is an absolute necessity for the perpetuity of the project and was always very much a planned part of it from the very beginning. Similar to the volcanic activity, the manner in which this was to take place was somewhat unclear until now. This path is ensuring that our community can come forward to create new channels of communication unlike any other preceding it. Similar to how our land mass is expanding on this Big Island.

    Currently, our focus is on proceeding with both projects (recovery and expansion) so that they may be conjoined later on this month or next at the very latest. By doing so, we hope to be able to divert our resources away from costly electric bills and into the improvement of our coverage area and quality of broadcast.

    Edit: As of May 25th, the transmitter is back on island and is expected to be delivered today to our facility. We apologize for the delay in getting our transmission up and working again. This was an essential time to refocus as well as make the necessary adjustments to our equipment. We are now prepared for our next phase for our radio station which is using solar power to broadcast. Below is a copy of the repair invoice which we are requesting help with from our business community and private individuals who wish to help with the upkeep and maintenance of this very worthy community project.

    At the same time, our very large #1600 battery is now in place and ready to be charged. A big Mahalo to all who have contributed to making this happen for us…special thanks to Andrew Pope of “Hot Stuff Engineering” for putting wheels on this project…literally. Also to Jason Stabler as well as Mike Codie of Waikoloa Woodworks for providing us with both this battery and the materials to assist with its placement.

    April No Fooling!: A Powerful Month

    Whether it was the Solar Flares or the effects from another Mercury Retrograde our KONA 100.5 LPFM radio station was not immune. The net result was that we had to send back our transmitter to the manufacturer in San Diego for a repair under warranty. It was received by them on Thursday, April 12th.

    In the meantime, this development sets the stage for an ideal time to initiate the placement and construction of our Solar Energy Project. With assistance from our own DJ ‘the Guvna’ and Hot Stuff Engineering, the rather large #1600 battery pack was able to be placed on wheels in preparation for placement near our station’s broadcast facility starting this week.

    #1600 12 – 12 Volt Battery Pack and Charger

    The time and method for charging this battery is initially expected to be about 2 weeks. Enough time to allow for the placement of the Solar panels to be laid out on a grid atop of our broadcast housing.

    It will be augmented with a Pure Sine Wave Inverter upon completion of the layout. The final stages of this project will involve securing a Voltage regulator along with the necessary Cables to make the connections.

    As was the case back in January when it became necessary to take one step back (by upgrading our Shoutcast server) in order to take 2 or 3 steps forward, this is a very exciting time towards improving our facility over the long haul. It has, after all, been part of our original vision to run the entire station purely on Solar Power for the purpose of saving on the costs of Electricity and for securing a stable and uninterrupted broadcast 24/7.

    While these improvements are being put into place, we will continue to broadcast on our Internet shoutcast at RadioAlchemyKONA.com

    We also have a big day coming up on April 28th when the next chapter of Electric Beach Ball takes place from sunrise to sunset down at Kohanaiki (aka Pine Trees). Radio Alchemy is planning to broadcast from this event as well as from Out the Box at Mybar later than evening. Hopefully, by that time we do have our FM facility back broadcasting to our KONA Community.

    Another goal that we have set for ourselves during this quarter is to secure a total of 6 more DJ’s by June 30th and have them trained and ready to broadcast by that time. If anyone is interested in securing a show, please complete the following DJ Registration Form and provide the necessary information to us.

    Thank you for helping to support your Community Radio Station – KONA 100.5 LPFM.

    March for KONA (Shoes / ‘Slippahs’ Optional)

    This Friday, March 9th around 11 AM will mark exactly 1 year since KONA 100.5 first made it’s connection with the LPFM radio world. It was like our very own moon landing after all it was ‘the project’ for the better part of 4 years and even 10 years dating back to days at KCOF which was also very much influential in the project. The entire construction process needed to be wrapped up with our final application due to be completely submitted by March 12th (which it was). Then on March 27th, we received approval from the FCC that we were officially an FM station.

