We can now add popular internet radio station to our list of neighborhood amenities. The volunteer DJs at Hollow Earth Radio are all moved in to their new space on Union near 21st, broadcasting daily from right here in the ‘hood.
They’ve cleaned out, painted, and decorated a small first floor space in the same building where 2020 Cycles and Central Cinema live. They even constructed a real-radio sound booth up against the back wall.
The group has sixty members that do everything from running their own radio shows to behind the scenes production work. It all got started three and a half years ago in Amber Morgan’s basement, where she and her partner Garrett Kelly produced six hours of original content per day. Other people were interested in getting involved, and soon they had a crew of fifteen volunteers that have all stayed involved with the project since then.
They later moved the station to an attic in Wallingford, and as the project continued to grow they started looking for a new, more accessible space. Amber was friends with the owner of 2020 Cycles, and he suggested the possibility of using the unoccupied space just west of his store that was only being used for storage. Building owner Jean Tinnea gave them a good rate that allowed it to all happen.
Amber says there were several factors that made the Central District a place they wanted to be. The central part was important, since it is convenient and accessible to people on all sides of the city. Plus the neighborhood seemed like a good fit for what they are trying to build. “It feels like there’s this rich music cultural history in the Central District. There’s a lot happening that feels comfortable, and it’s a good place for people to get involved.”
Rachel LeBlanc in the radio booth
People getting involved is a key part of their strategy. They’ve had pedestrians stop into the studio all week to see what’s going on. That includes when they have musicians for in-studio broadcasts, where people from the neighborhood are welcome to stop in and listen. (watch the schedule on their website for shows you might be interested in)
This weekend will be a good chance to check things out and get involved. Hollow Earth is planning a weekend full of activities, starting with workshops and an art opening on Saturday. Then on Sunday they’re having a full day of open mic from 10am to 6pm. It’s your chance to stop by, tell your story, talk about your cause, or even perform some music.
Welcome to the neighborhood HER!
Strikes me as a weird…and necessary element of gentrification. I love independent radio.
but something about the way they moved in struck me as non-inclusive of the community.
Now that they’re set up… now they want folks to come by. But what if we wanted to be included beforehand?
“It feels like there’s this rich music cultural history in the Central District”
Is that what it feels like? Then why, pray tell, is there not a single show on the station that reflects that rich music cultural history?
By the way, what does music cultural history mean even mean to these folks at the station? Especially as it relates to the central district…
I agree with you Jonathan. COMPLETELY!
Way to be negative folks.
I didn’t realize that a non-profit radio station needed to “include the community” in the process of moving into its new space. I don’t even know what that means. Should they have asked their new neighbors to help them move their stuff in?
Welcome to the neighborhood, HER, and don’t mind the curmudgeons — I think it’s great you’re here, and I have no qualms with how you moved in and what music you play!
But have you seen the flier they put up on area light posts?
But every single image on that flier is of a white musician. Every single one.
Listen…this is just my opinion…and I support indie radio and whatever it is HER wants to do: if you move into a historically black neighborhood and just play white music for white ppl with all white DJs, someone…someone, is going to say something.
Best of luck to them.
But let ’em put up a poster with some people of color on it next time. All white advertising in the Central District smells like gentrification. Let’s all be adults here and recognize that lone simple fact.
I’d like to know how having an opinion about gentrification is automatically associated with being negative. And I’d like to know how name calling is not being negative.
Just because you don’t have any qualms about HER doesn’t mean that others should not or can’t have any qualms. And just because some people may have some qualms about something does not make them a curmudgeon by default.
If you are so positive about the station why didn’t you just post to welcome them instead of trying to call out the comments above you? The story posts at 10 this morning and you just happen to show your “support” for the station and disdain for people who comment on gentrification exactly 1 minute after I post. Chile, please.
My name is Amber Kai Morgan, and I am a cofounder of Hollow Earth Radio. We are totally excited about our big move to a more public space after 3 1/2 years of operating out of my house!
We welcome the critiques, and I would also like to respond to these comments. I think most importantly, Hollow Earth Radio is open for anyone to get involved. The idea behind our posters and and our open door is that we want the neighborhood to know who we are, what we do, and how can people get involved if they are interested.
For over three years, we have been 100% volunteer-run. We’ve tried our hardest to get the word out about what we do and to find people who want to bring diverse sounds and perspectives to the station. It’s been hard to do some of this when the radio has existed in a house.
