I will miss walking by Hollow Earth Radio's Central District location!
I will miss walking by Hollow Earth Radio's Central District location! Garrett Kelly

Back in December, the much-loved low power FM station Hollow Earth Radio (HER) announced that after 11 years in its Central District location, the volunteer-run station would look for a new place to call home.

The move is primarily thanks to COVID, which severely limited the station's ability to gather together and host events in its Central District space. Weighing costs and resources, the station ultimately decided to find a new location that better fits its current needs. But don't worry! Though HER has already moved out, the crew has made an arrangement with their landlord to keep their antenna in the space for the time being so that they can continue to broadcast on the radiowaves.

"Making those kinds of decisions can be really tough when the future is uncertain in the arts community for nonprofits and volunteer-run groups," HER spokesperson Genevieve Green told me about leaving the iconic space. "But that being said, we want to grow; we want to be able to adjust to the times and continue promoting art."

Hollow Earth Radio started back in 2007, co-founded by 2014 Stranger Genius Award nominees Amber Kai Morgan and Garrett Kelly, who brought the then online-only radio station to life from their attic. The station's mission has always been to buck the strictures of corporate stations and let DJs get freaky with song selections. Over the years, HER has broadcasted a wildly varying mix of local bands, field recordings, lesbian podcasts, community discussions, noise yoga, radio plays/aural hallucinations, outsider sounds, and talk shows. The pleasure of tuning into the station is never knowing what you might get next. (Eds. note: That sounds like Slog.)

"We play whatever we want, when we want. As long as it's not discriminatory," Morgan told The Stranger in 2014. "That's really the only rule we have."

Still on the air, just not in the station.
Still on the air, just not in the station. Courtesy of Jen Matson

When HER eventually moved out of Morgan and Kelly's attic into its Central District front, the station finally had the space to host DIY, all-ages shows and community events and become a central location for DJs to gather and broadcast. They snagged an FCC low power FM license in 2014—becoming KHUH 104.9 FM—and installed their transmitters in the space three years later. But when the pandemic hit in 2020, the station made the decision to mostly DJ remotely to protect its community of volunteers from the virus.

"It's been weird," said longtime DJ djmarymaggee of her experience trying to DJ her show, Audacious Bombacious, from home.

She's been a volunteer and jockey at HER since 2011 and found it difficult to translate the magic of being in-studio to her home setup. "The thing that I loved about being in the station was that I always connected with the DJs before and after my show. Now I rarely get to talk with them." Similarly, Cycles Per Second host Jen Matson loved the "hangout vibe" of the space and said in an interview that she misses that camaraderie that comes with being together at the studio.

However, both were excited at the prospect of finding a new place to call home. Among the qualities most important for HER's new space, Matson and djmarymaggee are keen on having room to host live performances and events, tons of space to set up HER's vinyl collection, and making the space accessible to whatever community the station settles into.

A DoNormaal, Guayaba, Michete, The Good in-studio performance from October 2016.
A DoNormaal, Guayaba, Michete, The Good in-studio performance from October 2016. Osato Cooley/HER

Green said that the group consensus was to try to stay in the Seattle area, if possible, as that's where most of their volunteers and equipment are located. And because they are a low power radio station with limited reach, they must put a lot of consideration and intention into exactly where they place their broadcast antenna. Though staying in the Central District is looking less likely, HER has been looking to potentially team up with other art-based groups in the Seattle area to find a space that could fit various needs.

The process, however, is likely to be a long one. In the meantime, HER is hosting a benefit at Cafe Racer on February 25 to drum up support for their new housing search. Low Hums, Enuft, and William Wesley Bullock are all slated to play, and tickets are offered at $10, $15, and $20 tiers. The show isn't just about money, Green said, but a reminder that just because HER is in between physical spaces doesn't mean that they are gone for good.

"We're still here. We're still alive. We're still planning," she said. "We still want to be present in the future and continue supporting local art."

Grab your tickets to HER's February 25 Cafe Racer benefit show here.

Got a lead on a potential space for HER to slide into? You can contact HER here.