By Josh Morton
Nick Zangari has stacks of vinyl records, CDs, cassette tapes and eight tracks of his favorite bands and comedy bits dating back to the 70s
Fred Touchette is ready to provide an alternative to AM/FM radio and wants to highlight some of Pensacola’s local musical talents and unsigned bands.
Rick Outzen wants to put together a local politics radio show to keep the community involved and informed.
Last month, these three men put their interests and resources. The result is an internet-based radio station called, Radio Free Pensacola.
Zangari is the owner of New York Nick’s, a sports bar on Palafox Place in Downtown Pensacola. Back in the 90s, he had his own show on TK101 called “Nick at Night,” as well as a two-year stint at fort Walton based radio station 99Rock.
Touchette, owner of pizza pub The Elbow Room, is no stranger to radio either. He had his own Internet radio show 10 years ago.
Outzen is publisher The Independent News in Pensacola. While these gentlemen did have the necessary drive to get this thing started, it is going to take more than just the three of them to keep it afloat.
“This is a co-op in the sense that we want to do it to give back to the community,” Touchette said. “But in order for it to really thrive, it’s going to take the community being a part of it.”
Radio Free Pensacola is still in its testing period as the station continues to search for people who are interested in having their own time slot and are dedicated. Currently, there are only a handful of people who are doing regularly broadcasted live shows. To fill the silence between live broadcasts, Zangari put together a 365-song playlist of his favorite bands, like Genesis, Frank Zappa and Rush. The playlist stops when a DJ starts his show and the playlist picks up where it left off when the DJ signs off.
Touchette said that one of the biggest challenges the station is facing is finding DJs to do live broadcasts. While Radio Free Pensacola clearly has an emphasis on its local community, the DJs do not necessarily have to broadcast locally.
“We had one DJ broadcast from Chicago, one in New York, and a friend of mine in Argentina is interested in connecting, so it’s not all going to be from here,” Touchette said. “It’ll be from wherever. It’s for everybody.”
When it comes to covering politics and playing music of local bands, the tone of the station will mostly be tuned into the local Pensacola community.
Cliff Judd has a show called “The Lost Sandal,” in which he plays a mix of both local and national indie acts and provides listeners with the latest information about concerts happening around town. He broadcasts from his home office in Pensacola.
In addition to the freedom of being able to broadcast from wherever you want, there is also the freedom to say and play whatever they want. Radio Free Pensacola is licensed by Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and the American Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). The only limits that these organizations place on them are in regards to licensing. This includes such parameters as not being able to play three songs by the same artist within three hours. Other than that, the station have no other regulations as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has no control over what happens on the internet.
“The beauty of it is we can do what we want, when we want, and how we want,” says Zangari, who plans to eventually have both local and national acts stop by his studio in New York Nick’s to do live acoustic sets.
To listen to Radio Free Pensacola, visit www.facebook.com/rfpensacola and find the icon labeled “Click Here to Listen.” You can also download the Winamp app for Androids and search for Radio Free Pensacola. The app is not available for iPhone. Anybody interested in having your own slot on Radio Free Pensacola is encouraged to contact Fred Touchette via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.