Radio Free Brooklyn is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to give a global voice to local artists, residents, community organizers and other non-profit institutions by providing a commercial-free freeform Internet Radio platform.
We are a non-commercial community freeform Internet radio station, streaming original content by the artists and residents of NYC’s most populous borough 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
Once upon a time, radio was a tool for empowerment, a medium that provided a voice to the unheard and brought communities together. Today, we live in an age in which the media is too often used as a means to constrain and restrict rather than express.
Since our launch in 2015, RFB has evolved from being simply a radio station run by friends into a community organization that provides a freeform radio platform for the diverse cultures that comprise the borough of Brooklyn. Our programming ranges from music of all genres (with an emphasis on local artists), to local politics, LGBT rights, gentrification, experimental radio art, gender issues, food, and more.
Our philosophy rests on three pillars: Community, Discovery and Education. Our objective is to provide solidarity through radio, giving a voice to under-served communities and to become a bridge between them. We focus heavily on live broadcasting as a tool for the discovery of new music and ideas, and our educational initiatives put the tools of DIY radio into the hands of average people with the aim of not only expression, but also increased media literacy during a time when we seem to need it most.
We are inspired by the radio pioneers of the past and gratefully acknowledge their shoulders on which we stand: Radio Caroline, Radio Alice, Steal This Radio, Max Neuhaus, East Village Radio, Joe Frank, WFMU, Napoleon Williams and so many others. Like them, we will strive to broadcast not the commercial dross that clogs the terrestrial airwaves, but original programming as diverse as the programmers themselves – stories, sound art, radical ideation, comedy, sex, and experimentation as yet unheard. We are a community, and all are welcome to participate.
Radio Free Brooklyn was started in May of 2015 by Tom Tenney and Robert Prichard, both veteran performer/producers of the NYC underground performance scene, as a way of continuing to provide a platform for independent artists without being subject to the constraints of the rising costs of NYC real estate. In our first 18 months, RFB has grown from a small Internet radio station with 17 shows operating from the basement of a Bushwick bike shop, to a community organization with over 120 members and over 60 shows, streaming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Eschewing prescribed formats, RFB allows its hosts complete freedom to experiment with the medium of radio to create what the London Telegraph called “a glowing petri dish of creativity, variety, and counter-cultural energy.” As a community organization, we work with other non-profits to provide them access to local listeners, and our new storefront is being transformed into a community center which will host workshops for local teens, teaching them to use technological tools in order to create their own community media.
What is Freeform Radio?
Freeform is a programming format that grants hosts and DJs total artistic freedom in the creation of their shows. Hosts are not restricted by traditional programming formats or commercial concerns when they are developing their content and playlists. Freeform radio was pioneered in the 60’s and 70’s by such stations as WBAI and WFMU in New York City, KPFA in Berkeley, CA and KPFK in Los Angeles. Radio Free Brooklyn management will never dictate what our hosts can or cannot say and/or play on the network.
