HOW ONE STATION PUT SOME SERIOUS FUNK IN THE WORLD’S TRUNK
by RM Girard
The Idea Paul Bear and Frank Milan had already tried it once before. Earlier in the decade they’d attempted to acquire a radio frequency to supply Tucson, Arizona with what it previously lacked: a community music and information radio station that didn’t target a particular demographic or answer to market concerns; an alternative broadcast outlet the likes of which the desert had never seen; an option for desert-rats and cactus-dwellers amid a vapid glut of commercial FM and AM stations across the nation. In a word, a choice.
The FCC wouldn’t allocate a frequency though. Potential problems with bleed-through from Tucson’s PBS television station and from stations in Mexico, and a lack of funding, hampered the duo’s early efforts to acquire the band they needed.
Then in 1976, a fortuitous circumstance brought Paul together with Roger Greer in La Caverna, a Nogales restatuaurant/bar. Both experienced radio-men soon discovered they had a common interest: music. They also shared a frustration with commercial radio. Radio was a powerful tool, they thought, and it simply wasn’t serving the community-at-large as it existed then (and still, lamentable, does). Paul introduced Roger to Frank, and the dream of community radio for Tucson was reborn.