Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Station to Station: The Pirate Cat Radio Hybrid

I'm sorry to admit I've been meaning to blog about one of my neighborhood's tucked away institutions, Pirate Cat Radio. And no sooner do I do so when I find out it might be in trouble, according to Mission Local. I was there in Monday, however, and it seemed as though the broadcast was still rolling. We shall see.

Pirate Cat is a hybrid of one part radio station studio, one part coffee shop with a glass wall dividing the 2. Surprisingly, the co-habitate nicely as you listen to the live broadcast while contemplating your order. With so many coffeeshops creating atmosphere via the tunes that the barista plays over the PA system, it seems only natural to scale that up to become a broadcast that extends far beyond the space itself (via the airwaves and Internet.) The broadcast is even projected out onto the sidewalk adding a lot of energy to a very somber, residential part of the Mission.

The Pirate Cat Studios as seen from the café.

The Café

My favorite part of the MissionLocal post is the clever way in which Pirate Cat's founder managed to circumvent the regulations that obstructed his broadcast:
"Roberts is known for his creativity in keeping the station on the air. In 2002, it came to his attention that a little-known provision in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations permitted unlicensed broadcasting in times of war. President Bush had announced a “war on terror” on September 20, 2001. In April 2003, Pirate Cat began broadcasting openly in San Francisco — a pirate station that insisted that it was legal, and as American as apple pie."

First we lose KUSF and now maybe Pirate Cat. Underground radio isn't hurting anyone, and it's becoming more and more necessary to provide variety to the airwaves all the time.

On another note, right next door to PCR, I have always found this soccer equipment and uniform shop built into a residential garage as a charming adaptation of one more private space programming for another more public-facing one.