Fantastic Negrito performs with his band at AIR Media’s “Localore” block party on June 6, 2015, in Oakland, Calif.
Photo: Liz Mak/AIR
AIR Media, an international network of independent radio and TV media makers, launched its “Localore: Finding America” competition on June 6 with a block party near Oakland, Calif.’s Jack London waterfront, headlined by NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest–winner Fantastic Negrito. Finding America invites independent film and audio creators to compete for a chance to be paired with pros from radio stations and TV channels, to create a collaborative project. The idea is to give creators the resources to fulfill their creative promise as well as find their audience.
Fittingly, the launch was a grassroots event, with San Francisco Bay Area public radio stations KQED and KALW represented, as well as local filmmakers the Kitchen Sisters and more. More than 40 local media producers came to learn more about the program, along with the hundreds of music lovers and Oakland neighbors, who turned out to hear Fantastic Negrito’s powerful urban soul at the free event.
Sound reinforcement was provided by Nikki Stephens’ Ektek Sound. Stephens operates her own rig, serving Bay Area performers, clubs and houses of worship. Her inventory includes the Allen & Heath GL2400 mixing board used on this event, as well as a QSC K Series loudspeaker system, and a complement of Mackie SRM450 and JBL EON 12-inch stage monitors.
Stephens says her only concern setting up for the street party was having enough power. “We were happy when the guy with the generator looked at my system and said, ‘I have a K Series system as well, and they run very efficiently. You shouldn’t have any problems.’ That was our only concern, because of course the band also comes with their amps and musical equipment as well.”
Following a superb inaugural show, AIR was set to accept submissions through June 26, to be chosen by advisors from various media. Fifteen winning teams will receive a monthly stipend for several months, funds to hire further collaborators, and additional support.
“Over the next year, we’ll incubate new work in cities across the country,” says Sue Schardt, executive director at AIR “We will work on the street corners and spread across communities, and we’ll look back on the experience we created on the streets of Oakland and say, ‘Look how we’ve grown and spread!’