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Anarchy on the AM

Double Down Radio does punk radio on the cheap, but for how much longer?

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Co-host Zak Farrell.
Photo: Aaron Thompson

Steve Fodor and Zak Farrell look about like anyone else does on a Friday night at the dingy punk haven that is the Double Down Saloon. Farrell is sporting a reddish mohawk and black T-shirt with cut-off sleeves, while the semi-shaven Fodor chills out in a blue hoodie. They look pretty dirty, and neither the small radio-connection unit they’re fiddling with nor the decrepit headphones cupped around their ears appear much cleaner. It’s pretty grungy, they admit, but it’s also a key part of what makes Double Down Radio so much fun.

“We make mistakes all the time,” Farrell says of the one-hour show, which airs live Fridays at 8 p.m. on KLAV 1230-AM.

Launched by the duo after a few too many beers as Mohawk Radio last September, Double Down Radio plays like a balls-out eff-you to local radio. Encompassing everything from locals like The Lurks, The Vermin and Holding on to Sound to Black Flag, Lou Reed and Elvis (Presley, not Costello), the show is as DIY as it gets—right down to its self-made ad spots.

“It can be chaos,” Farrell, a former broadcast-journalism student (Fodor is an out-of-work videographer), says between cigarettes. “But that’s what’s fun about it.”

Double Down Radio costs about $200 a week to produce. A deal with Double Down Saloon owner P Moss has guaranteed the show a presence on local airwaves—at least through February 27. “That’s when our agreement’s contract ends,” Farrell says. “But we’re confident he’ll continue [to support us].”

Considering they might be approaching the end of their five-month radio run, the DDR guys appear pretty carefree. Hell, they didn’t even freak when Internet punk station Mohawk Radio sent them a totally un-punk cease-and-desist letter alleging copyright infringement of the name. They simply renamed the show.

Ultimately, Double Down Radio has a simple task: Get more punk rock—especially of the homegrown variety—out to Las Vegans. “Local music is more or less ignored by radio in town,” Farrell says. “And we’re trying to change that.”

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