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Pacific Beach (former) pirate radio station still the voice of seaside town

KXPB 89.1 is still rebel radio. Sponsored by Grays Harbor County.
Credit: KING 5 Evening
KXPB DJs gathered in the studio at Pacific Beach.

PACIFIC BEACH, Wash. — If you ever take a road trip to Pacific Beach, tune your radio to 89.1. You'll hear some former pirates.  

"We're here at the Wacky Warehouse — the home of KXPB radio, 89.1 Pacific Beach,” said Thomas Preisinger, aka DJ Uncle Thom. “At first this was a pirate radio station.”

The pirates were brothers Thomas and James Preisinger and their late friend Kelly Cline.

“I escaped from Seattle back in the 90s and came out here to a more peaceful life,” James said, who goes by another handle just like his brother. “They call me Mr. Wacky.”

James — Mr. Wacky — wanted to play music in his second-hand store
the Wacky Warehouse.

“So someone gave me one of these little FM transmitters that you can put in your house, they're supposed to just go through your house. Well, I hooked up an antenna on the roof, and I thought I could go down to the campground with a microphone and start talking to people and it took off from there,” Mr. Wacky said. “’Til one day the FCC sent a couple of boys down here from Kirkland and told me I had to turn it off.”

“Later that day, the deputy stopped by and said, 'Where’s the radio?'” Uncle Thom added.

The pirate radio station stashed in the junk store playing what Thom calls "boomer music" had become the voice of this tiny town on the beach. To keep the lava lamp lit and the music playing they went legitimate, getting the first low power FM radio license in Western Washington.

"That's how it all started," Mr. Wacky said. "I just wanted to listen to music in my store."

The DJs are all volunteers — and all friends.

And they're still a pack of pirates — venture in on a Saturday, and Handlebar Mike will put you on air.

“I’d open the door and say, 'come on in, come on in.' It's that simple. You can't do that anymore. We're the very last of the radio stations that that's possible,” said the Vietnam Veteran who got his DJ name because of his love of motorcycles.

Being a real radio station means they also must raise funds to patch the leaky ceiling and keep the emergency broadcast system operating.

But it also means Your Host on the Coast is here to stay — and within earshot. Iyou're within five miles of Pacific Beach.

KXPB now livestreams so you can hear them even if you aren't on the coast. And for more things to do and see in Grays Harbor county, head to visitgraysharbor.com.

Sponsored by Grays Harbor County. KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.

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