Dust Circuit Radio: Thinking Locally, Broadcasting Globally

Ziggy Kennedy. Photo courtesy of Dust Circuit Radio

by Frank Ippolito

“Welcome to REAL local music radio,” Ziggy Kennedy proudly announced at my arrival at his Dust Circuit Radio studio.

Kennedy, owns, operates, programs and does pretty much everything else at Dust Circuit Radio, his Internet radio station he runs out of his West Valley home – something he’s been doing for a little over 10 months. His living room has been transformed into the station’s control room. No less than 5 computer monitors, mixing board, server, and a desk with mics for the myriad of guests he entertains on any given day during one of his programs, “High Noon”.

Starting with a single radio show, Kennedy has added four shows each covering different genres, two podcasts from Bakersfield and San Antonio, plus, simply find them on Google+ and anyone can hang out on the show and join in on the conversation.

And when Kennedy calls DCR “real local music radio” he means it. Tune in and you’ll hear local acts like Carol Pacey and The Honeymakers, The Haymarket Squares and Mills End, played in between Led Zeppelin, CCR and Rod Stewart. In fact, there are over 100 local bands on the playlist.

Does every band get into the DCR rotation? Yes, says Kennedy, but with a caveat.

“The one thing I hate, I mean hate about corporate radio, and even local Internet radio here, is the philosophy of, “That’s a really good song, but not good enough.” I mean, what the <expletive> is that? Does every song get on DCR? No. BUT, if it’s a great recording, if it’s got some groove to it, and if there’s banjo, (Ziggy loves banjo), we’ll give you a spin.”

Speaking with the passion of a community advocate, Kennedy continued his sermon in between chatting with the fans on the Google hangout and his in-studio guests.

“DCR is essentially the local artist radio station, period. I mean, what other local station invites local artists to come in, talk about their music, and play a couple songs, any time any day? There you go.”

Lee Perreira.
Vision Factory Photography

In fact, the day I was there, local singer/songwriter, Lee Perreira, was there promoting his upcoming CD fundraising concert at the Sail Inn and to play a couple of his songs.

“To get an opportunity to promote a show, a CD, and play a couple of songs while I’m doing it, you can’t get that with mainstream Phoenix radio,” Perreira says in his signature gravelly voice.

A front man for his own bands for a decade, Kennedy was always told he had a voice for radio, but he believed that radio was where washed-up musicians landed – but nowadays he doesn’t believe it at all.

“This is my vocation. It’s my religion, really. I have a passion for music and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” he proclaimed.

And I believed him. But passion doesn’t pay the bills.

Kennedy has been operating at a loss since he started DCR. He said he lived better when he was in college, and that if it weren’t for the support he receives from his wife and co-owner of the station, Kerry, a social worker, and the generous donations he receives from listeners, he couldn’t even afford to turn on the Internet.

Finally, Kennedy added: “You know, I’m not going to get “rich” from this. The reason I do it is because I believe that local bands and artists deserve direct communication with fans that isn’t possible on corporate radio, on a station that is BS-free.”

You know, you can’t get any more local than that.

To listen (or donate) go to dustcircuitradio.com, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the “donations” tab. Or at the very least go to their Facebook page, like ‘em, and share, share, share.