AdviceArts and CultureComedyMusicSan Francisco Keeping SF’s Creativity Alive Through DIY Community Radio

Updated: Nov 06, 2017 08:12
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I’ve been a big fan of since they launched and have been a guest on a number of their shows. Then starting a few months ago Sonny Phono and I began recording our podcast Weird & Wonderful with Broke-Ass Stuart there. Because I love what they do, and as a way to say “thank you” for letting us record there, I figured I’d let the folks at tell you a little about all the wonderful stuff they are up to. You can support them and keep community radio alive by donating here.

Whether broadcasting online or over the airwaves, small community radio stations can wield big power. And no community radio station is more focused on using that power to help the Bay Area music scene thrive quite like San Francisco-based

“The last five years have been rough for many creative San Franciscans,” said Music Director Ben Russo, “but institutions like have stood firm to keep the spark of creativity alive in The City. I’m proud to be associated with this diverse family of radio kooks that’s come together around a love for the Bay Area and its music scene.” (The BFF stands for “Best Frequencies Forever”) began broadcasting in September 2013 from a tiny office inside The Secret Alley, an artist workshop located in the Mission District. Founder and station manager Amanda Guest explained, “I wanted to create a place where post-collegiate music nerds can unite and geek out over all the awesome new music that’s out there, while giving local and visiting musicians a platform to promote themselves.”

That’s exactly what drew Ashraf El Gamal to the station, where he hosts the weekly program Music Ninja Radio, based on a popular music discovery website he writes for. “ is the ultimate sanctuary for music lovers,” he said. “It’s that common thread–a genuine love for, and open-mindedness about, music–that makes BFF such a special community for listeners and DJs alike.”

In just over four years, the all-volunteer staff has reached 100 strong and’s schedule pumps out 140 hours of original programming each week. Meanwhile, support for the station has grown beyond everyone’s wildest dreams. Named SF’s Best New Radio Station by The Bold Italic, Best Internet Radio Station by SFWeekly, voted Best Radio Station in SFWeekly’s Readers Poll four years in a row, won Best of the Bay on 48 Hills, as well as being honored in the final Best of the Bay issue of the SF Bay Guardian, is thriving in a time when many fear San Francisco’s legendary music culture is being threatened.

All of this magic is made possible by’s loyal listener base, which supports the 501(c) 3 with regular donations. Money raised not only helps to pay operational expenses, but it also allows DJs to become more active in the community, live streaming music events and hosting showcases that highlight local acts.

Tweeted supporter Lisa Church “I figure I get at least $20/month of burrito/coffee/San Francisco/bike related entertainment each month!”

In addition to monetary support, is always in need of volunteers. DJs can apply online at

Looking ahead, hopes to cement its place in the San Francisco music scene through sustainable growth. After all, said DJ Ashley Sarver, “ is more than a radio station – it’s a thriving community of rad people who love music.”

You can support them and keep community radio alive by donating here.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.