But now that we have a public space, our hope is that we will become more accessible. And relatively speaking, it is incredibly easy to get a DJ shift at Hollow Earth Radio. All you do is volunteer behind the scenes for a few months and pitch an radio program that holds true to our mission of ‘providing a forum for underrepresented music, sounds, and perspectives” and the slot is yours. You don’t have to have any experience with radio to get involved.
It is true that we do not currently have a show dedicated solely to the music history of the Central District but in the past we have done radio shows that have touched on it, including a showcase of Seattle/Central District Hip Hop on my weekly radio show, The Seaport Beat and a live in-studio performance and discussion about “Wheedle’s Groove” with Overton Berry on David Neuman’s ‘Under the Influence’. We would absolutely love it if an expert on Central District music, or even someone curious to dig into it, pitched the show to us and wanted to take that on. We have been spending some time over the summer meeting Central District residents involved in music, and we hope we have many chances to collaborate.
In reference to the flyer for the Saturday evening art opening – it is actually not meant to depict the spectrum of music that is played on the radio or who can be involved but is actually a teaser for the photography showcase of one of our DJ’s and his own private collection of the live shows he goes to in the Seattle area. Thanks you for your feedback; it will help us in the future as we plan on continuing to set up events open to all.
Lighten up with the G-word bomb. HER is making things happen. You step up and be that voice that you think is missing. HER is willing to share. Lead by example. Live it and do it. HER is a do-it-yourself enterprise. Bring what you have got and throw it into the mix. Everyone will be appreciative.
Does anyone else find it comical that the establishment known as Central Cinema has decided the word gentrification is a G-bomb that should not be mentioned on the central district news? LOL!
Ck it out.
This wk my show (Sun 10am) features Seattle funk, hip hop, and other music made by folks who live in and around the CD. Studio guests include Pastor Pat Wright, Frank and Herman Brown, Massive Monkees break dance crew, and so much more.
I got go now to drop my kid off at Garfield CC but I hope to see any doubters lined up in the studio to get some air time.
host of “under the influence”
I see what you did there. But it’s Sunday and the Garfield CC doesn’t open unit noon.
I’ll check out your show today.
“Doubters and Haters: a culturally appropriated moment” would be a great show name.
Wow! To hear about the talented people in the Central District this am. Liked your chat with the author on her research about the discovery of insulin.
I just saw this post for the first time today. I am a DJ and I’m very proud and thrilled about the very first public space for Hollow Earth Radio. We’ve been looking for a space for a really long time and are blessed to have received the opportunity that we did to move in to the space on 21st and Union. I am also pleased because this is my neighborhood. We focus on local NW underrepresented music. Since we are in the Central District now I would love to have musicians that live or have lived here perform on my show. Anyone interested? My email address is [email protected]
Shoot me an email and we’ll talk!
‘Historically black neighborhood’ ignores all the other ethnic groups that have been here through the years, including Italians, Jews and others. Historical culture includes those groups as well, if you’re accurate.
Just how did you want to be included before the move? Asked for permission? Help ’em move/paint/clean? Make a donation? What a strange comment.
I’d like to see HER help provide critical forums for resisting gentrification. The conversation might start with questions like:
What are the humane and effective models or strategies out there to learn from? Who does the CD want to be 30 years from now? 60 years from now? How do we make it be that? Who should be the ‘we’ in that question?
Personally, I find myself invested in more than one side of this discussion. At risk of perpetuating further dehumanizing generalizations, I’m down with the gist of Jonathan’s criticism, ie that it’s high time for “indie/bohemian caucasian youth” to confront and dismantle the social patterns and privilege that have kept their tradition more or less monochromatic from the get-go. But I also feel that, despite having a long way to go before they are adept at unpacking their pigment-based privilege, the HER community has it’s heart in the right place. Their invitation to their new neighbors to essentially “come in and take over” is sincere.
I’m excited because there’s a lot of learning to do. And I basically think the CD, like hundreds of thousands of other sites of cross-cultural genius and struggle, is poised to figure out and focus on what it should be, and what it should do, for the people of the whole earth.
Lofty sh*z, no doubt, but those are the stakes these days. We are all in each other’s business like never before.
My belief is that HER is not attached to its present condition of relative naivete, insularity and lack of color. If they were, wouldn’t it have made more sense for them to stay in Wallingford?
And while I’m loathe….
to appear to be asking for sympathy for caucasian youth as a class, it’s a fact
that there are very few places in the culture where the typical caucasian kid gets schooled with the critical skills to recognize and deconstruct the impact of their pigment-based privileges on the course of their everyday lives.
HER is an easy target, but they are not the enemy.
They are daring to be schooled, so why not step it up? Get down off the comment cloud and claim some air time. See what happens after that.