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Radio Free Detroit
Radio Free Detroit
Organizational Information
Owned By:A small group of backers
General Information
Headquarters:Downtown Detroit Wasteland
Location(s):Across Michigan
EmployeesAbout half a dozen
Historical Information
Founded:2191
Founded by:Earl Slackmongler
Industry:News, information, music, discussion and entertainment
Status:On the air
"Bringing the soul back to Detroit"
―Station motto

Radio Free Detroit is a radio station operating in the Detroit Wastes. While it has passed through several different operators over the years, as well as moving locations more than a few times, it has managed to stay on the air for nearly a century. The station provides music and news for the people of the wastes, and is run independently of any settlements or other organizations.

History

The earliest incarnation of Radio Free Detroit begins with a hobbyist by the name of Earl Slackmongler in 2191. An inhabitant of Park Lane, Slackmongler had an interest in pre-war electronics and radio in particular. After acquiring a good-sized load of salvage, Slackmongler managed to cobble together a functioning transmitter, making a few experimental broadcasts. At first, these were just random comments and efforts to see if anyone was listening, given that he had no idea if there was anyone out there capable of receiving a radio message.

To his surprise, he found that there were those listening to his broadcasts. Many of these were scavengers who were simply messing with old radios to see if they still worked, but there were those who were glad for the distraction. With this in mind, Earl began to expand his broadcasts, adding music and news to the program. Unfortunately, his nasally voice and lack of personal charisma made his programs rather dull, leading to him taking on board an announcer for the station. This only served to make the station more popular, with Earl picking up a considerable listenership inside Park Lane and even reaching other communities. Advertisers provided a stream of income to what became known as Park Lane Radio, allowing Earl to buy more equipment, hire more staff and expand their musical collection.

However, not everyone was happy about the station. In 2199, after several news stories painting him in a less than favorable light, then Mayor Josh Wheelman passed a series of laws that effectively made it impossible for the station to operate inside the community. While initially disheartened by the situation, Earl found that there were a number of people who wanted to see the station continue to operate, chiefly his sponsors who liked the business that his advertising bought in.

Working together, these backers arranged to have the company relocate to a new site, being a derelict (but still intact) radio station just outside of the Downtown district. Now equipped with a more powerful transmitter, materials from the station’s archives and a small security team (just in case), Slackmongler relaunched the station just in time for new years’ eve 2199 as Radio Free Detroit. Reportedly, Mayor Wheelman was furious at the result, with the station now being beyond his ability to control. At the same time, he remained unaware that members of his own city council were among the station’s backers.

Slackmongler remained in charge of the station until his retirement in 2231, but rarely stepped in front of the microphone. Instead, he relied on several different announcers to be the voice of Free Detroit, backed up by a growing library of pre-war music and other programs (such as radio plays). After his retirement, he passed control of the station to Tyra Wilson, his former chief newscaster, trusting her to keep the station running.

Wilson not only did that, but helped further build the station and its content. Under her management, the station expanded its collections of music and other broadcast material, while also building a new transmitter to provide greater coverage over the Detroit region. The schedule was revised, adding a number of different programs to the line-up, expanding beyond just news. Discussion programs, interviews and even a crude form of talkback radio all became regular fixtures of the station over the years, all kept afloat by advertising fees and a large degree of goodwill from various communities.

On her retirement in 2259, Tyra Wilson followed in Earl Slackmongler's footsteps by choosing her successor from among the station's staff. She emphasized that the station was about freedom of information and news, and should not be beholden to any group or individual. Radio Free Detroit was for the people of the Detroit Wasteland, something to help make their lives in the wastelands a little bit better and help them get through their lives.

However, there came a time when the station's neutrality would not so much be tested as it was flagrantly, knowingly and willingly broken. The rise of the Army of Revolution had concerned a number of the station's staff, to the degree that they had openly aided Black Skull Company in their efforts to drive the revolutionaries out of Detroit. When re revolutionaries returned, triggering the Revolutionary War, Radio Free Detroit knew that they would be targets for their past support and their reporting of events as they unfolded.

