Hidden in the depths of Bushwick’s Punk Alley, Sheri Barclay has been running an internet radio station for almost two years.
The name Kpiss, she explained, was a no brainer. A homeless man used to live in the shipping container that she now rents. “Nobody wanted it because it smelled like piss before I renovated it,” Sheri Barclay told Bushwick Daily. “That was a lightbulb moment for me,” she continued, adding that she didn’t displace anyone as the man was already gone before she rented the space.
“We’re Kpiss, we’re the golden stream,” Sheri said. “You can take it however you want. If you don’t like it, it’s an automatic filter like a bladder itself. The name automatically filters out anybody who would not wanna listen or be part of it. And that’s cool. It’s a niche, so why not work with that.”
The radio station takes the piss out of community stations that are either way too hip, or way too structured, or way too free form to the point that the mandate eats itself. “Sometimes people want to let you know that it’s free form so much so that it creates this bleeding hearts free form vacuum. Does that makes sense?” she laughed.
Kpiss currently features a roster of 50 rotating DJs and podcasters, lovingly called the Pisscasters. You can listen to the shows live or from an archive on the Kpiss website.
“I can honestly say that I love all of the shows,” Sheri said. She herself has two shows. One is called “The Barclay Hour,” a continuation of her college radio days, while the other one, “Call Your Mother,” features her phone calls to her mother, who “is a very bizarre woman and we have very bizarre conversations relating to one another,” she said.
At Kpiss, Sheri functions also as a mentor of sorts. She teaches her Pisscasters how to use the equipment, gives them feedback as well as suggestions about their shows. Some of the people are seasoned pros who may not need her help, while others benefit from her hands on approach.
The radio works on a membership basis. For $35 a month, you get a weekly radio show and an access to Kpiss equipment. Sheri says that currently they have enough DJs even though she is still looking to fill in the less popular time slots during the day or late at night. “Whenever I come to Mr. Kiwi at 4 a.m. I see a ton of people buying kale. Those people could be doing radio shows!” she laughed.
Kpiss radio will be part of this year’s Northside Festival. They will have a pop up studio on Bedford Avenue during Williamsburg Walks, broadcasting live, interviewing as many bands and as many fans as they can.
Sheri, who hails from Canada, has previously worked at a live streaming startup where she built a professional radio station for a corporate office. “I was ready to build another one,” she said. “And once I saw the space I knew.”
She also credits a lot of her inspiration to her days during the time period of 2004-2006 when she worked as a promoter at Black Betty, which was one of the pioneer clubs in Williamsburg.
Besides DJs and listeners, Kpiss is also looking for volunteers. They are looking for a muralist to beautify the interior of the pink radio station. The plan is also to get “Instagram-worthy lighting,” so anybody with a knowledge of light is welcome as well. Soon expect an 8-foot-tall radio tower to come on top of the station, which will be visible from the subway.
Cover image: Katarina Hybenova for Bushwick Daily