Radio Free Suburbia

Last week we found that one of our neighbors was running a pirate radio station out of their garage, playing nothing but Christmas music. We were driving around the rich part of the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. (We live in a cluster of houses in the middle of the desert, ten minutes out of town. There are two kinds of houses here: those built over 20 years ago, and those built less than five years ago. The new houses are your standard sprawling McMansions, and easily sell for twice what the older houses do. Just take a guess which houses put up better Christmas displays!) Anyway, we were driving around when we saw a placard in the front yard of one of the houses:

“Enjoy Our Light Display Set to Music: tune to 100.5!” So we turned on 100.5, and sure enough over the speakers came a bunch of Christmas music, mixed in with a little PSA saying, “This year we have a barrel in our driveway for donations to the food bank.” It’s pretty cool to see pirate radio being pumped out of rural suburbia, even if it’s just playing holiday tunes. Will the radio station keep running after this week? Probably not. But this stuff is getting easier for everyone, as this shows. It sounded like they just had a playlist set up on their computer, and fed the output into some kind of FM transmitter. It’s so great that you can do it out of your living room like that. Although the FM part of it is becoming outdated. Maybe next year they’ll put their Christmas songs in a podcast!!

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