In the age of homogenized corporate radio, Vikki Matsis is a real advocate in Charleston for free speech and democratic media. As President of Ohm Radio, she wants people to hear underrepresented voices in a non-commercialized format.
“Whatever issue you care about, your access to the media is extremely important. Corporate media, especially radio, isn’t connected to Charleston on a local level. They don’t know what’s happening and they don’t care. Our intent is to serve.”
Under the mentorship of Professor Faye Steuer at the College of Charleston, Vikki became active in media reform, and she is now President of Media Reform SC, a non-profit advocacy group. Crowdfunding made a dream come true for Ohm’s board to establish Charleston’s only independent radio station, playing everything from avant garde jazz to reggae while showcasing the original music of local bands. Ohm also features local news and talk programs.
Vikki creates her own media content as well, having been an arts writer at The Post & Courier and self publishing a book, Inside an American Hostel, culled from her decade-long experience as the manager of the NotSo Hostel on Spring Street, where she lives in community with travelers from all over the globe. At NotSo Hostel, Vikki utilizes her permaculture certification on the hostel’s green spaces by conserving water, replacing grass with stone, planting native species in the garden, even creating a small wildlife sanctuary.
Vikki and her ridiculously talented/epically romantic husband Lee Barbour have a wedding band, Leo and Luna, where she sings and plays piano, and he plays guitar. Vikki put out her own EP in 2013 with original songs, but music is just one of her many threads.
She forgoes mindless television to carve out time for meditation and yoga, but she does think Orange is the New Black is amazing and cat videos might show up on her browser’s search history.
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Words by Dee Dee Arthur
Photo by Adam Chandler