Our goal here at Aruba Trip Tips is always getting the word out on everything Aruba has to offer. Sharing Hidden treasures on the wonderful island of Aruba with new vacationers and even returning vacationers is what we’re happy to do. Personally, I believe one of the richest assets the island has to offer are the Aruban People themselves. Sure many islands in the Caribbean offer beautiful beaches, historical landmarks, exciting and interesting things to do, but the charm and the allure of the people of Aruba is the soul that adds that something extra which sets this island apart from many. They don’t call it the Jewel of the Caribbean for nothing. Traveling there for over 11 yrs now has allowed me to meet many lovely and interesting individuals. We have made friends and have had experiences some would probably not believe that are true but we’ll share those tales for another day.
Remarkable enough and somewhat ironic, there is one individual we never met in Aruba while vacationing there. However, thanks to technology and our quest for always trying to find extraordinary things about the island our paths were fortunately crossed with a rising star in radio broadcasting live from Aruba, Aldrich Marchena aka Captain Al.
His warm charm and exotic accent has been exciting the airwaves for the past year now with his special blend of music, style and appeal on his thrice-weekly show–THE PIRATE SHACK. His online radio station STUDIO 69, basically started out as a hobby reaching more or less several countries which has now blossomed into a reach of over 22 countries and growing. He is a businessman by day and an online Radio DJ by night. If it wasn’t impressive enough to have a full time job working by day and DJing 3 nights a week our friend Captain AL is also happily married and a devoted father which exemplifies the spirit of the Aruban people.
Apparently talent and passion for radio runs in the family. Captain AL’s first mate, his lovely wife Diana is a DJ as well on Studio 69 Online Radio Aruba. Her show can be heard on Tuesday and Thursday night from 8:00 pm est to 11:00 pm est. Even more interesting is the fact that the good captain’s grandfather is one of the founding fathers of radio on Aruba. His story seemed to grow more remarkable as we got to know him and we felt given his family’s past and present contributions certainly qualified as a hidden treasure worth sharing with the world. Aruba Trip Tips is honored to share for the first time with our readers a unique interview with this talented DJ on the rise who graciously devoted time for us to share with you some of his story…
The Pirate behind the Pirate Shack
1. Are you Aruban?
I am what we call in our local language Papiamento “un Arubiano puro di lombrishi”, to the English speaking readers this would translate to, “yes, I am a pure Aruban deep to the bellybutton”, I was born on December 31, 1972 in Oranjestad, Aruba. Raised on the Island for about 12 years and after that my parents sent me to Miami, Florida to live and study there. After I graduated from High School I decided that I wanted to take some time off from school and I went traveling “somewhat around the world” moved to Long Island, did New Jersey, Boston, and Philadelphia for a while, I even went to Canada to venture in teaching Salsa and Meringue classes, after a while of traveling around I decided it was time to come back to Aruba, but after living on the island for a couple of years, teaching windsurfing and living “THE LIFE” that all young adult wishes to live, I still felt that this is not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wasn’t quite ready yet for “The Island Life” so my stay on the Island rapidly became very short,… it was time to get back to school and go to the University, so I went to the Netherlands to study, after studying for a Masters in Business Administration and International Business Computer Science Communication in Music Scene at The European University in The Hague I was ready to come back to Aruba… and so I did!!!,…
2. How did you get started as a DJ? Why radio?
It’s funny to say this Bill, but I don’t actually remember when I actually started as a DJ or if I can even consider myself a DJ. The thing is, my grandfather (may he rest in peace) Albertico Arends, was the founder and owner of the first AM and FM Radio Station here on the Island of Aruba, (Voz Di Aruba and later on the Canal 90). I remember as a young kid going to the radio station and playing music on the radio with my grandfather, thus, I guess I can say I have radio in my blood. But to actually put a time frame, I would not even know where to start… I guess a safe bet would be to say, that I was born into Radio Broadcasting,…
3. Why did you choose to call your show The Pirate Shack? Why did you use a Pirate as a symbol?
The name “The Pirate Shack” actually came from a long time ago, come to think of it, I guess you can say this is actually the first time that I started going to my grandfather’s radio station late at night without permission with my friends to play “our” type of music; the type we like on the radio,… I remember my grandfather getting really pissed off at me for “stealing the keys to the radio station” ,.. can I actually say pissed off??? (Ooops! sorry, said it again,.. hahahaha) anyway, I remember sitting in the main studio of Canal 90 Fm one day with a couple of friends and thinking what am I going to call the program we were about to do,… all of the sudden, it all came to me… how we “snuck into the station like pirates” so I call the program that day “The Pirate Shack”. From the start my friends like the name for the program, and started calling me Capt. Al.
