Radio Tower Beacon

Supplemental Data for Critical 2023 Frontage Grant

The Radio Station:

Free Radio Hardware (working name only) is a project within BRC Hardware / LORE, and part of the Rude Rocket Village. The radio station provides news and entertainment on the FM dial from 9am to midnight (at least.) We plan on opening each broadcast day at 9am with “Morning Train,” continuing with a Fallout-themed soundtrack for the Rude Rocket Garage during midday, and a variety mix of themed setlists to keep people moving and grooving till midnight.

We’ll arrive with plenty of pre-recorded content, peppered with custom-recorded air breaks in the style of mid-20th-century commercials, public service announcements with tips on the 10 Principles and surviving and thriving in the wasteland, and other quirky programming. Our stretch goals include the ability to record spots on-site and/or to be able to broadcast live segments. (Who wouldn’t want FunCon’s 5:00 news to be syndicated?)

Vision and inspiration:

We’d like to create a 3D globe with lightning bolts (a classic radio visual convention) to sit atop our 24-foot radio antenna tower at Critical 2023. Our inspiration for the radio tower beacon is from an illustration created for a previous art project concept: A giant radio tower with platforms and performance space. (Illustration credit: Brian Ainslie)

The globe will be translucent, and emit a steady, red glow. The lightning bolts will flicker in yellow. The beacon will be mounted atop a 24-foot pole that will house the radio station’s broadcast antenna.


Additional Funding information:
The most expensive part to acquire for the beacon is the 3D globe. A plastic material will prevent shattering, provides a weatherproof housing, and provide translucency for a great glow. Outdoor lamp post globes already exist, and have access and a neck to make mounting easy. Purchasing one of these would improve the quality and speed of the build immensely.

We have already sourced three 8-foot aluminum tube sections to achieve the envisioned 24-foot height of the tower.  (16 feet will suffice if the full height proves problematic for any reason.) These poles were not listed in the budget line-items of the application.


The Team
Colleen and Luke Mathis have both been involved in theatrical design, production, and performance for over 30 years each. They’ve successfully completed two art car projects for Burning Man, and collaborated on LED signage for a variety of clients.

Luke is currently a head scenic fabricator for one of Seattle’s premier theatres. His portfolio can be found at

Colleen works freelance in digital media production, and has experience in LED lighting, audio engineering, radio programming. She has also served as the regular communicatrix and organizer for BRC Hardware Shoppe’s on and off-playa projects since 2008. Her digital project portfolio can be found at

Examples of previous projects shown below:

  • Rude Rocket acrylic and LED sign from Reignition 2023.
  • Khussamobile shoe-shaped art car lit from within, BRC, 2006
  • Hardcopter helicopter art car with LED lighting, BRC, 2013-2018
  • Flight Academy aluminum and carbon fiber sign with LED lighting, 2020
  • Pumpless gray-water evaporation machine, BRC, 2017, 2018
  • Logmower art vehicle, 2009