    So the month of March will forever be entwined within our roots and it is already taking shape to perhaps take us to that next level as we pursue our quest for long term and reliable solar power to keep our station on the air 24/7. There is still a multitude of hills to climb (such as the potential for an FM repeater) but we feel very grounded and honored by the many events, people and processes that have become part of our evolution.

    Being able to re-broadcast from the Govinda show recently at Hilo’s Palace Theater made me reflect on the earliest days of capturing events live from sites on location such as Earthdance and even on Maui at the Mystic Gatherings.

    How far we have moved forward in this past year with our LPFM station. We now have a structure in place whereby shows can be submitted thru a google drive online and rebroadcast easily on either of our two websites which feed our FM station. Such is the case with this past weekend’s 12th Avocado Festival organized and sponsored by the “Sanctuary of Mana Ke’a Gardens” which KONA 100.5 LPFM is linked to as part of our LPFM Charter.

    Radio Alchemy now is broadcast on a nightly basis from 7 pm til 1 AM. It has many plans ahead to allow DJ’s to take part in our programming from not just Kona, but from around other parts of the island as well. It was part of the original vision for us to be able to expand our format in this way with 3 – 2 hour shows 7 days a week.

    In time, we hope that podcasting can also be in the works for shows to replay by our audience at their own convenience. Also, we hope soon to be able to post calendars of events and community forums to become even more interactive.

    So as we march into year #2 for LPFM, we hold these visions inspired by the Alchemy around us. There has been so very much of that magic in recent times which we are very grateful for amidst all the chaos that may be happening around us. Please allow this community to embrace and partake in our project. Now is the time for our awakening!

    State of KONAtion Address

    Since the start of 2018, Radio Alchemy has been hard at work updating its online streaming server (aka shoutcaster). We are now back streaming 24/7 on this website and have found it to be very reliable. After several trials, we were able to get it working once again on our website.

    At the same time KONA has upgraded to programmable Radio DJ software that will allow for content to be scheduled at specific times along with playlists and other useful tools to help promote community events such as the Women’s March which we broadcast from live on January 21st. These recordings were then edited and played back on air at different times throughout the past month.

    The civil defense ‘drill/not-a-drill” became a front and center controversey as we received a notice on our EAS (Emergency Alert System) that authorities have issued a “Civil Defense Warning” for all of Hawaii beginning at 8:07 am on the morning of January 13, 2018. It had gone out to the public that a “Ballistic Missile Threat” was “Inbound to Hawaii”. “Seek Immediate Shelter” “This is Not a Drill”

    What better time to break out an Exclamation Point! After all the frenzy subsided and the story of a wrong button being pushed, it was a reminder that our EAS unit accounting for more than 1/3 of the cost of the LPFM project was still unpaid on a credit card. This unit is required by the Federal Communications Commission as part of the LPFM licensing process.

    The real news in this case however is that this public system is designed for use by the federal government. It is not being financed 1 penny by those who print our dollars. Wouldn’t it only be fair that a matching grant be provided which would allow us to divert some of this cost towards a repeater that would improve our coverage area (even for this potential emergency purpose)?

    Last week, a letter was written to our Congress Woman Tulsi Gabbard expressing this concern to bring it to her attention.

    Now while I recognize there is a practical use for this program to be in place, I see it very much a part of the Federal system that takes control of the airwaves thru the equipment that they require. LPFM’s have difficulty generating revenue. Especially where we are also not allowed to advertise. We can use “underwriting” as a surrogate method to acknowledge contributions from local businesses. But this runs counter to what most owners typically think of when they are seeking conventional advertisements on the radio.

    It really drives home the point that whereas we are a community radio station with a lot of flexibility for broadcasting from nearly anywhere, there just are not a lot of options in terms of expansion unless we receive listener sponsorships or underwriting from participating businesses.

