Colin Green: Portland Copywriter, Publisher

Magazine Feature



To write a jour­nal­is­tic pro­file of a Port­land res­i­dent, writ­ten in a lit­er­ary style.





Santiago, the Industrious Daydreamer

between stations

The universe is playing the song of the Big Bang. Right now, tomorrow, the day after that, it's in full rotation all of the time. The sound is a side effect of the birth of the universe. Space is saturated with it, the earth bombarded by it. Only, it's not particularly tuneful, there is no discernable melody. It's more like a radio stuck between stations. Static. While for the scientist, there may be a refrain about matter or a verse on dark energy, this is pure radio wave. Most of us aren't listening to the song: you need the interest and the equipment. But if you are listening, here is what the song of the universe sings, this is its tune: ssssssssssssss.

Unlike this cosmic radio, human radio is tuned. We strive to stay on station, resisting the in-between. Our signal is aimed; it has targets; someone is meant to receive. And we do, all the time. Radio, television, phone calls, computers, GPS: all send and receive radio waves. On a chilly night in Oregon, pulling down a particularly strong signal, is one Portland resident, Santiago Diego Carmona Barrenechea.

Call him Santi.

Santi steps outside into the night and adjusts a homemade antennae. The device, which is stuck atop a plump shrub, is cobbled together from scraps of metal, wire, and, most strange, a strings of red beads. Although it looks every bit an art object, Santiago reassures tonight's guests that the thing is functional, that â yah yah, it works. Inside his apartment, as proof positive, the receiver grabs radio signal from the antennae, and out the stereo speakers rages the message of punk rock. Ahhhhh!


a revolutionary view

Pirate radio is the sexy title given to unlicensed broadcasting. Santi, born and raised in Argentina, spent his early adult years in Mexico working on just such bootleg radio, a very real and romantic cause. In contrast to the image of blood-thirty marauder dedicated to plunder, the pirate in pirate radio can be honest-to-goodness do-gooder, a well meaning soul unable to afford the economic or, sometime more costly, political price of legit radio. A radio Robin Hood, such a pirate gives rather than takes. And what the pirate gives is benefit to locals. A home for ideas and music and culture and outreach, a hookup for the homespun, a rallying point for community.