Man or Astro Man?

No static at all.

by John D


I wrestled with the tone I wanted to convey for the this month’s column. I already had the subject, I just was not sure how to write about it. I worried that it would come off as over the top or even, if executed poorly, obnoxious and self–congratulatory. Then I realized it cannot be self–congratulatory because what I am going to talk about happened because of Birmingham, not just one person.

On Tuesday July, 2nd at 11:57 107.3 FM went from being an ESPN affiliate to being the FM broadcast channel for Birmingham Mountain Radio. The launch was supposed to be at noon on the dot, but due to a slight miscalculation on our part we launched a few minutes early. Yes, BMR, the previously internet only radio station with the hyper local focus is on the FM dial. It is surreal to say the least. We launched our little mom and pop station back in December of 2010 and some of the first comments we received were all the same, “When will you be on the radio, like real radio,” and to be honest, in the age of the Internet and a rapidly changing media landscape, we considered Internet streaming to be “the real radio” or at least the next “real radio.”

So why is BMR now on the FM dial too? Simple, because of you. Yes, because of Birmingham. Listeners who supported us, talked about us, told friends about us, and generally were the best public relations campaign and ambassadors any business or group could ever hope for. People just like you loved what we were doing. And supported it. I will get back to the support in just a minute, but let me continue the story of what happened next.

The landscape of terrestrial radio in Birmingham has experienced some pretty significant shake–ups lately; established personalities have moved and, coupled with sale of several FM signals to a new Birmingham–based media company, the opportunity presented itself for BMR to make the jump to the FM airwaves. Summit Media Corporation was kind enough to provide Birmingham Mountain Radio with the ability to broadcast over the FM airwaves. Why would they do this? Because they noticed a gap in the market and thought BMR would be the perfect fit. So far it seems to be an amazing fit. The folks over at Summit did not ask us to change a thing. They think that what BMR is doing, being a voice for and of the community while providing great music, is perfect and wanted to be the conduit for more people to experience it. Summit Media is taking a big leap of faith with one of their properties and, a little kernel of trivia, is helping Birmingham Mountain Radio be the first ever Internet only radio station to make the leap to FM. First ever. This, in age where many stations are leaving the FM dial to exist as Internet only stations.

The Arctic Monkeys

The support and words of kindness that Birmingham Mountain Radio has received are amazing, in their sincerity and quantity. We cannot say it enough and with enough force to say that we could not have done it with out you Birmingham. The even better part? The support we are receiving is just one avenue, one instance of the renaissance that is occuring in Birmingham because of public support; some examples being the return of the Barons with a new ball field (and record attendance), the explosion of local breweries (started by Good People Brewing and soon to be continued with Trim Tab, a new brewery under construction in Lakeview), through to countless other local business. It humbles us to be a part of what just might be a golden age of “locality” in Birmingham. It is a stark contrast to the Birmingham of yesteryear that seemed to be so apathetic to the state of the city. People are taking part in the city as a whole, whether it is as simple as voting or being active advocates for the issues they believe in. Birmingham Mountain Radio is lucky enough to get that support and with that continued support we will stick around for a long time. Thank you Birmingham!

After reading all of that I hope that the tone is what I was aiming for. I know it is a departure from the normal upcoming–shows–and–what–you should–be–listening–to column, but I wanted to say thank you to everyone and how proud I am of the leaps forward that The Magic City is making.


On Sale Now


Man or Astro Man? (8/9) wraps up the 2013 Art On The Rocks season at The Birmingham Museum of Art. Surf rock from outer-space is the easiest way to describe it. It is never a dull show. The museum really stepped out of their comfort zone and it is a great choice.


Ben Sollee brings his unique singer songwriter aesthetic (along with his cello) to The Bottletree (9/16). Beautifully crafted songs with haunting cello. A more mellow show but well worth the price.


The Blind Boys of Alabama: WorkPlay (9/28) Gospel music? Just wait until you hear it. Performing as a group since 1939, the Blind Boys are still relevant and exploring their boundaries with an upcoming album produced by Justin Vernon from Bon Iver.


The Arctic Monkeys (10/9): English alternative rockers drop a new album and stop by Iron City to support the album.

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