The Black Rock Desert: they say that nothing grows there, yet from a fertile seed planted over ten years ago, a little ragtag radio station tucked away in the back of Center Camp, with careful nurturing year after year, grew and grew to become Burning Man Information Radio.
Celebrating its third year on the Esplanade, BMIR continues to be a destination for citizens of Black Rock City. Some seek information, some seek participation, some seek assistance, some seek community. One thing is clear; they come to BMIR because they know BMIR is there for them, available to them as a resource and a refuge where they will always be welcomed with open arms.
Once again, broadcasting live 24/7 and streaming on the internet to the world (DJ’s interacted with Burners all over the world via social media), many recent and longtime traditions at BMIR continued while some new traditions were born.
In 2012 BMIR continued its longtime association with Kidsville. Walking in the footsteps of his sister Cheyenne, who was BMIR’s first intern in 2011, Nick Sundberg spent so much time at BMIR we started to wonder if he went back to Kidsville at night to sleep or just stayed at the station. He hosted his own show, fixed our computers, and made the Kidsville Takes Over BMIR program complete by hosting it himself.
BMIR cocktail parties continued to serve as a way to thank Burning Man departments and organizations for their work and dedication, as well as a way to relax and just have fun. We honored Burners Without Borders and thanked the Emergency Services Department. We hosted the Billion Bunnies and featured a live broadcast of Jerk Church, complete with songbooks for anyone who wanted to participate and sing along. The Rockstar Librarian returned for her pre-gate opening show. She had the organizers of the city’s largest sound camps in the studio, played music and discussed DJ lineups. In addition BMIR served as the premier distribution point for copies of her much sought after guide to music on the playa. On the aesthetic front, Ken Griswa transformed BMIR’s humble shade structure and containers into a wonderland of art, as he has done for the past several years.
Always open and always accessible, BMIR continued the tradition of providing access to the airwaves for anyone who walked in the door and had a message, a song, a poem or a thought. While we had numerous returning DJ’s, we welcomed several new DJ’s who just showed up and said “I like what BMIR is doing and I want to be part of it.” The host of a nationally syndicated music program even told us that we were one of the best radio stations he had ever heard, anywhere. Always a source of refuge, assistance and information, we connected people with their friends, connected people with rides home, and even provided a quiet space where the artist behind one of this year’s honorarium art installations could sit undisturbed for five hours and de-bug the code that ran the piece’s fire effects.
The biggest change for this year was the addition of a converted semi that is now BMIR’s new on-air studio. As BMIR has grown larger and more sophisticated, this additional space was very welcome. This addition – along with larger, more powerful outdoor sound system – made BMIR a living, breathing 24/7 performance. Also new for this year, BMIR served as the home port for the beautiful art bus, The Dodo. This fine ship sailed the playa with a lineup of DJ’s who spread music far and wide across the playa.
BMIR continued to play an eclectic mix of music, spoken word, informational programming and more. We featured a roundtable discussion with Burning Man’s Government Relations & Legal Affairs Manager Ray Allen and two senior BLM officers. Meghan Rutligano hosted a program featuring Regional Network Coordinators who highlighted the CORE project. Our live Man Burn coverage featured Media Mecca’s Tom LaPorte and Yoms in the field with $teven Raspa and BMIR’s J Kanizzle, while Media Mecca’s Polaris, Camp Envy’s Danger Bunny and Bobzilla held things down in the studio.
What will 2013 bring for BMIR? We don’t know. One thing we do know is that those who say “Nothing grows here” might want to stop by BMIR see what has grown. Black Rock City is as fertile as ever.