iso fm toronto

Toronto's newest radio station is hidden inside a shipping container

A shipping container is the latest location of a fledgling Toronto radio station that has been operating remotely for the last 15 months. 

ISO Radio is an station that can be streamed online (ISO stands for In Search Of). In addition to music, they also do community-based programming at least five days a week.

You won't hear top 40 hits on this station: think obscure instrumental tracks and interviews on the subject of lesser-known subgenres.

The community-led passion project was founded in January 2019 by Josephine Cruz and her partner Mike Ho, also known as Freeza Chin. Both have full-time jobs, Cruz as a producer at a digital agency, and Ho as the owner of recording studio Genesis Sound.

"We both come from a background being involved with independent and community radio stations both here and in London, UK, and very much wanted to try and start our own," Cruz tells blogTO.

The station involves many more people, however, from volunteers who help staff the station to DJs who host shows.

ISO has been part of Nuit Blanche and Mural Festival at Stackt in the past and reached out to them a few months ago to see if they could partner in some way, and the market "went to some great lengths" to get them into a container last week.

"They really make an effort to cultivate a sense of community among their vendors, many of whom are local small businesses, so I think we share similar ethos and am very excited about what this means for us," says Cruz.

Cadence Weapon closed out their first day in the new spot, and one of their first programs in the new container space was a themed 10-hour day curated by queer online community Yohomo for Pride.

"There are so many amazing things about having a physical space but I think for us the standouts are, A, having somewhere for our community to gather safely, especially since we don't have music venues, clubs or concerts at the moment," says Cruz.

"Obviously we can't have hundreds of people, but even to be able to have a central hub that people can drop by, say hi, or hangout outdoors, it's something that we think the music community needs right now. And, B, having a space for people to have access to equipment and gear that the average person cannot afford for home use."

Eventually, they'll be opening up the space for people to practice DJing or recording podcasts or mixes free of charge.

"Everyone has been really excited for this new chapter," says Cruz.

"Running anything like this is super challenging and people often want to know how they can help and honestly I think that just sharing, telling people about it, posting on your social media if you are listening, all of those things mean more than people know."

Lead photo by

ISO Radio

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