A longtime voice of and advocate for the local music scene, KWSS morning show host Brad Pfirrman, aka Beef Vegan, is leaving local airwaves.
Friday morning, August 26, will be his final show.
"It's bittersweet," Pfirrman says. "But I'm excited to start this new chapter in my life."
For almost eight years now, Pfirrman has hosted TMI, the weekday morning show on local independent radio station KWSS. As the show developed through the years, Pfirrman began shining a spotlight on local music, pushing the station hard to include local bands as part of the regular rotation. Now, KWSS is one of the only places in the Valley where the local bands can get their music onto the airwaves.
Bands noticed, too. KONGOS, the Valley-raised, platinum-selling rock band gave props to Vegan during a Reddit IAMA interview, saying that Pfirrman was instrumental in getting their sound out to the masses.
"Huge shoutout to KWSS/Beef. He was literally the first person to play 'I'm Only Joking' and 'Come With Me Now' on the radio and was the start of a lot of things for us," wrote Johnny Kongos. "I also think he's been a huge part of the growing music scene in Phoenix."
Pfirrman defers credit but acknowledges that the success of KONGOS was gratifying for him.
"They give me more credit than I deserve, but they were the first band to actually make an impact with our station," he says. "We were able to take a local band that had four people coming to their shows to selling out Crescent Ballroom."
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He started focusing on local music during the "Sound Strike" in 2010. The Sound Strike was an organized boycott of Arizona by national touring bands in opposition to SB 1070, a move Pfirrman thought was unfair to the music fans in the state. Local bands became noble scabs of the Sound Strike, with Pfirrman eager to prove that Arizona had enough talent that the state didn't need touring bands to play concerts in town.
"I thought that was unfair to the people of Arizona," he says. "We didn't have a choice in the matter."
Pfirrman is leaving to take a new job as co-host and producer of a radio show on KFMA in Tucson. His first show down there will be September 6. At KWSS, Pfirrman was an unpaid volunteer. At KFMA, he will have officially broken into the radio industry, a longtime goal of his.
And hey, at least he didn't have to move to Nebraska.
"Tucson is a fantastic music town," he says. "In radio, you have to move anyway, so me only moving two hours away and still being able to come back to Phoenix every weekend is important for me and my daughter but also important to bridge the gap between the Phoenix scene and the Tucson scene."
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KWSS program director Frank Magarelli says the station in the meantime will play only music with no host during the time slot vacated by Pfirrman.
"We wish him well. We know it's a good transition," Magarelli says. We're very happy for him. He got all of his radio experience here. … We're glad to see him take that next step."
As for Pfirrman, he plans one final party for his final broadcast, which happens at Stinger's on 10040 North 43rd Avenue in Glendale from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. today. It should be an emotional morning for him, he says, and it will feature local bands, comedians, and frequent guests of the show.
"We're gonna get really drunk and cry," Pfirrman says.