As previously reported on Slog, Seattle's least-commercial radio station, Hollow Earth Radio, finally has a new home. It'll be nestled in the freshly renovated Black Lodge space on Eastlake Avenue East, where it will feed off the creative energy of that storied DIY venue and Nellis Records, a new record and occult-book shop occupying the front room of the departed Lo-Fi Performance Gallery. We can thank the Vera Project for catalyzing this positive development for local underground culture.

Hollow Earth Radio (which, in addition to being online at, is also known as the Low Power station KHUH 104.9 FM) has been without a permanent base since early 2022. Formerly located on East Union Street near 20th Avenue, the station is moving its gear to Black Lodge over the next week. Station president Devin Booth estimates that HER will start broadcasting from its new digs in the next month or two. Ever since vacating its Central District location, the station's volunteer DJs have been doing their shows remotely, Booth says in a phone interview. 

The move to Black Lodge will improve HER's infrastructure. “That's one of the advantages of the new site,” Booth says. “We're going to be able to raise our wattage to about 40, I think, from about 15. It's going to change our service area, so that more of our signal will hit downtown, which is exciting. We might still reach [Capitol Hill and the Central District], but it's going to be focused on the downtown area from that spot on Eastlake.”

The shift to new environs does not mean that HER will deviate from its unconventional mission. “We're completely committed to that freeform ethos—as long as I'm there,” Booth says with a laugh. “The other folks on the board are really committed to that, as well. That's the reason I'm involved: freeform radio is really meaningful to me as a creative pursuit and as a way to build culture outside of the mainstream.” HER's board includes treasurer Max Bryla, secretary Tysyn Lyn, and at large members Greg Geist, Eric Alipio, and Mudhoney Nash; the latter also hosts a Wednesday afternoon show from the Nova School. 

Booth—whose radio experience includes DJing at WOWD in Takoma Park, Maryland, and briefly working for KAOS in Olympia—sees opportunities for synergy in the new building. “Hollow Earth will hopefully be able to use the Black Lodge performance space at least a couple of times a year, for events and fundraising and stuff like that. We haven't worked out the schedule yet. We're happy now not to have to pick up a weekly concert calendar the way we did at the old place. That's a ton of work for volunteers to keep up with. But we're going to try keep a similar vibe of the shows we did at the old space. 

“We're going to be able to broadcast live music like we did at the old place, but with better sound quality. That will hopefully include Black Lodge shows, not just stuff Hollow Earth is producing. Even though we won't be doing as many live shows on our own, there might be more opportunities to broadcast live music from the space.

“As for Nellis, Brad [Tilbe, former manager of Light in the Attic's retail shop] used to be a DJ with us. There's a nice opportunity to reignite that partnership there. We haven't spoken directly about any overlaps in the new space, but the layout will be such that the entrance to our booth will be through the record shop. So we'll be in touch with Brad pretty constantly. We may air music from Hollow Earth into the shop or share music between the two.”

Speaking of Nellis, which is named in honor of Tilbe's mother, who passed away in 2022, the owner plans to expand upon what he nurtured during the seven years he managed and curated at the LITA Record Shop, which is located in KEXP's Gathering Space. Tilbe says he learned a lot “about diversity, equity, and inclusion practices, and how to work to create a safe space for folks from all backgrounds and identities. I plan to continue these learnings and practices at Nellis Records.”

Nellis will sell new and used LPs, tapes, and CDs, with a focus on metal and punk, although all genres will be represented in the bins. Tilbe will also be selling new and used books that center on the occult, but he'll also stock other genres of books whose subjects range from “DIY how-to all the way to the other side of the spectrum (e.g., vintage medical dictionaries and various oddball-type books, etc.).”

Tilbe hopes to open Nellis in mid October. Currently, he's preparing and fine-tuning things for a soft opening this weekend. (Follow the shop @nellisrecords on Instagram for updates.) Nellis's hours tentatively have been set for Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am-7 pm, with extended hours during shows, special events, etc. Tilbe is Nellis's sole owner, but he views Vera Project, Black Lodge, and Hollow Earth Radio “as partners in the space and in our community.”

With a significant move such as this, questions about finances arise. Hollow Earth has never done an on-air fundraising drive, although Booth says they may do one in the next month or so. Instead, HER relies on a steady donor base of about two dozen people who donate monthly. That covers about half of its annual operating budget. The rest comes from grants and various city funders such as 4Culture and the Office of Arts and Culture, just to name the two biggest ones. HER also received some recovery support during the pandemic and afterward. 

After over a year of precarity, this change seems like an ideal situation for Hollow Earth. “We're overjoyed to joining this community space,” Booth says. “We're super-grateful to Vera Project for thinking of us when they were putting the plan together. We've got a ton of energy pent up from years of not having our own space to operate out of. Once we're in there and established, Hollow Earth is going to get a lot more active and a lot weirder. We'll try to keep up the standard of strangeness that we've tried to hold ourselves to all this time.”