The Beat Must Go On

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by The Fifth Wandsman of Three Portlands

Greetings to you all, my beloved readers! Today I come to you with quite the treat. A little something from my hometown of Three Portlands that has always gotten the reporter’s instincts in me riled up. A phantom radio station that has existed within the city for nearly seventy-years! I was gifted the chance to meet the current Host, Bennetti, and was invited to share the history of the radio station with you, my ravenous critics!

While I certainly had many questions, the nature of Bennetti’s role only allows him to divulge so much information. In the name of brevity, I simply asked him to share what he could about the history of the radio station, his role, and some information on previous Hosts.

Thus, my cherished bibliophiles, I took a backseat and allowed our dear Host to elucidate the nature of the station, its phantom qualities, and its affect upon Three Portlands without my prodding.

Not long after the college was founded in 1948, the pirate broadcast started flowing across the airwaves of Three Portlands. First, it was just someone playing out hits from the anomalous and non-anomalous world. Those sultry tones of the host would queue up the songs and, perhaps, make a comment about the state of things in Three Portlands. Even in the beginning, the music played would be ‘banned music’ by the squares and every now-and-then the OG Host would opine on some social issue. She was quite tame compared to some of the latter Hosts. Not every Host was noteworthy, but these folks here, these Hosts, truly shaped what the Program is.

To start, The Station quickly became a legend around the Deer College campus, with older Arts majors warning the freshman that any of them may be stolen away to the secret broadcasting room. There, they’d be locked in the room until their tenure as the host ended. And should they try to leave, their soul will become trapped within the mixing board. They say during the static between songs you can hear the screams of those who tried to flee or twist the Program to their own ends. These are just silly rumours, though. The Station isn't dangerous. I think…

From what the last Host told me, and what I found in the studio’s filing cabinets, the original Host was one of the budding Beatniks in the late 40s/early 50s. Apparently, she was a friend of Jack Kerouac and ran in his circles. It’s not clear if she gathered it all together or just stumbled upon the equipment, but she crafted the basis of the Program. As the Beatniks were wont to do, she pushed the envelope and challenged the status quo. At the time, Three Portlands only had one other radio station that just played ‘safe’ music. Much more tame tracks, such as those from Bing Crosby or Hank Williams. The original Host, though? She was in tune with the blood of her peers and scoured the clubs for only the finest, wildest jazz, bebop, blues, and swing. Using anomalous recording equipment, she would capture those live performances and spin them up for the listeners.

From searching through old microfilm copies of the campus paper, The Odyssey, it’s plain to see that the original Host riled up the ‘squares’ of her time by flooding the airways with some of the hippest music you’ve ever heard. But time marches on and change always occurs.

After four years, the original Host left the program and was replaced by another beatnik who only introduced himself as ‘Cassady’. With this changing of the guard, the style of the radio station likewise experienced a minor change. While Cassady continued playing much of the same music as the original Host, he was setting aside more time to talk about the current happenings within the town and the anomalous communities outside Three Portlands. He seemed to have a particular soft spot for the budding Nexus of Backdoor Soho in New York City, as he was always talking up his buddy, Ginny, and the guy’s new art projects.Once Cassady took the helm, the program had shifted towards showcasing a form of broadcast reporting. This was continued with the subsequent Hosts of the program, usually replaced every four-years—though, a few did have shorter tenures. Those Beatnik roots would always stick with the program, and its Hosts, as it became a voice of the counterculture within Three Portlands. The Hosts even began directing residents to where the upcoming underground performances might be found. For some reason, such information was always garbled when heard by those who desired to break up the gatherings, such as Deer College faculty, The Jailers, the Bookburners, or the UIU. The writings from past Hosts suggest Cassady was majoring in Creative Writing with a minor in Memetics and did some funky ritual to achieve this effect.

As the years passed and the Program cycled through different hosts, this memetic protection became much more useful as it expanded with time to almost entirely cut out listeners who were aggressive towards the Program's movements. When the Beats gave way to the budding Hippies, the focus of the station moved along with it. With each new host, the program would always shift a little in its focus. Whatever genre was considered ‘counterculture’ at the time would be represented on the station. The Program became a beacon within the music community as ‘sister stations’ began popping up in other Nexuses that mirrored the general format of the original. Of course, they had their own flair, but the Program had finally grown outside of just Three Portlands.The primary site and its sister sites were in constant communication and were quite instrumental in organizing the anomalous music community of the time. Hell, without the Program and its sister sites, Woodstock would not have been nearly the massive, or strange, gathering that it was. While primarily a show for Veiled musicians, a few anomalous artists such as Jimi Hendrix or Carlos Santana took the stage to mystify the crowd. The call for the event echoed through the anomalous world and encouraged many to venture outside of un-Veiled communities—if only a little. The Hosts of each station even went the extra mile to take time to give advice for obscuring oneself and their anomalous features when around non-Veiled folks. Granted, Woodstock was full of hippies, and psychedelics flowed like wine, so no one batted an eye at the less-than-stellar disguises of some anomalous individuals mingling into the massive crowds.