A crash contingency plan was formed, one that would allow the station to keep operating while supporting those fighting against the revolutionaries. As expected, an AoR strike force was sent directly after the Radio Free Detroit building in order to take it out. What they found was that it had been emptied out, leaving only an abandoned shell behind. Radio Free Detroit had instead relocated, and was now broadcasting from a secure bunker located well away from the Army's advance. For the duration of the campaign, they continued to report on the AoR's activities while also broadcasting news of the ongoing battles, doing their best to undermine the invaders while bolstering the spirits of those fighting against them. At the end of the conflict, Radio Free Detroit moved back to their old headquarters and resumed normal operations.

Programming

Music

Radio Free Detroit has a large collection of pre-war music covering a number of different genres and styles. This collection has been built up over time thanks to the efforts of scavengers and traders, as well as several station-funded expeditions. The station biases heavily towards music from the Detroit region and presents itself as doing its utmost to preserve the city's diverse musical history. The most commonly played styles include Jazz, Blues, R&B and Soul. There is a dedicated Gospel program during Sundays.

News

One of the principles of Radio Free Detroit is the freedom of the press and information. As such, the station's news programs are a key part of their programming. Lacking dedicated reporters and much in the way of infrastructure, the news programs are more dependent on information gathered from various sources such as traders or eyewitness accounts. While the station strives for accuracy, the lack of any actual news agencies does result in somewhat haphazard reporting and inconsistency, especially as much of what is reported comes second hand (at least). Regardless, the station's news broadcasts do keep the people of the Detroit Wastelands informed.

Discussion/Talkback

Supplementary to the news programs, the station hosts "current affairs" programming where they will interview various subjects on relevant matters. The goal of these programs is to paint a better understanding of life in the Detroit Wasteland, as well as to spread the word on new discoveries or the like. Over the years, the station has had a wide array of different guests on its shows, including (but by no means limited to) traders, politicians, mercenaries and even a few raiders. The station also has a crude talkback radio program, which is largely limited by the small number of people who have access to functional radio transmitters.

Specialty programming

Radio Free Detroit has a number of specialty programs on its schedule, covering a wide variety of topics. Amongst the current line up are:

  • Jones' Robot Hour: Robot enthusiast and technological expert R. Jones discusses all things robotics. While much of the program focuses on commonplace subjects like repair and maintenance, other subjects have included the history of robotics, in-depth discussion of various robot designs, survival tips for dealing with hostile mechanoids and other oddities, such as the strange distribution of the ACME Robotics designs.
  • Kountry Komiks: A collector of pre-war comics, Vince Morris hosts a show where he discusses comic books and magazines. While his main focus are the various Iridium Comics titles (Including characters, stories, creators, histories and the like) he also discusses comics from other publishers. While he has an extensive collection, Vince is rumored to hire scavengers to find rare comics for him.
  • Let's Get Technical: Hosted by Kass Arthur and Isaac Grell, Let's Get Technical is a "DIY Radio" show about the repair, maintenance or even disassembly of pre-war equipment and machinery. The cheerful and chatty hosts talk listeners through common problems and ways to fix them, as well as how to know when something is too far gone to save and better used for parts.
  • Guns, Guns, Guns: As expected, this program is all about firearms of various types. Hosted by Bart Twilliger, the show discusses the pros and cons of various guns, as well as maintenance, repairs and various tips and techniques. While knowledgeable, Twilliger is also rather opinionated, and tends to go off on lengthy, rambling digressions about subjects that are only marginally connected to the discussion.

Notable Staff

Missy T

The current chief "disk jockey" of the station, Missy T has held the job for the last ten years and shows no signs of slowing down. She genuinely enjoys her work, having a strong passion for music and especially the musical history of Detroit. She is also rather knowledgeable of the subject, and will gladly explain the background of any piece of music or song that she plays (Although she usually sticks to just simply short introductions). Missy's upbeat tone and enthusiasm has made her popular with listeners, and that popularity shows no signs of waning. Some have suggested that she might be the next to take over the station when the current management retires.

Brian Hambone

The voice of Detroit Free Radio News, Brian Hambone is a respected presenter with decades of experience. He is best known for his steady and calm presentation, ensuring that the news is presented as clearly as possible in an informative manner. Brian also serves as an editor of sorts, sifting through the piles of gathered material to find the more credible stories rather than those that are wild speculation or hearsay. While pleasant enough, Brian also has a reputation for being a bit bland and having no life beyond the station.

This has been written by KayEmm. Please contact this user before editing this article.