With double the dust storms, twice the rainbows, and more Man-Burns than ever, 2008 will undoubtedly go down as a unique year in the annals of playa history. And while BMIR 94.5 FM can’t claim any event as dramatic as Monday night’s burn, 2008 was another year of considerable growth and evolution for the station.
As usual, the 2008 edition of BMIR 94.5 FM featured a mix of out-of-the-ordinary music, theme camp news and events, public service announcements (PSAs), behind-the-scenes and on-the-scenes interviews, and original programming. Old friends returned, including a roster of top-notch DJs, the Combustible News Network and its daily live news broadcasts, and–most important–YOU, as myriad Black Rock citizens dropped by to chat on-air or hang out at the station. Beyond maintaining this air of familiarity, BMIR introduced several new elements to its services:
WELCOME TO CAMP BMIR
Besides fulfilling its broadcast duties, BMIR took on a more public persona this year. This included a new courtyard/lounge area in which to repose one’s body and regale each other with tales of playa exploits; a roof deck from which to watch sweet sunrises and unexpected conflagrations; and daily cocktail/dance parties that often spilled out into the street, one of which began with a dust storm and ended with a double rainbow. Coincidence, or a successful “weather control” upgrade of a transmitter? Or maybe the critical mass of the energy of BMIR revelers? We’ll never tell…
NEW REMOTE BROADCASTS, INCLUDING LIVE CONCERTS FROM THE CAFE
Once again, BMIR had the capability to broadcast live from anywhere in Black Rock City during the event. This year, we broadcast live concerts from the Center Camp Cafe stage, including Gooferman and Chapa,
EXPANDED PROGRAMMING AND LIVE ON-AIR HOURS
BMIR runs 24/7 throughout Black Rock City’s all-too-brief existence, but we expanded our live programming again in 2008. On-air personalities mixed it up with music and in-studio guests from roughly 7am to 10pm each day of the event.
We also expanded our interview programming. As usual, we spoke live with artists, organizers, regional reps, alternative energy advocates, and other participants–putting a particular premium on speaking with citizens such as Burners Without Borders who focus on expanding the ethos of Black Rock City beyond the boundaries of the playa. In collaboration with NASA (yes, the NASA that put men on the moon, not some sublimely ridiculous theme camp with the same acronym), we hosted an interview show on some of the ingenious and aesthetically pleasing acts of scientific daring-do that were on display this year; this show was also webcast on NASA’s website.
And finally, BMIR had an entirely new on-air crew, as the station was overrun by rabid horde of frequency-hungry youngsters from Kidsville for the Thursday morning broadcast. (Actually, they were very sweet, incredibly charming, and absolutely phenomenal on-air.) Their presence was yet another reminder of the diversity of Black Rock City’s population, and we look forward to more of their take-overs next year.
ARCHIVAL RECORDING AND WEBCAST
For the first time, the entirety of BMIR’s 2008 playa broadcast was recorded for later use off the internet. To get your daily dose of playa memories and nostalgic reminiscence, go to http://www.bmir.org. Visitors to the website during the event were able to tune in and listen to BMIR live, thanks to a feed via wireless Internet…. from Black Rock to laptop, with love.
EXPANDED COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT (AND IF YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED, HERE’S HOW)
As we’ve done for years, we continued to hold “official” drop-in hours from noon to 4pm each day so that participants could record announcements for radio play throughout the week; hundreds of citizens came by to announce their camps’ events, send a shout out for that desperately needed item or service, or lay down a PSA. As usual, we also received numerous PSAs and theme camp announcements from various camps before the event, either on CD or through emailed MP3s. Thank you for your participation, and of course BMIR will provide this service again this year. (yes, it does make our lives a little easier if you submit your spots in advance, though we’ll never turn anyone away at the door, of course).
Beyond this participatory element, BMIR is always open to new voices and new ideas. If you are interested in doing an on-air show –music or otherwise– please drop us a line at email@example.com with a paragraph or two describing what your fertile brain is dreaming up. Additionally, BMIR is always looking for volunteers to assist with the day-to-day operations on the playa, including staffing drop-in hours. It’s best to contact us well before the event, since a full staff roster is developed pre-playa and it’s often difficult to schedule new DJs on-playa. Alas, the reality of this temporally-based reality prevents us from being able to accommodate everyone who wants to get involved; BMIR routinely has more volunteers than jobs, particularly in the DJ department. But we’ll continue to do our best to program the station in a way that reflects Black Rock City’s diverse aesthetics and interests, to make BMIR sound like the playa feels.
Are we always successful meeting this and other goals? As we’ve said before, some oversights are inevitable: mistakes made within the chaotic context of an overly-ambitious and excitable desert media outlet run by volunteers who, like everyone, have way more on their plates than they could ever hope to ingest but still do their best to run a radio station in the middle of a Nowhere that feels like Everywhere. So if BMIR has ever dropped the ball, either in our communications with you or in the on-playa services provided, you are encouraged to kindly harass us, both during and before the event (Just make the harassment fun, alright? You know, more like the playa than a priest.).
AND THAT’S ALL FOLKS…FOR NOW
If you’ve never listened to the station, or if it’s been a while since you have, BMIR encourages you to tune in during those quieter moments in Black Rock City. Long gone are the days of constant porta-potty warnings and HAL 2000-styled automation. This really isn’t your father’s great aunt’s second cousin’s hairdresser’s BMIR….. And whether you love or loathe what you hear, we encourage you to send us feedback through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening!