Friday, January 15, 2010

Chicago Independent Radio Project- CHIRP

There is a new net radio station in Chicago's North Center neighborhood and it's play-list is a music fans dream come true: the perfect mix of independent and local music of bands you love and others you have yet to discover. This station was founded by Shawn Campbell who has been in radio for over 15 years and is intending this station to be a true "community" effort. Often, indie radio is "college radio", which excludes a majority of the community. Originally, Shawn looked to start a traditional station, but the FCC licensing is extremely difficult to procure. So for now CHIRP will be on the net, and Shawn and others hope to get the Local Community Radio Act passed by Congress to allow more stations in the lower end of the radio dial where local and college stations reside.

As far as content, CHIRP's musical director Billy Kalb has been quoted, "everything and anything outside of smooth jazz and pop country" will be played on Chirp. No set play-lists. No blocks or shows of a certain style of music. CHIRP has started it's life with 50,000 donated albums. Compare that with most stations total of only 500 or so songs to choose from. I have not gotten to listen to CHIRP enough to figure out how the dj's will affect what's played when they are on, but that is one of the interesting things that I look forward to with repeated listening.

A friend sent me a news article about CHIRP. I joined the list and was fortunate to be able to use the beta version of the station over the last week. Nice twists by Chirp include having buttons next to song's they've played for local record stores to purchase the album. There is also a link for e-music to buy it digitally. There is an interactive form where you can comment on and see comments from other CHIRPERS about recently played songs. As I write this on Friday afternoon I am looking at a window that has the recently played songs on CHIRP: Explosion In The Sky, Doves, The Clientele, Thao wit The Get Down Stay Down, Thom Yorke, Flaming Lips, Big Star, Aimee Mann, Tegan and Sara, Bob Mould, Nina Simone, and Jimmy Cliff. The site has quite a bit to offer so try to check everything out. The folks at CHIRP look forward to your feedback because you are the community that CHIRP is reaching out to.

Here's a message that CHIRP sent out to those who have joined. EVERYONE is invited to come...

To celebrate the station launch, CHIRP is throwing a party at the Empty Bottle on Saturday, January 16th. On the bill, we have three of our favorite Chicago bands...

The Yolks
Rabble Rabble

Showtime is 10PM, and the show is 21+. Tickets are $8, and benefit the Chicago Independent Radio Project. You can buy them in advance from Ticketweb:

We hope you'll be able to attend and celebrate along with us. We've worked long and hard to bring Chicago a new, live, music-, arts-, and culture-focused radio station, and we're so grateful for your support and belief in this project.

If you can't make it to the show, but you'd like to support our efforts, you can make a special launch gift to CHIRP at


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