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Remote Rap Sessions – Outlaws of the Airwaves: The Rise of Pirate Radio Station WBAD

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 @ 11:00 am 12:00 pm

Register for the Zoom discussion.

The selection for the sixth session of TRLN’s Remote Rap Sessions will be about the Lost Notes podcast episode Outlaws of the Airwaves: The Rise of Pirate Radio Station WBAD (26 minutes). Registration helps with our planning and is much appreciated. You can register before and during the discussion and will receive the meeting link as soon as you register.

Pirate radio blew up in the 1990s as the technology became more affordable, and easy internet access wasn’t quite yet a thing. Underground, unregulated radio stations became some of the best places to hear local music. WBAD in New York was among the most beloved. They played unsanitized hip-hop, most of which wasn’t being touched by mainstream hip-hop radio. And no one knew that all this was being delivered to them by their friendly neighborhood UPS driver. Once the nightly news came calling though, everything changed.

Joining us as co-facilitators of this session will be Michael Shoffner, adjunct faculty member of UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science and senior research software architect in the Data Sciences Group at Renaissance Computing Institute. Shoffner led the world’s first online radio station simulcast through what is now and WXYC; Kyesha Jennings, Hip Hop Scholar, Lecturer, and Faculty Mentor, NC State University; DeeJay Samps, CEO, A&R, and manager of Street Flava Entertainment and host of the Street Flava Mixshow on WXDU; and Aaron Smithers, Special Collections Research and Instructional Services Librarian, UNC Chapel Hill.

Suggested Discussion Questions:

  • What’s one thing you found interesting about the episode?
  • What are some ways we can encourage people to think about the importance of archiving outside of the academy/academia? In other words, how can we make personal archiving valuable to people?
  • Do you have any examples of archival work in your own personal life?
  • “Anchored in the birthplace of the culture, the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx celebrates and preserves the history of local and global Hip Hop to inspire, empower, and promote understanding.” What kinds of understanding would be lost or overlooked without such a museum? How do or could our libraries/consortium work to “inspire, empower, and promote understanding”?

Shared Resources:

Shared playlists:

Please reach out to if you have any questions. We hope you can join us!

McKenna Lakin