“We’re not just a weed station that talks about weed all day.” Michael “Ras Mike” Callahan is co-owner of Nug Radio (NugRadio.com), an offshoot of marijuana advocacy publication NUG Magazine. Callahan’s broadcast partners include NUG publisher Ben G. Rowin and Justin Rivera, owner of another internet venture called the Slang Media Group.
“I’m the music editor of NUG Magazine,” says Callahan. “I’ve been writing for the magazine since its inception. We’re coming up on our one-year anniversary in July.”
When it comes to ideology, Callahan says that Nug Radio is bipartisan. “We want to be able to speak on both sides, so people can make their own opinion.” Regular programs include Marijuana Is Medicine, hosted by local activist Eugene Davidovich. Callahan hosts a music segment called The Ganga Block, which airs daily at 4:20 p.m.
Nug Radio encourages San Diego musicians to submit demos for possible radio play. Some of the locals who have benefited include deejays Sunny Rude, the River Bottom Rockers, TRC, Sleeping Giant, and Zion Gates.
“People send in music all the time,” says Rivera. “Bands like Stranger, Grand Zlam, and Southern Dynasty — they’re up for an SDMA award,” he says. Already in rotation are South Bay’s Roots Covenant, Without Papa, and Subliminal Trip.
“Some of those guys have actually written songs just for us,” says Callahan.
“And we play the South Bay Wailers, South Town Generals, and Revival,” says Rivera.
Is Nug Radio skewed toward reggae bands? Yes.
“I think it’s because of our logo,” Callahan says.
“The colors,” says Rivera. (Their banner is red, green, and yellow.)
“We’re getting into dub step, too,” says Callahan, “and, country. I have that one song in the play list that’s, ‘WTF?’”
“You have to switch it up a little bit,” says Rivera, “to make sure the listeners stick with us.”
Callahan’s media background includes working as a deejay and production assistant for Makeda Dread at 91X. He also worked at SDSU’s KCR campus radio station in 1992. Nug Radio began life months ago in a spare room in his house. The studio moved recently to a Chula Vista office complex, into what was once a medical marijuana evaluation clinic.
“We’d like to see it grow to the point where we don’t have to come in every day,” says Callahan, “like any other radio station.”