The Revolution might not be televised, but it is blasting nonstop through the airwaves, pumping an infectious and continuous beat from the northern Keys all the way to southern West Palm Beach.
"A lot of stations have tried to bring EDM, or an electronic dance music format, to Miami, but they didn't do it right," says Ubi Hernandez, music director and head of artist relations at 93.5's Revolution Radio. He began as an intern with the station when it was Clear Channel's Evolution Radio, Y-100's EDM spinoff. It played a lot of Top 40 dance, but despite listeners' love of Calvin Harris, the station wasn't doing so hot, so it was sold.
Enter Marco Mazzoli, a successful Italian radio host described by Hernandez as a mix between Ryan Seacrest and Howard Stern. Having recently moved to Miami, Mazzoli saw the lackluster station as an opportunity. He bought it, moved the studio to the heart of Wynwood, applied his expertise, and hired 11 dedicated music fans to run the station their way.
"We make it a point to dive further into the crates," Hernandez says. "[We] bring out these artists that are playing at our venues that have a lot of fans in Miami that are not getting the airplay with any other station around the world."
Revolution is apt to play the B-sides, the lesser-known remixes, the one-off singles from label compilations that otherwise might go unnoticed. It's an independent station, which means it doesn't adhere to any national Clear Channel must-play-this-song-once-an-hour format. The team is made of lifelong dance music fanatics. With a no-bullshit mindset, they sit down and create thoughtful playlists for each day. Mornings and workdays are for high-octane, get-up-and-go anthems. The twilight hour gets a littler darker, a little deeper. The middle of the night is all about the dance floor.
Revolution may be Hernandez's first job in radio, but he has years of experience in the nightlife game, and he leverages existing relationships with nightclubs to secure weekly ticket giveaways and guest artist interviews. It's great for the station when DJs such as A-Trak and John Digweed come through the studio for a chat, and local clubs love the chance to reach their audience directly.
"If everybody is winning," Hernandez says, "it's a good thing for the city."
It takes a team of dedicated men and women to run a station, but on air, you would be most familiar with the voices of DJ Grimm, Urban Brainchild, and Hannah, AKA the hosts of Morning Madhouse, Revolution's pride in-house programming. These are the wild personalities interviewing everyone from Tiesto to Calvin Harris to Nicole Moudaber and Mannie Fresh. When EDC Orlando hired Revolution as their official radio partner, these guys drove four hours north and compiled weeks of fresh content for South Florida. Ultra also recently chose Revolution as its official Miami radio partner, giving the station dibs on artist interviews and ticket giveaways.
Revolution also proudly airs prerecorded shows and mixes from some of the most critically acclaimed and internationally popular DJs on the scene. As midnight turns Sunday to Monday, Adam Beyer's Drumcode takes over. Techno queen Nicole Moudaber rules Monday mornings. Robbie Rivera hosts Juicy Miami every Tuesday at 8 p.m. Don Diablo, Digweed, Bob Sinclar, Laidback Luke, and others have contributed to the station as well.
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"It's not that easy just to go to these artists and say, 'Hey, we want to play your show on here,'?" Hernandez says. "When they decide to put their brand through our airwaves, they have to be sure we're going to put out a good product with a good sound and that they're going to have listenership. At the end of the day, they want people to hear their music."
Not that Revolution goes after only heavy out-of-towners. An hour block is carved out every Monday through Thursday at 11 p.m. for strictly local DJs to do their thing. The station welcomes submissions from anyone in the area, and Hernandez promises, no matter how backlogged they may be, he and his associates listen to every single demo they receive.
"We're a small family in here, but we believe that everybody who listens to our station is part of our family," he says. "We don't want to be like anybody else. We don't want to play Top 40. We want people asking us, 'Why are you doing it this way?' Because it makes us feel good. We're different."