By Dan Haag
Ask a hundred people what retirement means to them and you’ll likely get a hundred answers: travel plans, gatherings with family and friends, and catching up on some reading to name just a few.
Or, as is the case with Manzanita’s Gary McIntosh, it’s a chance to dive into a new project.
Enter Manzanita Radio, a music and local news internet radio station that is gradually evolving from McIntosh’s retirement pastime to full-time gig.
Before this year, McIntosh’s experience with radio station operations didn’t go beyond being an on-air interviewee.
McIntosh, former State Elections Director for Washington state, had been having an ongoing conversation with a friend about creating an internet station focusing solely on the Manzanita-Nehalem area.
As the idea gained steam, McIntosh realized that the venture had broad possibilities.
“There’s a lot of interesting people living here,” McIntosh says. “We’ve got actors and actresses, authors, World War Two veterans, a lot of different people who make up this community.”
Plus, he adds, the wide variety of local events means something worth talking about is always happening.
Housed in his condo unit above T-Spot on Laneda Avenue in Manzanita, McIntosh works out of what he calls “Studio A” – a spare bedroom with a small desk that holds a computer, soundboard, and two microphones.
“We haven’t gotten big enough for a Studio B yet,” he says.
There’s also a “Traffic Observation Deck” (a small window facing east up Laneda) and “The Weather Deck” (an outdoor deck attached to Studio A).
Traffic reports often consist of letting listeners know where the garbage truck is, when delivery trucks are parked at Little Red Apple, and if the nearby winery construction is blocking Laneda.
“Listeners love the traffic report – ‘Traffic is light in and out of the city, east bound and west bound,’” McIntosh says with a laugh.
Weather reports only require a quick glance out the Studio A window.
“There’s other things people want to know, like what restaurants are open on a Tuesday, things like that,” McIntosh says.
Of course, there’s also a variety of music programs and event announcements, including applicable links.
The broadcast equipment came from McIntosh’s son, who gathered together the various components for his dad. Local tech expert Tim Garvin helped set up the necessary software.
Music is streamed from McIntosh’s I-Tunes collection through a platform that handles necessary licensing fees and advertising, a process McIntosh admits was much more convoluted than he expected.
“Internet radio is in a bit of a flux with a lot of the various platforms going out of business or being purchased by other companies,” he says.
Manzanita Radio has only been on the air roughly three weeks and already McIntosh is looking for ways to expand the station’s accessibility: namely, expanding on-air hours and adding the ability to have the station mobile.
For now, scheduling and travel prevent twenty-four/seven broadcasting, but certain days are set aside for certain music programs: funk music on Mondays, blues on Tuesdays, Latin music on Wednesdays and so on.
“We play it by ear on the weekends but people really seem to like jazz,” McIntosh says.
Manzanita Radio has the capability of conducting interviews – either live or recorded – and McIntosh looks forward to being on hand at events like the Manzanita Farmer’s Market and the Manzanita Music Festival.
While listener numbers are still small, McIntosh says he’s not highly promoting the station quite yet as he tinkers to perfect its on-air schedule and assorted technical issues.
Still, folks from as far away as Texas and Arizona have begun to tune in, a hopeful sign of things to come.
“People like me, who can’t be here all the time, want to find out what’s going on in the city they miss,” he says. “If you have internet access anywhere in the world, you can find out what’s happening in Manzanita.”
Manzanita Radio can be found at www.manzanitaradio.com