Decatur resident creates “Decatur FM” radio station

Decatur resident Mike Johnson has had a radio station dedicated to Decatur in the works for almost a year. In August, he launched his station, Decatur FM, and has since worked to make it a station where Decatur residents can listen to events happening in and around their community. Listeners can tune in to the station by activating the skill on a Alexa or downloading the Decatur FM app.

Johnson has made his studio into a comfortable and workable environment inside of his house.

“I wanted to create a place where we could all talk, we could all discuss our issues, we could all voice our opinion, we could all laugh, possibly cry and just grow as a community,” Johnson said.

Originally from St. Croix, an island in the Caribbean, Johnson recognized his interests early. He began learning the reins to radio work by working at a local radio station in high school where he played music from midnight to six, when his friends were awake. Fresh out of high school, he got hired by a CBS owned station in Baltimore, Maryland (V103). Afterwards Johnson moved to Atlanta and worked at the station, Hot 109.

Through working at these radio stations Johnson came to desire working on his own. He quit his job and began his own company where he reads scripts to create audio for commercials or radio stations.

During his time working for himself, Johnson had a revelation that the best way he could change the world was producing a place “where we could all talk, we could all discuss our issues, we could all voice our opinion, we could all laugh, possibly cry, and just grow as a community.”

“A friend of mine had a conversation with me about a year ago, and he said ‘how are you going to change the world?’ and I had know idea what he meant by that,” Johnson said. “I had no idea how I could possibly change the world and I started thinking about it a little bit more deeply.”

Johnson thought a radio station just for Decatur would be the way he could change the world. The station is online and anyone can listen to it, but the topic of discussion is always Decatur.

“There’s so many people–so many different, brilliant minds that live in our neighborhood that it creates a place of conversation,” Johnson said.

“Voices of Decatur” is the primary focus of Decatur FM. It appears in their live show from 8-10 p.m. in which an interview is conducted allowing listeners to essentially get to “meet your neighbor.”

“We’ve had anyone from commissioner Kelly Walsh in here, we’ve had ironman athletes, attorneys and poetry,” Johnson said. “Right before we’re on air, we talk about the neighborhood, the actual events that are going on…We talk music, we talk politics, we talk motivation, meditation, we’ll talk about challenges that we’re doing.”

Residents of Decatur have the opportunity to chime in to the station not only during “Voices of Decatur,” but also through a bulletin board line, where listeners can call (678)-393-9947 and leave a recorded message to be put on air.

When the station is not playing music, various podcasts and segments run throughout the week. Some segments are “The Funniest Thing You’ve Heard All Day,” and “Word of the Day.” A segment consistently on air is “Follow Me on Social.”

“We pick a social media account that’s really inspiring,” Johnson said. “For example, last week we picked Will Smith, because he has really uplifting and positive things to say, so I just felt like if you weren’t following him, maybe you should, and here’s why.”

Johnson feels the radio is necessary “to do us justice” and “Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram don’t do it justice” because hearing information gets points across to listeners better.

According to Johnson, his intention of creating Decatur FM was to expose the community to the unique people Decatur is compiled of.

“We have so many musicians, we have an olympic swimmer that lives not too far from here. I mean there are so many different walks of life and for me to be able to introduce them to the neighborhood it gives me a lot of joy,” Johnson said. “It makes me think, maybe there’s somebody out there that hears this person’s story and it can change their life.” 

Johnson expresses the difficulty in balancing all the radio work he does and the crew does, when he says they’re “constantly getting ready for the next day’s show.”

“It’s kind of catching on so a lot of people are reaching out to us to be on the show,” Johnson said. “Definitely prepping them and getting to know them and them getting to know us is tough, but I love it, wouldn’t have it any other way, it’s labor of love.”


Contact the writer, Alexis Siegler, at [email protected]