Take Ten with The Pit FM

Mannequin Republic decided to see what’s involved with starting up a radio station.  Who better to ask than The Pit FM from Perth, Western Australia?  The radio station is only a few weeks away from it’s massive launch and they have got support from right across Australia and overseas as well.  We asked Trev Mcdonnell from The PitFM to take ten.

What was the idea behind starting The Pit FM?

Trev Mcdonnell: Man, that is actually the question I get asked most.  A year ago I was working a job where I was allowed to listen to my mp3 player all day.  One day I had one of those, fuck it lets see what’s on the radio moments.  Basically, I couldn’t find anything I liked.  So, out of frustration I posted on Facebook “why isn’t there a radio station that plays punk, metal and hardcore?”  Someone commented back “Do it Trev”, my response was: “No.  Why can’t someone else do it?”  A week later I started working on The Pit FM.

What can we expect from the station in way of style and genres?

Trev Mcdonnell: We’re focusing pretty much on punk, hardcore, post-hardcore and metal along with the various sub-genres that go with them.  Each genre will be getting something like 18 hours of dedicated programming a week with the other 96 hours each week being a mixed genre format.  We’ll have something for everyone.  From pop-punk, punk and old school metal through all the ‘cores to black metal.  Some of our fans might only listen 3 hours a week and others will listen all the time.  The style of the station is really going to vary depending on what the show is on at the time.

How is The Pit FM is different from other radio stations?

Trev Mcdonnell: We’ve gone with a strong focus on music news and interviews.  Let’s face it, if people just want to listen to a random selection of music they would stick their iPod on shuffle.  Unfortunately most online stations are nothing more than a selection of music set on random.  If you’re lucky there is a person introducing the tracks, occasionally.  It has also been a goal of ours to be both local and global right from the start.  Between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm in your city you’ll be able to get all the news on what’s happening in your part of the world.  You’ll get a good mix of your local bands played along-side some of the best from around the world.  Tune in outside that time and you’ll be hearing what is local and potentially unknown in the USA, Europe and other parts of the world.

Why have an online station?

Two reasons really: instant global reach and the ridiculously prohibitive cost of an FM license in this country.

What kind of radio segments and shows will you have on air?

Trev Mcdonnell: Such a HUGE question!  On the east coast, as you guys are all getting home from school and work, you’ll have your ears massaged by a 4 hour multi-genre show with a strong focus on what is happening across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and over in New Zealand.  That’s followed up with a 3 hour west coast multi-genre show with a focus on Western Australia and Asia.  Come 10:00 pm EST it’s time for the daily Australian genre shows.  Monday punk, Tuesday hardcore, Wednesday metal, Thursday post-hardcore and Friday it’s extreme and black metal.  Saturday, it’s old school night with pop-punk, followed by old school punk then old school metal.  1:00 am the Euro shows kick off and from 7:00 am you’ll be waking up to the US shows which will take you through until its time to head home for more east coast local ear massaging.

For promoters, bands and events, what can you offer the community that other stations can’t?

Trev Mcdonnell: Access is probably the big thing, really.  We are rapidly approaching 3,000 friends (I hate the word ‘likes’) on Facebook and we haven’t even put our website up yet.  People want this to happen.  Most importantly people who listen to this music are hard to impress and hard to get in front of.  Our listeners generally don’t listen to traditional commercial radio, they download their TV shows so don’t watch TV advertising, they usually don’t read newspapers and in reality most of them rarely pick up street press except to jump straight to the gig and tour info.  They get their news and their information from their friend networks and from the web.

Can we expect some pretty big bands on air anytime soon?

Trev Mcdonnell: My promotions manager, Feebz, will tear me a new one for mentioning some of these (she beats me when I let secrets out), but I can confirm bands we’ve got interviews lined up with so far include Snot (USA), Buried In Verona, Sienna Skies, State of East London, Carnifex (USA), Defiler (USA), The Storm Picturesque and Resist The Thought.  Michael Banting our head of hardcore relocates to Sweden just after we launch and he already has a list of bands as long as his arm lined up for interviews when he gets off the plane and I think all up at the moment we have about 80 bands globally scheduled for interviews.  But, to avoid a broken arm at the hands of Feebz I think I’ll stop spilling my guts right there.

How will The Pit FM help smaller, unsigned, local bands in Western Australia?

Trev Mcdonnell: At the risk of sounding wankerish, if we only manage to help smaller unsigned local bands in Western Australia, I think we’ll have failed.  We want to help the talented, unsigned, local bands who deserve a break, no matter where they live.  All of our announcers have been tasked with not only playing and interviewing the bands that are popular but also the bands with talent that no one has heard of.  In short, if you are in a band and you think you deserve to be played on air, send us a CD, or a download link, or upload a track via our site.  If we like it you’ll get played.  If we love it you’ll be played a lot and probably interviewed.  Having said that, if you’re sending in just a demo it will want to be a pretty fucking good demo.

What is the scene in Perth like?  From street press to opportunities for local bands?

Trev Mcdonnell: It’s funny you know, people in the local scene here who have never left Perth love to bag the shit out of it, but for an isolated state we have some great talent across all genres.  I think Perth bands (particularly punk and metal bands) for the last decade or more have been their own worst enemies.  We allowed distance to be an excuse for not touring and then wondered why great bands came, fizzled and went.  The hardcore bands got it though.  Bands like Break Even and Miles Away toured the shit out of the east coast and picked up a strong following.  Finally we are seeing more bands touring regularly and often more than once a year and it is showing through in a stronger work ethic.  Bands actually have faith in their ability to make it which seemed to not be there for a long time.  Street press is alive and well over here with Xpress and Drum mags having a combined distro in the order of about 50,000+ prints a week.  We struggle with the same lack of venues that seems to blight most of the states in Australia and whilst we haven’t had to worry about the dreaded pokies taking over our live venues we are still fighting a battle against Coles and Woolworths who seem to want to turn every corner pub into a family oriented bistro bar with an Australian Idol reject playing an acoustic set in the corner.

Finally, what are some Western Australian bands we should all keep an eye out for and get in to?

Trev Mcdonnell: This is a hard question.  Not because I can’t find bands to mention, but because I risk leaving someone out.  So, here is my best effort: The Decline, I Am Eternal, Saviour, Anchored, Statues, Befallen, Against The Tide, The Milkshake Strategy and Make Them Suffer.  Check them all out.  As soon as this is done another half dozen are going to enter my mind and I’m going to hate myself.

Thank you Trev for taking time to talk with us.  The Pit FM hits the digital airwaves on June 27th.  For more information check out their site http://www.thepitfm.com and keep checking back with Mannequin Republic for updates.

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