4. What kind of music do you like to play and why?
You know Bill… I am an Eclectic person, I like all types of music and I think that is why I always say during the program… “It’s The Pirate Shack and anything can happen”… I honestly can’t say that I have one specific genre that I like, but if I have to choose I guess my 3 favorite genres are between, Alternative Rock, Salsa and Reggae,… however you can easily catch me listening to New Age or Classical and Instrumental music during the day…
5. Do you work with other Radio Stations on Aruba?
Sometimes I still go to my grandfather’s radio station and play around in the studio and on Wednesdays my wife and I have a “pre-recorded” Mental Health radio program called “Perspectiva Psicologico” (Psychological Perspective) that is dedicated as part of our commitment to the local population of Aruba since one of our companies is a mental health facility (Idea Psychological Center). During this program (which airs pre-recorded every Wednesday at 9pm on Canal 90) we bring forth everything that has to do with mental health and how to improve it on Aruba.
6. I understand your Grandfather was in Radio also. Can you tell us more about that?
Wow Bill,.. this is a question that will amaze you and most of the people that had once upon a time visited (or will visit) the Island of Aruba…. It was October 9th 1954 when my Grandfather’s first radio station called “Voz Di Aruba” officially went on the air. Despite not being fully set up, it was due to a “National Emergency Information” that the station went on the air before it was fully set up and ready for broadcast. You see, on this day something really bizarre happened with the weather on Aruba… As you know Bill, Aruba has perfect weather all year around, being below the hurricane belt it allows us to have lots of sun and nothing but clear blue sky’s… However on October 9th 1954 could probably be classified as the worst weather that Aruba has ever experienced. Gusts of winds, lots of rain and somehow during all of this it started to hail on Aruba… Now, keep in mind, (for those who have not been to Aruba yet) it is always…. I mean… ALWAYS between 82 – 84 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of 72 – 74 % all year on Aruba… and now… it’s hailing on the island, people were getting paranoid and could not understand what was happening on the island. At this time the authorities (let’s say the government at the time) asked my Grandfather if there was any possibility that he could set the radio on the air since this was classified as a national emergency…
I remember my Grandfather telling me that he was very nervous because the radio was not fully set up yet and he was still waiting for the main antenna to arrive from the United States. Still he took the responsibility and Voz Di Aruba went on the Air on Oct 9th 1954 transmitting the events that were happening with the weather. This helped with restoring the public order and chaos that was going on when it started to hail on Aruba… Yes, I know,… for all of this to had taken place that meant that the initial idea of my Grandfather must had come before that bizarre day in October of 54,… My “Opa” (Grandfather in Papiamento) told me that his initial idea (or like he liked to call it “My obsession yet My Passion”) started on a trip he made to Cuba in the late 40s early 50s when he went to play “Bala” (Baseball in Old Papiamento) with the all star team of Aruba… this is when he first came in contact with “radio broadcasting” and sure enough when he came back, radio broadcasting became his obsession and passion for the rest of his life.
A couple of years after Voz Di Aruba went on the air, my grandfather decided he wanted to go on the FM Bandwidth and started working towards his 2nd radio station, but now on FM instead of AM,.. This wasn’t as easy, it took a lot of time to be able to get the proper equipment and permits to broadcast on the FM bandwidth,… but sure enough, exactly 2 weeks after I was born, on January 13, 1973 Canal 90 Fm Stereo had gone officially on the Air making my grandfather not only the first person to bring radio broadcasting to the island, but now he was the first to have started Fm Radio Broadcasting on Aruba and turning him into the broadcasting legend he is today.
I know my grandfather had received many acknowledgments and recognition for all that he has done for the Island of Aruba, but you know, something that not many people know, is that for my Grandfather there was nothing more fulfilling than that first “Emergency Broadcast” he had done during that bizarre day in October of 54.
The Man behind the Pirate
7. Were you inspired by your grandfather to pursue radio in his footsteps?
You know Bill, to be honest to you,.. I was always inspired by my grandfather, he was a very intelligent, well traveled person. He always had the most interesting stories to tell me when I was growing up. I enjoyed spending time and learning from him. However, I have to say that I did not pursue radio broadcasting before Studio 69 and “The Pirate Shack” came about, yes, sure I used to sneak into the radio station and played music on the air, but I never thought of it as my future, I guess it is due to the fact that I like to be independent and I wanted to do my own thing instead of going into the family business. The fact that today I own my own Online Radio Station called “Studio 69 Online Radio Station Aruba”, is purely coincidental and a bi-product of 3 things; my hobby combined with the necessity to suppress sound from traveling in my office building or conversation from being overheard in adjacent office spaces. I guess the last contributing factor is the busy lifestyle that comes with being an entrepreneur led to the need to have a recording studio to pre-record our local program “Perspectiva Psicologico” which is being broadcasted every Wednesday night at Canal 90 since 2012.
