Manzanita Radio hits the airwaves

Ask a hundred people what retirement means to them and you’ll likely get many answers.

In the case of Manzanita’s Gary McIntosh, it’s a chance to dive into a new project.

Enter Manzanita Radio, a music and local news internet radio station that is gradually evolving from McIntosh’s retirement pastime to full-time gig.

Before this year, McIntosh’s experience with radio station operations didn’t go beyond being an on-air interviewee.

McIntosh, former State Elections Director for Washington State, had been having an ongoing conversation with a friend about creating an internet station focusing solely on the Manzanita-Nehalem area.

As the idea gained steam, McIntosh realized that the venture had broad possibilities.

“There’s a lot of interesting people living here,” McIntosh says. “We’ve got actors and actresses, authors, World War II veterans, a lot of different people who make up this community.”

Plus, he adds, the wide variety of local events means something worth talking about is always happening.

Housed in his condo unit above T-Spot on Laneda Avenue in Manzanita, McIntosh works out of what he calls “Studio A:” a spare bedroom with a small desk that holds a computer, soundboard, and two microphones.

“We haven’t gotten big enough for a Studio B yet,” he said.

There’s also a “Traffic Observation Deck” (a small window facing east up Laneda) and “The Weather Deck” (an outdoor deck attached to Studio A).

Manzanita Radio

Manzanita Radio checks on the weather. Courtesy Gary McIntosh.

Traffic reports often consist of letting listeners know where the garbage truck is, when delivery trucks are parked at Little Red Apple, and if the nearby winery construction is blocking Laneda.

“Listeners love the traffic report: ‘Traffic is light in and out of the city, east bound and west bound,’” McIntosh said with a laugh.

Weather reports only require a quick glance out the Studio A window.

“There’s other things people want to know, like what restaurants are open on a Tuesday, things like that,” McIntosh said.

Of course, there’s also a variety of music programs and event announcements, including applicable links.

The broadcast equipment came from McIntosh’s son, who gathered together the various components for his dad. Local tech expert Tim Garvin helped set up the necessary software.

Music is streamed from McIntosh’s iTunes collection through a platform that handles necessary licensing fees and advertising, a process McIntosh admits was much more convoluted than he expected.

“Internet radio is in a bit of a flux with a lot of the various platforms going out of business or being purchased by other companies,” he says.

Manzanita Radio has only been on the air roughly three weeks and already McIntosh is looking for ways to expand the station’s accessibility: namely, expanding on-air hours and adding the ability to have the station mobile.

Manzanita radio station

Manzanita Radio shares news, events, traffic reports, and a variety of music programs. Photo by Dan Haag.

For now, scheduling and travel prevent 24/7 broadcasting, but certain days are set aside for particular music programs: funk music on Mondays, blues on Tuesdays, Latin music on Wednesdays and so on.

The “Dancing on the Beach” program made its debut this summer.

“We play it by ear on the weekends, but people really seem to like jazz,” McIntosh said.

Manzanita Radio has the capability of conducting interviews – either live or recorded – and McIntosh has broadcast live at local events like the Manzanita Farmer’s Market and Muttzanita.

While listener numbers are steadily growing, McIntosh said he’s not highly promoting the station quite yet as he tinkers to perfect its on-air schedule and assorted technical issues.

Still, folks from as far away as Texas and Arizona have begun to tune in, a hopeful sign of things to come.

“People like me, who can’t be here all the time, want to find out what’s going on in the city they miss,” he said. “If you have internet access anywhere in the world, you can find out what’s happening in Manzanita.”

Dan Haag
Born and raised in the great white north of Minnesota, Dan Haag felt the pull of the north Oregon Coast in the early 90s. Finding that rain never needed to be shoveled, he married an Oregon girl and settled in Manzanita, where he works as director of the Manzanita Visitors Center. He is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a variety of state and national publications. He spends his free time wandering the area’s many trails, supporting the Oregon wine and beer industry, perusing coastal bookstores, and chasing his black Labrador, Lilo, along the beach.

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