Pamela Welsh of IrieVibesRadioDetroit
Do you know what Ting is? Have you ever heard of Miss Lou? Well, do you at least know you are supposed to put co-co and cho-cho in Gungo Pea soup? If you answered no to any of those questions, it is most certain you are not Jamaican.
Have no fear! Pamela Welsh is dedicated to bringing elements of Jamaican culture to Detroit through music. In fact, her internet radio station is dedicated to spreading “Irie Vibes” about Caribbean culture at-large. Recently, she sat down with the Examiner.com for a quick, virtual chat.
Why did you decide to start IrieVibesRadioDetroit?
I started in radio when living in California. Because of my love of Reggae and Caribbean music and culture, I worked with local artists and bands doing promotions and management. When I moved back home in 1998, I met OC Roberts who hosted the "Reggae Soundblast" on WDTR: The Detroit Public Schools radio station. We became friends and I landed a spot as co-host on his show for 2 years. [The station was later sold and the show was cancelled.]
How long has IrieVibesRadioDetroit been on the air?
Commercial radio in Detroit does not support Reggae music because they don't feel it is marketable. It seemed no one could break through with a show on local radio because Detroit has a strong R&B, Gospel and Hip Hop base. So I decided to start my own station and go online. That way I could set it up without FCC regulations and strict guidelines and play all kinds of Caribbean music. So in August 2007, I launched IrieVibesRadioDetroit. In the last two years, we have grown tremendously gaining listeners from all continents including the countries of China, The Czech Republic, Brazil, and of course all of the Caribbean.
What are your thoughts about the Caribbean music scene in Detroit?
Caribbean music in Detroit has been strongly affected by the recession. The market has lost its strength, and promoters don't want to take the risk. We used to have big international artists come through Detroit and perform frequently. Now they head to Chicago and skip over Detroit. There are local dances each month held at the Elements Gallery by our resident DJ's Roots Rock Sound, and a few other events around, but nothing like it used to be.
How does IrieVibesRadioDetroit benefit the Detroit arts and culture scene?
We support Detroit artists and happenings, and hope we can bring a touch of the Caribbean through its music to our listeners. We have done interviews with some of the biggest international Reggae artists like Luciano, Da'ville, Bushman, Fantan Mojah, D'Angel and so many more. We have also had local Latin artists like Tavito y Balin and vocalist King Mellowman visit our studios. I intentionally put Detroit in our name to let the world know that we are based here and we can represent globally. Our goal is to grow, expand our programming, and gain further interest in the Detroit's scene.
Is there anything else you would like the readers to know?
We sponsor the Watsontown Basic School in Dumfries, St. James, Jamaica, and we are doing all we can to send supplies and materials to the students and teachers. Log on to our page for more information if anyone is interested in showing support.
IRIEVIBESRADIODETROIT.COM BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Music: 8 p.m. -11 p.m., Monday - Thursday
Monday: "Mixup Monday" (mixture of all Caribbean music)
Tuesday: "Latin Night" (Reggaeton, Salsa, Merengue, Bachata)
Wednesday: "Vintage Night" (Old School Reggae, Dancehall, & Lover's Rock)
Thursday: "Dancehall Night" (old & new Dancehall)
Friday: "Fire Fridays" with Roots Rock Sound Int'l, 8 p.m. - Midnight
Saturday: "What's Up" with Lady Pam, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. (streamed music, 8 p.m. - Midnight)
Sunday: "Gospel Inspirations" 11 a.m. -1 p.m., "Rocker's Corner" with Sister Dee, 1 p.m. -5 p.m.
Link to: IRIEVIBESRADIODETROIT.COM