Founder and Production
Director, Radio Memphis
When Ric Chetter walked out the door of his last on-air gig in 2011, he thought his career in radio was over. Chetter spent the past 14 years working in corporate radio, several of which were alongside renowned local personality John “Bad Dog” McCormack. Within a week of Bad Dog’s untimely passing to Leukemia in early 2011 and amid a station-wideshakeup, Chetter suddenly found himself out of a job.
“I sat around a long time thinking ‘What am I gonna do now?’” he says. “Was I done with radio? It was a little late for a career change unless I felt like opening a bait shop. I thought on it for a while and then I decided ‘Let’s put radio where it’s supposed to be.’” That place was the Internet. While Chetter’s plan for an Internet-based radio station wasn’t the first of its kind, it would be the first for the area. Radio Memphis broadcast its first live signal just a with a heavy emphasis on Mid-South musicians from Nashville to Little Rock in mid 2011.
“We keep some stuff from the ‘80s and ‘90s in there for sure, but I like to keep a lot of the new, cutting-edge stuff in as well,” Chetter says of the 828 songs currently in rotation, many of which simply can’t be heard on terrestrial radio.
And it’s not just Mid-South artists that find a home on Radio Memphis. Chetter regularly gets submissions from bands as far away as California.
“There was a time in music history when you could walk into almost any radio station with a demo and get on the air,” he says. “Times have changed, but we try to recapture a little bit of that.”
Now in its 6th year of operation, the Jolly Roger symbol has become somewhat emblematic for Chetter’s new-age pirate radio station.
“Part of the spirit behind this came from things like Radio Caroline in the ‘50s and ’60s out there broadcasting from the North Sea,” he says. “These guys were literally pirates. They had a ship and a transmitter, and they were pumping this modern music out to England and Northern Europe because the BBC wouldn’t play it. Of course, it’s a little different for us. No one is out there regulating the Internet yet, thank God.”
Radio Memphis can be heard 24 hours a day through radio-memphis.com or its companion app. A submission form for local artists can be found on the Radio Memphis website.