Radio has taken a new wave, literally going mobile.
Dylan Stevens-Sheriff, Parker Jennings and Seth Grant put together a broadcast tricycle. The inspiration came from their Broadcast Arts class. Stevens-Sheriff, a junior in studio arts, was a contributor in creating the tricycle.
“We started planning around the beginning of this semester,” he said. “It’s taken a couple months to get things together. Our goal with it is to show people that it is easy and inexpensive to create your own radio station. We want to encourage public access and participation with the medium of broadcast.”
The tricycle is equipped with a fully-functional radio station. It is composed of a mixing board, an FM transmitter, an antenna and two microphones. The radio is powered by a car battery, Stevens-Sheriff said. The transmitter is a one-watt, which is just below the legal limit. It covers a quarter to a half-mile radius around the tricycle. Grant and Jennings constructed the bike.
“We take it around and travel through the city,” Stevens-Sheriff said. “We’re going to take it through Santa Fe. We took it to the Peace Fair and have taken it around the University.”
In March, the group submitted a proposal to the Prix Ars Festival in Austria. The festival is hosted by the Ars Electronica School. The proposal was to build more tricycles that would be shipped to different locations around the globe. The tricycles would be used to
travel around and encourage community participation, Stevens-Sheriff said.
“The proposal was called Global Nomadic Radio Dialogue. The people who would receive the bikes can use the mobile radio to interact with others and create a live broadcast,” Stevens-Sheriff said. “One example of the community participation is we rode the bike around and found a band performing on the street. We just had the band play into our microphones and it was broadcasted on our radio.”
Stevens-Sheriff said, if the “mobile radio” wins the festival, Grant, Stevens-Sheriff and Parker will receive a $10,000 budget to build the tricycles, and a three-month residency in Austria. They will get the results in May. The trio is also hoping to get a sponsorship to help fund their tricycles. They hope to get the tricycle to run on solar power.
“Everyone seems really excited when they see the bike,” he said. “We get a few mixed reactions when it comes to participating. Some people don’t want to be around the microphones, but most people like to get on (the) air. There are a few people who treat it really personally and just talk about what’s important to them. Other people have conversations with us and have questions about what we’re doing.”
Grant, Jennings and Stevens-Sheriff also worked on a project called The Subculture Artist Collective. It’s a project that features cutting-edge music and electronic art. The project is featured at Black Market Goods every last Saturday of the month. Their tricycle was part of the show twice, including last Saturday.
“The most rewarding part has been seeing people have fun with it,” Stevens-Sheriff said. “It’s cool to see what people do when they have the opportunity. I think TV and radio broadcasting seem like mediums that are off limits to the public. Most people don’t think that they can set up a radio station when they want, and the truth is, they can. It is easy to do. This is a prime example of how compact and easy it is to operate your own radio station. With this bike, participants can use it to interact with others and create a live broadcast.”