Local Music

Miami Radio Station Shake 108 Might Get Shut Down After Failed FCC Inspection

“It’s all my fault,” Peter Stebbins, founder and president of the nonprofit local radio station Shake 108 (107.9 FM), tells New Times. He launched his humble radio station less than two years ago, but now the beloved frequency faces a government-mandated obstacle. “The FCC recently did an inspection of our station and saw our equipment didn’t have FCC certification.”

Without a new FM transmitter and an Emergency Broadcast System decoder that have the FCC seal of approval, Stebbins fears the station could be shut down temporarily. But rather than mope around and pray the $5,000 needed to pay for the equipment falls out of the sky, Stebbins and the rest of the gang at Shake 108 have decided to throw a party. “People had been bugging us to throw a festival for a while. We decided we better do it before the FCC shuts us down.”

“A lot of people are coming together to save this little station.”

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Thus the inaugural Shake 108 FM Music & Comedy Festival was born. It will be held next Saturday, May 21, at the Wynwood Yard, with musicians, comedians, artists, and businesses coming together to keep Shake 108’s signal going strong. “Wynwood Yard charged us nothing since they like the station and we broadcast our weekly reggae show there. All the bands, like Bachaco, SunGhosts, and Agave Blue, as well as DJs like Le Spam and El Abstrakto, offered to play for free.”

Given the event’s limited overhead, Stebbins hopes attendees will be generous enough to support the station. “We’re asking for a $10 donation. If you buy a ticket ahead of time at gofundme.com/shake108, you are guaranteed admission. We can only fit 1,000 people, so if we’re not sold out, we’ll let people in asking that they give whatever they can.”

Besides booking the music, Stebbins has lined up ten comedians to work the crowds with a cordless mike between sets. There will also be fire dancers, graffiti artists producing live art, and Miami’s local derby team, the Vice City Rollers, skating around Wynwood to promote the event.

With proper funding, Stebbins hopes to add to his station’s Miami-centric slate of programming, which already features The Local Love Show and the Kulcha Shok reggae show, hosted by Lance O. “Thursday nights, El Abstrakto, who a couple years ago won the world DJ scratching contest, is going to have a show focused on scratching and the Miami bass scene. We’re talking with the singer of Afrobeta, Cuci Amador, about either cohosting our local music show or having her own show since she had one on an internet station before. We’re also hoping to finally get Freddie at 5 going.” That last one would be a comedy show Stebbins has been talking about for months that his brother, comedian Freddie Stebbins, would host every afternoon as a different character. “One day he might be a Puerto Rican astrologer, the next day a drunk English DJ.”

In conversation, it’s evident Stebbins has no shortage of enthusiasm, but he has also — as he’s the first to admit — made the mistakes of a newbie. “The current transmitter was produced in China, and we bought it off eBay. We thought it was good, but we’re based in the Roads, and all the buildings in downtown block us from Miami Beach even though it should be in our range. We’re hoping a new transmitter will give us more reach and better sound quality. This is all a learning process. We don’t want to shut down — even if it’s temporary — and a lot of people are coming together to save this little station.”

Shake 108 Music & Comedy Festival with DJ Le Spam, Tom Laroc, SunGhosts, Agave Blue, and others. 4 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Wynwood Yard, 56 NW 29th St., Miami; thewynwoodyard.com. Tickets cost $10 via gofundme.com/shake108.
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David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland