Outer Banks Radio
Radio Free Outer Banks
This is a year of choices and changes. Each day begins with the choice to get out of bed and face another today or let the covers quickly absorb you back into your mattress like the tide absorbs the shore. Some of us commit to seizing a successful life by the throat every morning, squeezing its essence into ourselves as fuel for our spirit. These last few years, and, especially lately, with our hibernation from the pandemic, have created an emphasis on self-entertainment. We, as a populace, listen to things differently. In the past, it was AM radio. Then FM came along.Now it is something different altogether and Greg Smrdel answered this call with creativity and variety, Outer Banks Radio!
On March 16th, he and his partner Jennifer Shenberger unveiled their creation, Radio Free Outer Banks, an internet-based radio station available to all. It can be found at RadioFreeOBX.com (there are even free iOS and Android apps, and can be played on Google Play and Alexa too).
“Yeah, I’m not sure how all that technology stuff works,” Smrdel laughs. It just seems like magic to me that I can tell a machine to play a station, and then it does!”
Radio Free Outer Banks plays a collection of beach music, classic rock, some country, and many local artists to keep you in an “Outer Banks state of mind, 24/7, 365 days a year.” The radio station also reports positive, local news, and the weather. It is also supportive of local businesses, having provided free ads on their Small Business Mondays, so local businesses still open during COVID-19 could get the word out without having to spend any money doing it.
Smrdel explains, “Internet radio is similar to satellite radio, but it’s the wave of the future.”
Internet radio is free, and it’s available to everyone, everywhere. Smrdel elaborates, “Right now we are being played in many places here like Downtown Books, Bayside Auto, the Outer Banks Salt Cave, the deck at Mulligan’s, and others. Many OBX vacationers from Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and others have found us, and can have a bit of the Outer Banks in their kitchen or even on the phone in their pocket. In May alone, we had over 80,000 listens!
We have listeners in Italy, Argentina, Canada, and even Texas.” he chuckled. Smrdel continued, “I actually talked to one of the listeners in Germany earlier this month. She said they live in Germany, but have friends in Richmond. When they visit, they love to spend a weekend on the Outer Banks. One day she was Googling stuff on the OBX, because she missed it, and found our station. Now they listen to Radio Free Outer Banks every single day.” The Internet does indeed make local citizens of us all.
Internet Radio is not the only change in what we listen to. Podcasts have become equally as popular. Maybe more so. In late 2019 and early 2020, again with partner Jennifer Shenberger, Smrdel rolled out a double-barrel dose of Twenty-first Century communications with “Positively Outer Banks” Facebook page (members only) and a podcast of the same name. True to its name, the Facebook page’s rules are simple and clear: be kind, common sense, no complaining, nothing political, and, again, be kind. Membership has continuously grown to over 3,700 Outer Banks fans, and provides a daily fix of your favorite vacation get-away, emphasis on “positive.” Many members love posting their favorite photos of their OBX experiences. It just makes you smile and take a deep breath.
Positively Outer Banks
The podcast, “Positively Outer Banks” is about all things Outer Banks. Funny how that works out. “Those who have visited or live on these barrier islands on the North Carolina coast know how special a place this is.” The podcast features “business owners, historians, authors, real estate experts, locals, and visitors.” Every week or so, Greg Smrdel and partner, Jennifer Shenberger conduct discussions about “special places to visit, special places to see, and special events that happen on the OBX.” Nine episodes are currently available with more in the works. Admittedly, the podcast has “been put onto the back burner because the radio station has taken much more of my time than expected,” said Smrdel. “But it is coming back real soon!” Both hosts are also stand-up comedians, so this podcast is definitely entertaining as well as informative.
In a recent, very unscientific study conducted through Facebook, when it comes to podcasts, we as a people are all over the place. Some listen to music podcasts, some to sports, other to business and news, and yet some listen to very niche-y subjects. Things like sewing and weird history. But it seems the King of all Podcasts still commands a healthy listenership. He being Joe Rogan of the Joe Rogan Experience. That was far and away the winner of the very unscientific study.
Just a mere decade ago, we have never heard of internet radio, or this thing called a podcast. However, now it’s in our daily vernacular. What will we be listening to in another 10 years?
Rebecca is a recent Iowa transplant to the Outer Banks and spends her days enjoying the beach and seafood, and her nights contemplating the sea and the stars. It has been her long-held dream to be a writer.