With the Hippies aging and fading into the background, the newer generations gravitated towards the growing Punk movement out of New York City that quickly hopped the pond and swept across the United Kingdom like the greatest of all earworms. Thanks to the connections to The Isle of Portland in the United Kingdom and Portland, Maine in the American north-east, the city of Three Portlands was flooded with musicians, both anomalous and not, who set fire to the younger folks of the city. The sharp, motivating tones of The Stooges, The Sex Pistols, and The Clash overtook the airwaves. With the shift towards the punk scene, the Program moved even further towards being a voice for the underground cultures of the anomalous world.After another a few changing of the guards, the focus had moved towards the actual anomalous underground–not just the parts shared with our Veiled peers. Rather than detailing where The Beatles were having their next speed-fueled marathon concert, the Program directed folks to anomalous bands playing in the town and other Free Ports. Rather than following the popular acts, the Host would be more likely to detail which warehouse in the business district will be host to the next Faelure of Magick or The Nightwalkers show. The non-anomalous world had its brilliant musicians, sure, but those living under the Veil likewise showed just as much talent. Far before non-anomalous bands like Flogging Molly or The Dropkick Murphys were blowing up the Punk scene with their Irish flare, those of us in Three Portlands have been enjoying the sounds of Uilleann pipes, fiddles, and harps intertwined with the crunch of punk music from bands such as Mab’s Fury or The Dwarven Smiths singing out the plights of the young folks.

When the Host only known as Kemp took the stage, we found that each Host actually had far more control over the format of the program than was previously thought. During their four-year tenure as the Host, Kemp moved away from the counterculture sounds of Punk and took a left-turn journey into the budding, twisted world of progressive rock. The airwaves were filled with King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Yes, and The Moody Blues. Kemp shifted away from current world events and instead focused on speaking to the individual listeners. Much of his personal broadcasts focused upon concepts from ‘Eastern religions’—an outdated umbrella term that put the likes of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism in the same category.

Kemp often spoke of the values of meditation, mindfulness, and being aware of who one is and why we act the way we do. There were also a good few times where he’d countdown dropping LSD with his listeners and play a few album while everyone was grooving along on their own psychedelic trips.

While a few complained about the new direction of the station, many accepted it and actually enjoyed the more mellow aspects of Kemp’s time. However, the UIU, in particular, was not happy with his encouragement of folks exploring the psychedelic experiences offered by LSD, mushrooms, leprecaun crystals, Delphi bark, and other drugs—both Veiled and anomalous.

The relaxed atmosphere of Kemp's time would soon be shattered with the coming of the next Host, Hettie. Progressive rock gave way to the harsh tones of hard rock and heavy metal. Focusing on oneself gave way to raging against the established authorities of the time as the Program made a return to its counter culture roots. Groups such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Megadeath, Oberon's Boys, and Binding Geas worked as transitions away from the complexities of progressive rock towards the wider appeal of heavy metal. With this change in musical styling came a change in Host. While Kemp was mellow and comforting, Hettie was brash, rough, and could whip you up into a frenzy of anti-establishment sentiments in twenty seconds. It was rather common for the underground shows Hettie spoke up to end up with damaged property, injured folks, and the UIU chasing college students through the streets.

Because of one of the primary connections to Three Portlands is in the Pacific north-west, it’s no wonder that the growing grunge genre would soon sweep through the anomalous community like wildfire. A large reason for the explosion of grunge enthusiasts within Three Portlands could be connected to the Host known as Novi. Novi was outspoken about the plight of the residents who were being exploited by the likes of Anderson Robotics, Prometheus Labs, Ambrose Restaurants, and Marshall, Carter, and Dark. While golems have long since been a source of manual labor within Three Portlands, they require constant maintenance and aren’t cheap as an initial investment. Those companies found it far more cost effective to hire humans for as little as possible and treat them like golems.The long-running counter culture streak of Three Portlands that the Program had nurtured was still going strong and needed outlets. It was here that Novi directed folks to the grunge and thrash metal shows around Three Portlands, Portland, Oregon, and the Isle of Portland. From these gatherings, younger working class folks from these companies came together, spoke openly, banded together, and began exercising their power of collective bargaining. To this day, Three Portlands industry carries a strong streak of unionization, focuses on healthy collective action with decent accountability, and a healthy relationship between the workers and management.

The next Host of note was just known as ‘Electro’ and she marked another shift in the focus of the show, both in the music and the station’s tone. As one might gather from her name, Electro was a big fan of electronica and house music coming out of the European club scenes of the nineties.

Of note: During Electro’s time hosting the Program, Three Portlands found a marked increase in street racing occurrences.

Curiously, Electro’s social commentaries and journalistic broadcasts were particularly sympathetic towards the last remaining Paratech company in the city, Anderson Robotics. While many of my fellow Hosts believe that Electro was a bit of a shill, she was still forthcoming in explaining the shift of how Anderson handled its employees. Electro sang the praises of Mr. Anderson and his willingness to make concessions to his employees, which wasn’t entirely unearned. The result of her work, though, spurned the workers of Anderson Robotics and Mr. Anderson to come together at the table and hash out a better deal for all involved.

Fuck, even golems started being given long breaks to rest.

