How many of you know that Rockaway has its own radio station? You can’t find it on your AM or FM dial, but it is streamed on the internet, making it easy to tune in anytime from your computer or smartphone. And the best part? It’s run by locals supporting locals.
Rockaway Beach Broadcasting Company (RBBC) was founded earlier this year by a group of locals, as an evolution of its genesis with Rockawaves Radio. This past Monday, October 1, The Rockaway Times had the pleasure of appearing on RBBC’s Rock Box Show with Queens hip hop legend, Fury Anderson (Cee-Rock "The Fury"); interviewed by hosts, Eileen Marie Steakin, and one of RBBC's founders, Matt Preis aka Max Power, (a local music producer, widely known for his ROCK!AWAY! Music Festival).
To featuring live music from popular local bands like The Skells, to talk shows with Rockaway’s movers and shakers in the business, nonprofit and art community — according to Preis, RBBC is tapping into what makes Rockaway unique — its resiliency and creativity.
Preis said, “I moved to Rockaway in 2013, just a year after Sandy, and immediately fell in love with not just the local indie music scene, but the community’s determination to resurrect and to keep the creative vibrancy moving. So, when I first heard about Rockawaves Radio, I thought it was a great idea, especially since I had a lot of connections in the local music scene.
“The station was Tom Jodice’s baby; Alex Shenitsky got on board, then they both pulled me in, and together we grew the station.
“I’m originally from a town outside of Chicago, and my parents really got me into live music. I attended so many music festivals as a child. From jazz to blues to rock, music has always run through my veins, and obviously still remains my joy. So to be able to support local music artists not just through open mics and bar shows, but with a radio show that was all about Rockaway, was the ultimate opportunity.”
However according to Preis, with Rockawaves Radio, there were stumbling blocks. “At the time, we broadcasted out of Whit’s End’s first location on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, the now-closed Playland, and even upstairs at the Rockaway Beach Brewing Co. in Arverne. We weren’t recording the shows to archive or rebroadcast, it was just a live broadcast over the internet. So if you weren’t tuning in during the live show, you would totally miss it.
However, collectively we felt that we wanted to see the station be more a mainstay for listeners. Also, we only broadcasted on Thursdayevenings. I personally envisioned the radio station as a conduit to not only tap into Rockaway’s local music talent, but to give businesses a shining light on all Rockaway has to offer. We saw so much room for expansion, and decided that we needed to make personal investments to have more flexibility, and that was the birth of RBBC,” he said.
Today, RBBC has its own studio in Rockaway, and is equipped to do live broadcasts, that are also archived on its website.
Preis said, “RBBC radio is a great inlet for listeners, not just in Rockaway, but throughout NYC, and who knows — the world! It’s a great outlet for people to get to know about Rockaway, and what we have to offer creatively as a community.
“For example, Eileen jumped into Rockawaves Radio, in its last wave, and was a huge help in promoting the radio station, and now here she is promoting urban music with her own show, The Rock Box on RBBC. Just last week, we had R&B legend, Otis Day. Weeks before, we had wildly popular local rapper, Bobby J. Eileen has the pulse on the urban scene in Rockaway, and she’s definitely growing her audience with each show.”
As for Steakin, she is beyond stoked. “I never thought I would be hosting my own radio show. Now here I am doing it on RBBC with DJ Mimi and Finbar Devine. I thought that the station needed to also include shows promoting urban music, like rap, R&B and Spanish music. I’m 100 percent as Rockaway as you get. I was born and raised here, and grew up listening to urban music. Don’t get me wrong, rock n’ roll is cool too, but I wanted to offer listeners something I and others enjoy dancing and listening to. Learning the ropes in running a show, trial by fire, is still a journey, but with the help of Bryan and Matt, I’m not just doing it, but making it happen!” Steakin ecstatically exclaimed.
RBBC is broadcasted live on Mondays and Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. with the following shows: Mondays is urban music show, The Rock Box — hosted by Eileen Marie Steakin (aka DJ E), DJ Mimi, Max Power and Fin. Tuesdays is RBBC Radio Live, hosted by program director/social media coordinator, Bryan Doremus, and audio engineer/music director, Frisco Ganda, featuring interviews with local business owners and live sessions with local musicians. The other shows are on Wednesdays and Fridays, and sometimes prerecorded. Wednesdays is Rock!Away! Radio, a music extravaganza with interviews, hosted by Max Power and Alex S. Fridays is Rockaway Transistor Society (R.A.T.S.), with Brian serving up more music and performances. And all shows are archived so you can catch it at a later time if you missed the live version.
Preis says that RBBC plans to explore even more horizons in Rockaway. “Rockawaves Radio was a springboard, and with RBBC, we want to involve the community even more. If businesses want to join in by sponsoring with advertising, funding community projects and other ideas, we’re all for it! As a community, we can make it happen. Right now, the RBBC team is just operating out of our own pockets, but there is so much potential, and we are open to the community’s input. Presently, we are focused on longevity and consistency, and creating more outreach to artists and listeners, but we want folks to reach out and help us leverage the Rockaway community even more,” Preis said.
To hear RBBC Radio’s broadcasts, visit: www.rbbcradio.com/listen. Also, to inquire as to how you can join in on this growing radio presence in Rockaway, send them a message on Facebook or Instagram at RBBC Radio.
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