San Diego has never really been known for having a thriving experimental or electronic music scene. But Christian Gonzalez hopes to help change that with Particle FM, a DIY online radio station he started in October. The station is currently fundraising to set up a physical space.
Gonzalez, who started DJing at UCSD’s student station KSDT, was inspired to create Particle FM by online radio stations like Dublab, London’s NTS and Lisbon’s Radio Quantica, on which he had his own show for a while. Particle FM’s broadcasts run the gamut from mutant jungle and heartfelt pop to international music and ambient sensory experiences, but the premise is that you’re unlikely to hear these sounds on mainstream radio. .
Gonzalez started Particle FM because he was frustrated with the lack of diversity in San Diego’s music and radio scene. “Our goal is really to give underrepresented people the opportunity to share their music,” he says, including LGBTQ+ people, people from minorities, and anyone with non-mainstream musical tastes. Currently, half of the station’s DJs identify as female or non-binary.
Since its inception, the number of shows on the station has doubled. And although the vast majority of its DJs are based in San Diego, they have found listeners in countries around the world. Particle FM hopes its future physical space will give more people the chance to get involved, especially those who may not be able to afford the equipment to stream from home.
“I imagine it as a bond for camaraderie, creativity and learning facilitated by a shared passion for music,” said Laurie Piña, the station’s community outreach coordinator. “I honestly think this will mark a turning point for the San Diego underground and its music scene in general.”