It’s a pretty cool thing, firing up the local internet radio broadcast as the coffee’s brewing and hearing the Nathan Gillis-penned “Train Whistle Blowin” from Ashtōnz’ live “A Date With Density” CD (with fiddle provided by our friend Michelle Edwards of WireWood Station) blasting my personal webspace. This is exactly what happened the other day thanks to the folks at Tri Lakes Radio, headquartered in downtown Monument. Having learned from the movies exactly what to do in this situation, I ran outside in my underwear and screamed “We’re on the radio!” — the significance of which was apparently lost on the crowd (two crows and a jackrabbit) hanging around the Gwillimville cabin on that particular morning.
The downtown MoTown-based web radio station was founded in 2015 by former Monument Computer Services owner Mike Bailey and the transplanted California media-monger Tony Archer. “It was a very humble beginning,” says Bailey, who hosts TLR’s weekday morning show with Archer. “Six bands, 12 songs, plus news and traffic from the CDOT feed — our listening audience consisted of my dad and Tony’s grandma,” Bailey says with a laugh. “That’s only a slight understatement … on air it was me in the morning and Tony in the afternoon, then we picked up the Colorado Phil show and Tim Board brought his weekly Front Range Radio program to us soon after that. I was committed to filling the media void I saw in this community; the Springs radio stations, both on-air and internet, didn’t have any local relevance or presence and that’s why we’re here.”
The current lineup includes seven on-air hosts and a variety of shows both local and syndicated, along with a rotation of over 50,000 songs from 4,000 artists representing 70-plus countries. “You’ll hear music from all the great artists happening around here, plus a variety of bands and genres from around the world,” says program director Jimmy “Beast” Siler, who also hosts “Nights with Beast” from 5 to 9 .p.m Monday through Friday. “Our universe is expanding all the time, and the biggest challenge is staying on top of the technology and the rules of the internet game,” Siler adds.
Listening to the TLR web-stream late one recent night, I caught a tasty mix of indie-type music and promos from an impressive assortment of advertisers from around the region, including spots from local sponsor-businesses. “They’re what keep the lights on and the station-stream flowing,” says Bailey. “I’m very proud of our relationship with our sponsors, and we’re in this thing together.” Tri-Lakes area sponsors include Game City, Eagle Engraving, 3 Hundred Days of Shine, JJ Tracks Tire and Auto, Cork and Bottle Liquors, Main Street Brokers and Monument Auto Clinic.
Home-grown weekly highlights include “Brews and Beats,” a live in-studio show aired on Friday mornings and featuring the consumption-in-moderation, comparison and discussion of two different local brews along with live music from a different band/artist each week. B&B musical guests have included Go Go Girlzilla, Dave Mensch, Kiera Lynn, Joe Johnson, Alyssa Ruffin, Dave Arvizu and the aforementioned Ashtōnz, who’ll be featured guests for the June 2 installment of Tim Board’s Front Range Radio show airing live at 7 p.m.) TLR sponsor Eric Merrell and his Whistle Pig Brewery in Colorado Springs have been regular participants, and Brews and Beats served up a special remote broadcast last week from 3 Hundred Days of Shine in Monument, with our friends at Eighty3 as musical guests.
“We’re adding shows on a regular basis, and don’t have to go out scrounging for music anymore — bands are coming to us these days, and there’s a lot of good stuff out there,” Bailey says. “It’s a great growth path we’re on, from 5,000 listeners a month after our first year to over 50,000 a month today. We’ve got a solid team and we’ve only just begun (to borrow from Karen Carpenter) … we spend a lot of time studying media trends and where the technology is heading, and everything points to the internet where radio is concerned. This is also a great community to be a part of, and to provide a local voice for.” You can find this bunch of rabble-rousers at trilakesradio.com or stop by the station at 66 Second St., in Monument (roll in there unannounced, just for giggles; you may catch them in their underwear, too!)
Charlie Searle has lived in Monument since 1994 and is active in a variety of pursuits in the Tri-Lakes area, as his tagline “Meat, Motors, Music, Media” attests. Contact Charlie at AlongTheDivide@pikespeaknewspapers.com.