LauriRadio: Putting The Fem Back In FM
Updated: Nov 15, 2022
For those unfamiliar, who is Lauri and what is LauriRadio?
LauriRadio is a station I (Lauri Pearson) created after a lightning bolt moment a couple of years ago. LauriRadio is "the first all-female* radio station." *inclusive of LGBTQ & Non-Binary. A couple of years ago, a Radio/record label buddy of mine told me a local station had changed format. That's always of interest to Radio peeps. I tuned in and they were playing Ariana Grande. "Nothin' new here..." I said out loud. Then they played Billie Eilish. Same. Nothin' new. While the Billie tune played, I drove along, trying to figure out what the heck had changed. I'll never forget where I was when it hit me (35 access road at Riverside). "It's an all-female radio station!" I got chills up and down my arms and lost my mind for a minute. Then, they played Maroon 5. To say I was deflated was an understatement. And, update- they didn't change the format, just the name of the station. But I knew something had to be done with this concept. Which is exactly how LauriRadio started- as a concept. The further along I got, the more I was told it wouldn't work, in the most condescending of ways. Interesting, right? Thankfully I DID have a couple golden Radio friends who loaned tremendous help and encouragement, and shared their experience and contacts for me to forge ahead. I had to build this sucker from scratch. Let me tell you- I used to worry someone else was gonna come along and take the idea before I got up and running. That makes me laugh now. The barrier to entry on running your own station is mountainous. There were so many times I wanted to give up- I was so discouraged and hit so many roadblocks along the way. But truly, I had such a clear vision of this, I knew I had to be the one who saw it through.
Tell us about putting the "Fem back in FM" and "Zero Crybaby Songs".
"The Fem back in FM": At my very first job in Radio, the Program Director informed me, "we don't play more than one female artist in a row or more than a couple an hour because the listener can't tell them apart." This was the 90's, but not enough has changed. I guarantee current commercial stations have the same separation rules in place. On LauriRadio, you'll hear Rock, Alt, Punk, Surf, along with all-fem comedians, TV & movie clips and inspo. I also schedule one OG Diva tune an hour, to honor the shoulders we stand on today. The LauriRadio library houses thousands of songs and hundreds of artists, with People of Color, International artists, and the LGBTQ/NB community represented. There's also special programing throughout the day and week, artist features, etc. There is so much good music out there, and my criteria has nothing to do with how many followers you have or if you're signed to a label. I've worked at major labels. They aren't all they crack themselves up to be. Artists need to be heard by their core audience, and their core audience desperately needs to hear them.
"Zero Crybaby Songs": When I started compiling tunes for the station (one by one) I decided early on that the music on LauriRadio would come from a place of confidence and strength. If you want to hear an "If you leave me, I'll die" song, you'll have to listen to another station.
Joan Jett plays at the top of every hour?
In 1982, I heard I Love Rock and Roll for the first time, and it changed my awareness of what women were "supposed to sound like," and subsequently it changed my life. I play Joan Jett & the Blackhearts or a Runaways song at the top of every hour to honor the way she paved, plus, you can never hear too much Joan Jett.
Is Monday through Friday from 10 - 7 and Saturday & Sunday from Noon - 7pm still your current programming schedule?
LauriRadio broadcasts 24/7, 365, non-stop. The above-mentioned hours are the hours I'll do breaks- tell you a little about what's playing and what's coming up; artist facts, tours, anecdotes, things like that.
What are the daily programming highlights of each day?
The station recently wrapped up two huge interview series: Thommy Tuesday & Fea Friday. Thommy Price is a rock star among rock stars, and one of Rock's greatest drummers. He's recorded, played and toured with so many of the LauriRadio artists- Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, Patty Smyth & Scandal, Wanda Jackson, Ronnie Spector, Fea- in addition to Billy Idol, Ron Wood, Blue Oyster Cult, Michael Monroe, Roger Daltrey, Ric Ocasek, and too many others to list here. His discography reads like a rockumentary. Fea is San Antonio's greatest Chicana Punk band, and they've been honored and recognized by everyone from Iggy Pop to NPR, and been produced by Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!) Lori Barbero (Babes In Toyland). They're a powerhouse group of total chingonas with hearts of gold. They're on tour with L7 right now!
Currently, there are little surprises sprinkled throughout the day to make you laugh & think. On Wicked Wednesdays through Halloween, Metal goddess Militia Vox reads Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven at 1 & 6P CST. On Fridays & Saturdays at 6p CST it's the Bloody Ripper Radio Show, a full hour of all-Australian Punk & Alt curated by our Australian friend, Sab. Sunday mornings at 9 CST is the Rebel Girl Reset, :60 of chill tunes for deep breaths and blank stares- because even Rebel Girls need a reset. Then, it's back to the anthems, battle cries and rally cries! At Noon CST on Sundays, Janelle Monae's 17-minute anthem, Say Her Name airs. This song honors the Black women and girls, ages 7-93 who have been murdered by US police officers.
I have a lot of Australian friends on Instagram these days. What should they know about your Bloody Ripper Radio Show?
For various reasons outside of my control, the stream for LauriRadio.com is unavailable in Australia. Sab crafted a way to run it 24/7 on her site, and now any Aussie can listen anytime (click here). On any given day, there are more AU listeners than US listeners. It's crazy! Sab and I met on IG and had a Zoom call one day where we decided to do the Bloody Ripper Radio show (a name she came up with of course). It's been a huge endeavor, and so exciting to give those amazing Aussie artists the exposure to international listeners on a radio format- and of course, do the important work of giving the listeners new music they might not otherwise have heard. The Bloody Ripper Radio Show is gritty and raw and will melt your face off, if that's what you're into.
I saw that you're involved with a lot of amazing things in the Austin community like Out Youth and nationally like The Trevor Project. What should we know about them and how can we get involved?
On this one, honestly, I put links of the sites I feel provide the greatest service to the LGBTQ community. If a young person looking for support happens on the station and needs support or resources, I wanted them to have a safe place to access that information.
What can you tell us about EqualizeHer, Horizon Music Foundation, and We Are Moving The Needle?
All three, same as above, but for the Fem population specifically. If a person is inspired by an artist they hear on LauriRadio.com and want to pick up a guitar, or if they wonder if they do, they'll just be playing into a void, I want them to know there is a community at their fingertips. Same for the music business. If someone wants to manage a band or produce music, or learn sound engineering, they have a resource- resources run by people who want to see them succeed. That's huge.
You're also involved with Femme Rock and Girl Guitar Austin? Do you ever sleep, Lauri?
(same as above). I have met or corresponded with the people heading most of these organizations, and they are heart and soul bad asses, inspired the same passion I am- to blast it from the rooftops.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
LauriRadio is not a she-rah station, there's nothing to prove, and no chip on the shoulder. It's a place to celebrate the bad assery all in one place. My hope is that you leave feeling better than when you first tuned in, you get a boost, a lift, a reminder of your own power.
LauriRadio is not a playlist or a stagnant audio file. The station is programmed daily, by hand and streams live 24/7. I use Music Master scheduling software (an industry standard), but every hour of every day gets a comb-through for flow and content, making sure the overall vibe is consistent. I like to keep it fresh and relevant, and love to sync up a funny comedy bit with a corresponding song that sort of answers to the comedy bit, for example. Whether anyone notices they notice or not- I am not sure. But there's always something significant and vital about a human touch in music. It matters.
Thanks for taking the time to share your world with us!
Thank you so very much for reaching out to find out more about the station. It's truly a labor of love!