Not For Air Podcast Brings Florida's Musical Underground to the World
Tessa Bird Photography
With the constant stream of live shows and aspiring musicians in South Florida, Stuart, Florida, is one of the last places a local would think to turn to for a music fix. But one very determined believer of the Treasure Coast is taking a grassroots approach and attempting to turn that all around and shine a spotlight on bands that rarely see it with his Not For Air podcast.
Justin "McPatches" Jordan is a born and raised Florida boy with a passion for something most of us forgot about somewhere around middle school: Radio. A fan of local radio since he was a kid, Justin got his first real taste of the airways in 2008 as part of the promotions team at JACK FM in Vero Beach. He cut his teeth by helping out on remote events, setting up the DJ equipment and editing the audio to go on air.
While on the hunt for his next radio gig, McPatches ran into a
tech-savvy friend and indulged her in his all too common "in-between
jobs" woes. She suggested that in the meantime, Justin could sharpen his
on-air skills with a podcast to practice and stay busy. Still a radio
traditionalist at the time, this marked the first occasion he heard the
word "podcast" and was introduced to the digital medium as a way to
produce a radio show. Armed with a few tips to get started, as well as
everything he learned working at JACK FM, a podcast was born. After a
few weeks online and a drunken YouTube night that lead to the name "Not
For Air Radio," South Florida received its first underground radio show,
and two years later the hit podcast is stronger than ever.
real wacky and impressive thing about Not For Air is that Justin is just
a guy with a day job at a retail store and a long-term dream to make it
big in radio. He spends the majority of his week recording, editing,
promoting (he calls it "whoring himself out"), and daydreaming about
crafting a show that means something to him and his listeners. "The job
really doesn't stop," he said. Justin has never seen one single cent
from producing Not For Air, there is absolutely no budget, he has funded
all the recording equipment himself, and there is no charge to listen.
what is Not For Air? It's got a talk-about-anything radio format,
but they feature Floridian and underground
artists from around the country. Justin keeps it all about the music,
"I'm not in a band, I don't know how to play an instrument, I'm just a
fan." He defines "underground" as "The stuff you don't get to hear all
the time, the real backbone of local music. It doesn't have to be punk,
it doesn't have to be metal. It's just the DYI music you don't normally
hear. Someone needs to support the little guy."
But of course,
Justin couldn't create all this mayhem on his own. Since day one,
co-host Matt Hickman has played the angry guy to Justin's straight
man, ranting and raving on air about whatever they want. After inviting friend Matthew Ferry to join them for live commentating at a
wrestling event, he quickly joined the motley crew and was soon followed
by his wife, Jordan, who adds the necessary female touch. The Not For
Air team has continued to grow with no bounds in site. Interview video guy Justin Spraur and even local photographer Tessa
Bird lend their skills to the cause.
Justin is continuously
impressed by his growing cast. "When we are all together, it works
really well. We are able to bounce off of each others' styles and create
In the two years since its spontaneous start, Not For
Air's listener base has grown just like a bruise when you hit your knee: Immediately and apparently. Besides streaming on
their official website and Bandcamp, Not For Air has picked up enough
buzz to be a feature on online stations around the country. The podcast
streams on PoDunk Radio out of the glamorous city of Paris, Texas, on
Thursday nights, and Fridays on Rok Out Radio, which Facebook fans
recently voted "Underground Radio Station of the Year" and broadcasts
out of Michael Scott's hometown, Scranton, Pennsylvania. On-the-go workin' folk
who still enjoy a good head bang can even listen on their smart phone
with the Tune In app.
Justin thinks having users more geographically
spread out leads to better content. "We have listeners from all over,
not just locally. People hear us and write in about their favorites so
we can get the bands out there."
Not For Air is as underground as
it gets, so what could Justin possibly think about the Man's radio? "A lot of people think that because I'm underground I
must be anti-mainstream radio, but I'm not because it is still radio
and I love it. If it's in the right hands, it's good! But when
corporations are in charge, they play crap and that's the problem.
Regular radio used to be a place to get heard. Now, they leave no room
for local bands or anyone starting out and just play the same songs over
and over again. The main problem with a mainstream station is that even
if it has all the support in the world, someone from corporate can come
in and turn it off. That won't happen to me. I won't let it happen."
Matt and the rest of the Not For Air fleet celebrated their two year
anniversary on August 4th and aren't showing any signs of slowing down.
They plan on taking on new sponsors, creating more video content, and
even traveling to take the show on the road. All with one goal in mind, to get noticed by more people so they can help out underground bands.
Justin knows he's created something important, and is ready for the long
haul. "I found one thing I am really good at, and I am going to keep
doing it. I just want to hang out and play music."
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