|Tom Tenney (Co-founder / Program Director / President) was the founder and Director of the annual RE/Mixed Media Festival in NYC. He has been producing theatrical events since the 1980’s, working with a diverse group of artists – from Robert Wilson to DJ Spooky – and his long-running late-night series Grindhouse-A-Go-Go! was the flagship show at Surf Reality’s House of Urban Savages on the Lower East Side from 1998-2002. His sound pieces have been heard on PRX Remix Radio, GMFE Sound Experience, Deep Wireless Festival and Streaming Festival 6. Tom got his M.A. in Media Studies from the New School and his B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fun Arts) from Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Clown College. He has been a guest lecturer at the School of Visual Arts and an adjunct Media Studies professor at Hofstra University and New Jersey City University. Tom is the host of Frequency Theory on RFB, and recently published a DIY guide to starting an Internet radio station.|
|Robert Prichard (Co-founder / Talent Director / Vice-President) was the co-founder and proprietor of Surf Reality’s House of Urban Savages, a seventy seat black-box performance space on the Lower East Side that he ran from 1993-2003. Surf Reality continues to exist as a producing organization, and from 2003-present has produced several productions including Radical Vaudeville at Mo Pitkins and Bowery Poetry Club, and 64: A Vaudeville of the Mind at the HERE Spring Artist Lodge in 2012. He’s also known for his work in the 1980s TROMA cult films The Toxic Avenger and The Class of Nuke ‘Em High. Rob currently produces the monthly variety and burlesque show, Radical Vaudeville at Celebration of Whimsey in Manhattan. He is the host of Bushwick Garage on Radio Free Brooklyn.|
|Angelica Vergel (Editorial Director) is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work has screened at The New York Public Library, Bowery Arts & Science, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, and The Hollows. She has presented in conferences at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and Western University in London Ontario, Canada. Angelica has her M.A. in Media Studies from The New School, and B.F.A. in Studio Art and B.A. in Art History from Florida Atlantic University. She is the co-host of Empty Orchestra on Radio Free Brooklyn.|
|Orie Givens (News & Community Engagement Director) is a multimedia journalist, communications manager, and co-founder of LGBTQ podcast network Radio QueerMinded. Orie’s published work includes features for The Advocate, Harlem Focus, Daily Xtra, JJIE.org, Outlook Ohio and other outlets. Orie is also the host of Radio Free Brooklyn’s Queer State of Mind, a live two-hour music and talk show focused on LGBTQ people, news, events and stories from around Brooklyn, New York City and beyond, and the Executive Producer/Moderator of RFB’s first politics and current events program, the forthcoming Objection to the Rule. Orie has a B.A. in Linguistics from The Ohio State University and a M.A. in Journalism from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.|
|Noel Dinneen (Director, Mobile & Archiving / Secretary) is an actor and improvisor who came to New York from Canada by way of Chicago. He has appeared in Boardwalk Empire, HBO’s Show Me a Hero, the film and stage versions of Charlie Victor Romeo, as well as many things best forgotten by time. Noel is co-host of the comedy show Get Rich Quick with Josh and Noel currently airing on Radio Free Brooklyn. He is honored to be able to aid in RFB’s ability to create, foster, and promote community and art. The best things often come from unexpected places.|
|Lisa Levy (Marketing Director) is a conceptual artist, comedic performer, painter and (self-proclaimed) psychotherapist. Her art has been widely exhibited at The New Museum, The Bronx Museum, The Pulse Art Fair, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Christopher Stout Gallery and many others. Her character Dr. Lisa, S.P. (self-proclaimed) psychoanalyzes people on screen, stage and on the street, as well as celebrity guest “patients” such as Joe Gordon-Levitt and Amy Schumer. On her weekly Radio Free Brooklyn show, Dr. Lisa Gives a Sh*t, she conducts funny, emotionally revealing “psychotherapy sessions.” Lisa’s recent 2-day protest of the art world, where she sat naked on a toilet for two days, garnered international attention.|
|Lauren “Rosey” Rosenkranz (Director of Special Events / Operations Manager / Treasurer) is a producer and community builder residing in Brooklyn via Austin, Texas. She left an engineering career to pursue work with various musicians, comedians, media publications, venues and artist platforms. Rosey hosts the Tuesday edition of Brooklyn Bandstand on Radio Free Brooklyn. People are her passion and music fuels her soul.|
|Shane Gasteyer (Training Director) is a union organizer, musicians’ rights activist, and crazy cat gentleman, as well as the writer and co-host of NYC’s best (and only) regular Music Trivia night. He is also the host of Everybody Plays the Fool, a weekly music show on Radio Free Brooklyn|
|Took Edalow (Community Manager) is an Anarcho-Matriarchal Communist. Their background includes freight train hopping with a Gene Wilder look-a-like, hitchhiking with a Juggalo gang and living on an Anarchist Commune. They are a performance artist, comedy, writer, painter, body painter and angry activist. They are the host of Radio Free Brooklyn’s Anarcho-leaning political show What Would Save The World? where they discuss the answer to that very question. You can find their blog at whatwouldsavetheworld.|