As of this month, weed enthusiasts in Denver, Colorado can tune in and drop out to the sounds of Smokin’ 94.1, the country’s first entirely marijuana-themed terrestrial radio station.
Owner/radio host Gary Ganja and staff DJs Mary Jane, Stoney Reynolds, Billy Blunt, and Ed Blaze play reggae and classic rock tunes and hold marijuana-friendly giveaways and contests. Listeners can call in to play the “Stoner Dating Game,” debate which foods are best to eat after smoking and compete for trips to Amsterdam and Jamaica.
“We bought the station to put the fun back in radio, which is what we’re doing,” Gary Ganja told Denver’s CBS4. “The individual, the mom and pop radio station doesn’t exist.”
Ganja, real name Marc Paskin, is a millionaire who reportedly made his money in real estate. He’s spent much of the past few years giving away his money in Hawaii on a TV show called Uncle Kokua, in which he traveled around Oahu in a Volkswagen van and distributed money to the poor.
Paskin was all set to retire comfortably when he decided that would be “boring,” he told the New York Times. Instead, he bought an old talk radio station for $875,000, spent another $100,000 on new equipment and began planning his marijuana-themed programming. The station officially launched on June 1.
“This is my million-dollar toy,” Paskin told CBS. “It’s a toy. Some people who are successful, if they make a ton of money, some people buy an airplane, some buy a yacht. I bought a radio station.”
Gary Ganja hosts the regular afternoon show at the station. Morning are reserved for the “Bubba the Love Sponge” show while Stoney Reynolds takes over hosting duties at night. The DJs play heady music from the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones and take calls from both smokers and non-smokers alike.
“All of our listeners are not potheads,” he said. “We get phone calls every day [from people] who say ‘I don’t smoke marijuana but you guys are funny.'”
So far, Smokin’ 94.1 operates commercial-free, for two reasons. Paskin told CBS that he “didn’t buy the station to make a lot of money,” and he can afford to simply build an audience for the time being. After all, he said, the station is the only one that can play 420 hits in a row without commercials.
But advertisements on the station, at least for marijuana-related products and services, could also get it into trouble with the Federal Communications Commission. So while Paskin said dispensaries and others have been calling him for opportunities, the station will remain commercial-free in the short-term.
Paskin also told the Times that while he and the rest of the station’s crew broadcast all things marijuana, he refrains from smoking while on the air.
“I want to pay attention with all those controls and everything,” he said.