    Some have asked why it is that a clear signal cannot be reached within ‘the dish’ where Kailua-Kona sinks down inward towards the ocean on Alii Drive. The two variables are 1) strength of signal (we’re limited to 100 watts) and 2) line-of-sight FM signal which is obstructed due to the rapid decline of our terrain to sea level plus the buildings and power lines which also create interference.

    We feel that with a repeater placed strategically in Holualoa… a stronger, more direct signal can be reproduced (or replicated) and we would cover what is a partial dead zone for us. For the moment, funding for this expansion project is our main limitation.

    Now that all our systems are in place, we would like to extend this offer to businesses (and individuals):

    Introductory Business Special II

    A Winter Wonderland for 2018

    Gifting a Voice to our KONA Community in the New Year

    It’s been some time since our previous newsletter was last posted. We would first like to acknowledge a few major accomplishments in 2017 that have placed KONA 100.5 LPFM in the position of adding a voice to our community and to make a difference in our lives.

    In March of 2017, Three events made possible where we are today:

    March 9: Our first ever connection to FM radio was established.
    March 12: KONA 100.5 completed the construction of our radio station with help from a handful of businesses which appear on our Sponsors Page
    March 27: Our LPFM license is officially granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

    So many events have led us to this point. Few may realize that it was this 4 year process that enabled us to broadcast as an FM station. It is a unique opportunity for our community to take part in this project as we grow further. No more windows for construction of LPFM radio stations are likely to happen for years to come.

    Currently, we are involved in 3 major projects that will enhance our programming and allow the entire Big Island to participate.

    SOLAR PROJECT – In an effort to cut costs and apply our financial resources directly to our project, we are attempting to run our 24/7 broadcast station completely using solar power. This is important not only for environmental and budget reasons, but using this solar power will also assist in keeping us on the air even during times that our electric grid power is unavailable such as what happened last week in the Kona Palisades area when a vehicle accident knocked off power to this area.

    AUTOMATED RADIO DJ SOFTWARE – Fortunately, thanks to the internet… there is exceptional open source software available (for free) that is frequently used in automated programming of radio stations world wide. The only caveat was learning how to use it. A culmination of research and testing took place since Summer of 2017 to use the best features of this Radio DJ program. Many of these will be introduced in the early part of 2018. It is being paired with remote control programs so that our content (such as contributed material from our community) can be scheduled for broadcast. All the tools are now in place to implement this program.

    EXPANDING OUR BROADCAST FACILITY – No, this is not about building a huge broadcast studio (though a reasonable size one is on our wish list). One of the unique qualities of internet radio is that our shows can be broadcast from anywhere on the island. This expands our ability to engage with other communities outside of Kona. The internet radio system that was developed in the first 3 years of operation can now be placed in communities such as Hamakua, Kohala, South Kona, Kau, Hilo and Puna to connect us together which has never been attempted before on the level that we anticipate will happen this upcoming year.

    Among other vision quests for 2018 is the possibility of installing a repeater somewhere (such as Holualoa) that can expand our signal to other areas that are compromised by the contour of our land with buildings and power lines which interfere with our FM signal. With financial support, this can happen fairly quickly. We are seeking private donations to help recover some of the costs of our initial installation but more importantly, to build this repeater. We recognize that without it, there are certain areas in Kona which are not properly being reached. It is our intent to change that with help from individuals and our business community. Underwriting is a term that is associated LPFM stations to promote their supporting business establishments.

    Here is an Underwriting Rate Sheet which  shows how you or your business can help to support KONA 100.5 LPFM.

    We also have some eco-friendly T-shirts now available for $20 each in Small, Medium, Large and XL sizes.  Below are some samples:

    Please Email us:  RadioAlchemyKONA@gmail.com if you wish to order.

    To our entire community on the Big Island we would like to wish you a very Happy New Year 2018 and invite you to participate in our station in this upcoming year!  Please contact us at that same email above or join our  Radio Alchemy Facebook Page    Mahalo!

    Michael Sofranko

    Radio Alchemy – Founder