We see our fair share of changes here in Gastown.
Historically, places like meat packing shops or old general stores have become restaurants then clothing boutiques then restaurants again. There’s a tiny little cobbler on Abbott Street that is currently housed in what was once the buildings elevator shaft.
We work with what we have and we make it happen. We re-purpose, integrate, adapt yet never compromise our creativity. We say: “Yes and…” over and over again til we can then say “That’s it! We’ve found it!”.
For Javan Avent and Corben Winfield, nights spent hanging out in Corben’s grilled cheese sandwich shop (once a storage closet) led to the imagining of something quite different, a what if that eventually turned into Vancouver’s first live streaming radio station – No Fun Radio.
We met up with Javan in his 100 square foot station and got talking about how much fun No Fun Radio is having in Gastown.
(pictured: Station co-director; Javan Avent)
How did it all come about?
Located on 30 East Cordova Street, this place used to be a tiny little grilled cheese shop called Hi-Five run by my friend Corben Winfield. We’ve been playing music together for years and we’d always come here late at night, look at the space and think: “Wouldn’t this make a perfect radio station?”.
About a year ago we decided to pursue this idea taking 6 months to plan the layout. Last summer was spent in renovations and we just launched 3 weeks ago.
We go 7 days a week from 2-10pm with a few live events where we go mobile with the station. 90% of content is from local DJ’s with the rest coming from guest DJ’s.
It’s Vancouver’s first live stream radio station that is a 100% community based non-profit organization with myself and three other station directors managing the content and scheduling. The response has been extremely positive from everyone involved and I see a lot of potential for growth. We are very happy to be doing it all in Gastown!
What inspired the name?
We wanted to give a nod to Vancouver while still coming up with something original. Trying to find a name that was available across all social media platforms was a challenge. We really liked No Fun Radio, especially the acronym: NFR. So far it’s working and everybody else seems to like it.
I see that on your site it says: “Live visuals are coming soon” – what can we expect to see?
We’re really excited about this and we will be launching the live video component on October 23. We want to set ourselves apart from other stations. Rather than just having a live feed of the radio room, we are going to leave it up to the programmers to dictate how they want their session represented visually. Some people just want to be on camera and that’s cool. Others have the option of broadcasting custom visuals for their set. We have a Panasonic video mixer from the early 90’s and a CCTV camera where our DJ’s can play and experiment with a lot of fun, trippy images and effects. The video adds another dimension to our stream and soon we will have an app coming out for iPhone and android which will allow NFR to be fully experienced on your smartphone.
Why setup here in Gastown?
We wanted to be centrally located, making it easy for our contributors to come to the station. Corben already had this space and it made sense to base NFR here. Since we only have 100 square feet we had to be inventive, making economical use of the space. It means a lot to be broadcasting from here. Gastown is the heart of the city and we wanted to be part of the thriving creative, cultural hub that exists in this neighbourhood. We’re here for the long term, identifying as part of the community and always looking to see how we can be further involved with those around us.
What are some of your favourite Gastown places to hangout in?
I’ll be a bit biased here. Lol. Corben is a part owner of Six Acres, just around the corner. That’s my favorite bar in the city. I love Nelson The Seagull. We’re neighbours and I spend a lot of time there now. Truth be told, you can throw a stone and hit an amazing restaurant or coffee shop in Gastown. There are tons of great options here and it’s awesome.
Anything exciting planned for NFR?
Halloween night October 31st at The Cobalt, we will be having a fundraiser with live music and broadcasting on site. Details to follow on our website www.nofunradio.com. Christmas will bring a few cool themes as well.