As we all know, the late nineties/early oughts were a… strange time for music. So many genres out there thanks to the budding technology of the internet that it becomes difficult to define the period with one styling. However, due to its connection to Portland, Oregon, much of the music scene here is influenced by what is happening in the Pacific Northwest. Due to this, we meet another Host who introduced himself as Brock and flooded the airwaves with the exploding indie rock scenes around the world. The revitalized conception of garage bands mixed with access to cheaper recording equipment saw a massive explosion of local bands within the city, and beyond. At times, Brock was spending a solid hour each day just listing the local shows that were popping up all around Three Portlands, and the connected Portlands.

Brock certainly had his finger to the pulse of the music scenes as it seemed like every band that he spun up was having a show somewhere nearby that day that any resident might find in the town or just by popping through the right Way.

Calls for political action were, of course, not ignored by Brock. But much of his work focused upon the individuals and their personal lives instead of trying to affect large swaths of people. Brock inspired little in the way of political unrest, but he did everything he could to keep the spirits up of those who he reached. For some, that comfort is more valuable than any rousing speech.

Brock’s time at the helm gave way to the man only known as ‘Howlin’ Wolf’, and the station once more pivoted towards a different focus. Though this focus was one that was familiar. The mid/late-twenty-aughts brought with them a revival of blues rock that saw the station returning to much of its original roots. A focus on the plight of particularly marginized groups rang out across the airwaves as Wolf detailed the blight of those such as reality benders, conceptual entities, and living-impaired individuals.

The music he spun was quite eclectic, but tickled your heart and tugged at the soul. In his journalism sections, Wolf focused heavily on topics regarding the fallout of the global depression—in both the veiled and anomalous worlds. He became a champion of community action as he rallied the locals to come together, set aside their differences, and call for a systemic change within Three Portlands.

It was through the work of Wolf and his community action that he was able to convince The Genius Loci to instate a universal basic income for all Three Portlands citizens. With the fear of starving to death in the streets removed, many citizens found a new lease on life. A few folks just stopped working, yes, but their energies were turned towards community-focused projects and creative endeavors—many of these individuals are now some of the most beloved anartists in the anomalous world.

While Blues and R&B had certainly been flowing over the airwaves across the years, the Program had been quite stuck in the veins of rock subgenres and electronic music. When the Host Abmaktes took control over the board, there was quite a shift of that focus. The harsh rock tones gave way to the groovier, smoother tones of R&B and Soul artists.The general 'vibe' in the town itself took a shift as popular artists such as Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Childish Gambino, and The Weeknd were in the company of lesser known artists such as Clipping, Action Bronson, and Ghostpoet. A few stuck-up folks complained about the shift, but most of the town praised the exploration of new genres and asked for more. Abmaktes obliged by scouring the most obscure clubs and scenes inside and outside the Veil, bringing the hottest beats straight from the fires they were forged in. While he focused heavily upon R&B, Abmektes always set aside time for the budding rap artists out there. Many believe that the Fae rapper Knife Eared Asshole would not have gained his popularity were it not for Abmaktes broadcasting his flow.

Now we come to current Host, Benetti. Me. I’ve only been in this chair for a couple weeks now and have gone through as much as the history in this room that I can find, but I still don’t know what kind of Host I should be! So many of the past hosts were instrumental in major movements in the anomalous world, while quite a few others just spent their tenure offering comfort to the populace with great music and encouraging words.

As I sit here, a Freshman, just a fucking kid, I am at a loss. This sound board might be a tool for substantial change, or it could simply be a source of beautiful music for thousands of people. Should I devote myself to one or the other? Or try to find a middle ground between the two?

It blows my mind that so many others like me—bright-eyed, naïve, and full of hope for the world—sat in this same seat and achieved such amazing things. A voice of comfort for the people or a rallying cry to affect change in our society.

There is so much potential for abuse here. I might deceive the world with my broadcasts, twist the narratives to fit my desires. But the same can be said of all of my predecessors. They mostly seemed to understand the magnitude and responsibility of being a Host. It’s true, I could use this position to enrich myself and gaslight the anomalous community. It would be easy to utterly abuse the power that I have been given.

When I have thoughts like that, though? I start feeling as if this sound board is alive and, somehow, sapient. Those thoughts of self-enrichment are always met with the screams in the static of my headset growing to the point I wish my skull would split apart to end it.

As much as I could abuse my position? That is not the point of The Deer College Guerilla Radio Program. That’s not the point of us as Hosts. We aren’t here to improve our lives. We are here to make the lives of others better. We are here to enrich our community—even if that’s just by spinning up a few groovy tunes.

Entertainment, comfort, community, connection. These are the things that the Program strives to create and offer to the anomalous community. Who the Host is doesn’t matter, what genre of music or movement they focus on doesn’t matter. The Program is the only thing that matters. Ensuring there is a Host to spin the records, report the current happenings of the world, and offer a different perspective. Keeping that counterculture movement of society running is the true purpose of the Program; and, by extension, myself. To rail against the status quo, explore what other forms of existence might be there for sapient life, and to always strive for that which is just out of reach. The mouthpiece is irrelevant. Only one thing matters.

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