Community has always been a motif of Ohm Radio. Since they took over the 96.3 FM channel, the folks at Ohm have flooded the airwaves with original content about the local area, including local music, local food talk, and local businesses. Much of Ohm Radio’s content is also regionally produced, thanks to their open door policy on show submissions.
Following the impetus for their programming, Ohm Radio has chosen the hip food court Workshop as its new broadcast location. The intention of the move is to open up Ohm Radio to the citizens in almost every way, making it “more accessible to the public,” says station manager Eileen Waldron. The new spot, which will soon house a sound booth in the corner of the food court, will allow spectators to listen in on the discussions and music that are being broadcasted.
“Getting the word out has been a little slow about Ohm Radio,” says South Carolina Media Reform President Vikki Matsis. “There’s still some people that don’t know about it, so being in such a public space would really increase out listenership.”
With the push for more community involvement in a not so subtle way, Waldron and Matsis also want programming to cover more public issues, nonprofits, and host more live musical performances. “We’re going to be adding a lot of programming, not changing our existing programming,” says Matsis. The hope is that the public space and the opportunity for bystanders to just watch programming as it’s happening will “bring in a lot more people who want to be involved,” she says.
Developer and Workshop partner Michael Woody hopes that the new addition to his restaurant will bring more excitement and energy to the restaurant. “I think it’s mutually beneficial,” he says.
In thematic fashion for the independent radio station, an open gathering was held to celebrate the new space. The evening had plenty of big name attendees mingling like poet laureate Marcus Amaker, Mayor Tecklenburg, Music Hall director Charles Carmody, among others. It looked like a local music scene Bilderberg meeting.
Charles Carmody sees Ohm’s expansion as beneficial to the Charleston scene as a whole. “If we can work more with them to promote shows, to livestream shows, to cover shows, to get that to more ears, I think it helps everybody,” says Carmody.
Amaker has been a frequent collaborator with Ohm, operating his own show throughout the years. “I just love the fact that this radio station really supports local music and independent music,” says Amaker. “I’m not a fan of major radio stations because they all play the same thing and we are being fed so many things, so many news stories, so many artists that’s being controlled, so having an independent outlet is really important.”
As a point of reference for the sound booth, and to provide soul jams throughout the meet-and-greet, a couple of turntables and a mixer were set up on the side where the future radio broadcasting spot will be. Amaker, the Soul Preservation Society, and a few other DJs took turns spinning vinyl for the crowd.
Matsis hopes that Workshop’s patrons won’t have to use their imagination to see the place of broadcast much longer. A virtual desk will go up at Workshop next week and she believes that everything will be set up by Wed. Aug. 1.
Stay cool. Support City Paper.
City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.