Radio’s not dead, it’s just gone to bed. Pirate radio is still alive and kicking; you just need to know where to find it.
Broadcasting from a makeshift studio in the depths of downtown New York, Know-Wave is a radio station based on spontaneity and utter chaos. The station was formed in 2012, when Aaron Bondaroff rounded up a band of likeminded misfits that shared his nostalgia for the glory days of radio. They got together and came up with a frenzied radio philosophy. Know-Wave is a complete open forum with no schedule, planning, scripting or syndication. Listeners are alerted to upcoming programs via Instagram fliers a few hours beforehand. There’s a distinct blink-and-you’ll-miss-it vibe to Know-Wave.
This isn’t Bondaroff’s first creative project. Bonaroff, who goes by the moniker of Downtown Don, is the face of Supreme, owner of streetwear label aNYthing and co-founder of OHWOW gallery. Dabbling in radio gave Bonaroff an outlet that didn’t require careful curation. Know-Wave gives presenters the opportunity to sit back, relax and let magic happen without contemplating their image.
Before selfies, Snapchats, blog posts and re-tweets, radio was a big deal. As a non-visual medium, radio allows your imagination to run wild. The old school qualities of radio are embraced by Know-Wave as positives, rather than negatives. Bondaroff wants his audience to use their imaginations again. “With radio, you try to paint a picture and connect dots. If you say something, it’s going to be live, but it’s harder to find… if you say something really stupid, or something really smart or engaging, you have to listen for an hour to find that one moment when that thing was said for a split second. If it’s a photo you can Google image search it and find it.”
Know-Wave can be heard across the globe by tuning into their website. The site has a simple, lo-fi design to coincide with their stance against imagery. Bondaroff tried to create a site that was anti-monetiseable to prove that they didn’t have an agenda. Know-Wave is a rare media platform that doesn’t have, or want, any form of sponsorship or political affiliation. Al Moran, cofounder of OHWOW and station contributor, thinks the stripped back qualities of Know-Wave are what keeps it real. “We could be leveraging it a lot more than we are, but we're not—we're not making money. We're keeping it raw so you can come on and say whatever you want."
Click here to tune into Know-Wave. They might be broadcasting or they might not be. I guess you’ll just have to take your chances.
Tweet @knowave or Instagram @know_wave
Photo sourced here.