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40 Watts from Nowhere: A Journey Into Pirate Radioby Sue Carpenter
Synopses & Reviews
When law office receptionist Sue Carpenter first asked how she might start her own radio station, everyone laughed. Getting on the air (legitimately) in San Francisco was a multimillion-dollar ambition. But in 1995, with the help of a few subversive techies and pirate-radio gurus, Sue built her first transmitter in her hilltop San Francisco apartment and launched KPBJ, enlisting friends as DJs. A few months later, Sue landed a magazine job in Los Angeles, took her transmitter with her, and established KBLT.
From these humble beginnings KBLT emerged as one of L.A.'s best-loved radio stations, staffed with more than a hundred DJs and supported by major music labels eager to reach a different kind of audience. The station expanded its playlist from indie rock to an eclectic mix of jazz, hip-hop, electronica, and countless other styles. In the three and a half years before the FCC finally caught up with Sue, KBLT went from interviewing unknowns to hosting live performances by the Red Hot Chili Peppers — without ever leaving Sue's apartment.
40 Watts from Nowhere is Sue's frank and hilarious account of her bizarre double life during the height of California's pirate-radio boom: journalist by day, counterculture icon by night. It's an amazing true story, one that will instantly appeal to music fans — and free spirits — everywhere.
"Carpenter has penned an endearing if flawed memoir about running a pirate radio station out of her Los Angeles apartment for three years...[H]er frank, often funny narrative is easily absorbed, and the story's a good one." Publishers Weekly
"[A] credible mate to On the Road and the Fear and Loathing books in the ranks of insurgent outsiderdom." Booklist
The remarkable story of a young woman's underdog adventure in the wild world of pirate radio — a perfectly timed antidote to the attacks on free speech now and an insight into the meltdown of the music industry.
About the Author
Sue Carpenter is currently a feature writer for the Los Angeles Times and a senior contributor to Jane magazine. Her writing has also appeared in such publications as George, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Los Angeles.
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