glrIf there was an award for most bombastic station of 2001, my vote would go to Chicago’s Guerrilla Love Radio. Chicago has had a relatively active pirate scene for years, but GLR and the folks behind it were some of the most outspoken about radio activism.

For many at GLR, this is their second station. GLR was formed out of the ashes of Free Radio West Town, which served several neighborhoods on the west side of Chicago for almost two years before being visited by the FCC (and voluntarily shutting down) in February of 2000.

It was not long before GLR appeared to take its place. I’ve had the opportunity to visit one of GLR’s studios: those behind the station don’t care about keeping up appearances. Their mission is to bring an eclectic mix of the hidden creativity and politics bubbling under the surface of the nation’s third-largest radio market, while flipping the mainstream media and the powers-that-be a huge middle finger.

You get a nice flavor of the station from this CD, compiled from tapes made of the station’s air signal. Not an easy task in 68 minutes.

There’s plenty of news and views: DJ Toxic Cloud provides tons, taking time to send a warm shout-out to Springfield, IL’s Mbanna Kantako. Looking for some raw underground hip-hop? Anaroc and Offwhyte, accompanied by DJs Inc and Exploding Bunny are captured in impromptu freestyle.

Some of Chicago’s best beatmixers can be heard spinning everything from world beat to gabba. A smidgen of free jazz and a reading from Naked Lunch abides. There’s even messages of support from Jello Biafra and Michael Moore.

It’s all probably best summed up by the repeated, breathless exhortation of DJ Sux: “Radio so good, it’s illegal.”

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