In 1985, the Strawberry Bluegrass Festival implemented a low-powered fm radio station, in order to bring the Strawberry community closer together. This was the first recorded example of using the radio to connect and enrich a festival-going audience. The festival radio concept was developed by Thom O’hair, Bix Beeman, and Theresa Gluzinski, and it was Thom O’hair’s programming concept to air nothing but live music, and music that was recorded live, from the Strawberry Music Festival. The goal was to allow attendees and festival volunteers to remain connected to the event and to one another, as well as a public safety utility.
Due to the unlicensed (pirate) nature of the broadcast, no call letters could be assigned by the fcc. In order to signify the station, a more descriptive approach lead to “The Strawberry Hog“, thus incorporating the name of the festival and a historical perspective, all in one. You see, the area around the broadcast location was once headquarters for the Smith Sheep Company. While sheep was the name of the game, the name of the locale became “Hog Ranch”. Connecting the event to the site is now a common nomenclature for the low-powered and community radio stations that operate at live music festival events.
Nowadays, an extension of The Strawberry Way to other festivals and events around the country is that you bring your fm radio with you when you go camping, because many other events now use the radio as a way to build their communities.
A partial list of links to other festival radios…