Nevertheless, I do think somehow and in so many ways he has inspired and made it much easier for me to feel so comfortable behind a microphone, broadcasting and entertaining my fans with what I enjoy doing, in fact it is actually the way I relax and disconnect myself from my “real job”,… managing companies.…
Hmmm, but you know something Bill!!!,… How funny can it be,… after all these years, it isn’t until now, with this question of yours and this article, that I can finally understand what my grandfather’s quote “My obsession yet My Passion” really means.
8. What’s your goal with the Pirate shack? Are you trying to get the word out on Aruba through your show?
Considering all the facts that led to Studio 69 were purely coincidental and the fact that “The Pirate Shack” was originally the result of me being a “spoiled kid” who just liked to break in to his grandfather’s radio station just to play music with my friends, I would have to say that I did not have any goal for “The Pirate Shack” in the beginning, but now that the obsession has become my passion, I can’t tell you. The one sure thing I will tell you for sure is that it’s all up to the fans where they want “The Pirate Shack” to truly go. As for getting Aruba out there, well I am Aruban, I love my little Island, and yes, if I can help Aruba by spreading the word around the world, well that’s what I’ll keep doing.
9. How easy was it to open up a Radio station on Aruba?
First, I have to clarify that Studio 69 is an Online Radio Station broadcasting 24/7 from Aruba to the World, and is not a “Local Bandwidth Radio Station” and can only be heard online and not via “regular radio waves”. This means that all the local broadcasting permissions nor standard broadcasting equipment were not necessary or applicable for starting with Studio 69. In the case of Studio 69, we already had our recording studio and our “Company In-house Station” that I had hooked up to the recording studio and a local in-house amplifier. One particular day I needed to ask my good friend Elvis Kock who is the “sound engineer” for Canal 90 (my grandfather’s radio station) if he could come and do a special equalizing on my recording studio, while he was doing the equalization he told me,… “you know what Al,… did you know it is very easy for you to go live on the internet? You already have all the necessary equipment, it’s all hooked up and ready to go,… you only need one small little thing to do it with a good quality” Well of course my first question as a businessman was,… “How much is this hobby going to cost me???” hahahaha,… with a big smile on his face he told me “$35.00 and I have a spare one in my car”,… I guess to answer your question, it was very easy for me, and it only cost me an additional $35.00… hahahahaha,…
10. Do you have a local audience or is your audience global?
I would have to say, since it all started out with me and my friends playing music on the radio, I would like to say that my biggest audience is local, but the reality is that since we started broadcasting online, it has opened up a global audience and now it seems that “The Pirate Shack” and Studio 69 is building a much bigger audience all around the world. Some countries we know that are listening to our programming online are: Aruba, United States of America, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Kenya, Brazil, Argentina, Panama, Israel, France, Mexico, Greece and Suriname.
11. How has the feedback been from your audience in Aruba?
The most common feedback we receive at “The Pirate Shack” is that they love the program and enjoy the music. Some tell us about their experience while in Aruba, and they like that we have “The Tourist Event Section” where they can find out in advance all the events that are going to be happening on the Island of Aruba. The best part about it is that they have been informed about things to do before they arrive to the island and that has helped them to enjoy the local events that normally tourist don’t get to hear about.
12. What are your long term goals with your show?
Well Bill, like I said, “The Pirate Shack” is the way I “de-stressify myself” and relax from my daily life,… We don’t really have a long term goal for “The Pirate Shack” yet and it really all depends on the fans to decide the true faith and goal of the program, but the one thing I can assure you is that I will keep bringing “The Pirate Shack” for the fans as I’ve been doing and enjoying playing all types of music for them. So, as for the long term goal!!! I guess we will be on the air presenting “The Pirate Shack” for the time being…
13. Do you recommend your show to tourists about getting the word out on Aruba?
Yes, I highly recommend for the tourist to listen to “The Pirate Shack” every Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting at 9 pm local Aruban time (GMT -4) on Studio 69 Online Radio Station so they can find out what Aruba is all about and why it is nicknamed “The One Happy Island”…. And who knows,… maybe someday they will actually be able to enjoy Aruba like the locals do.
14. You’re on 3 nights a week do you plan on doing your show on the weekends sometime in the future?
Hahahaha, that is a very common question that I get asked often by the fans. I honestly have to say that there are some thoughts being put in to that we are considering it or doing something totally different during the weekend, but nothing is set in stone yet… I guess it all boils down to what the fans want, after all without the fans, there can be no Pirate Shack… 😉
15. Is there anything you would like to share with your Audience regarding any up coming shows or events that they should tune in for?
Well, to just tune in to Studio 69 Online Radio Station every day, and “The Pirate Shack” for all the upcoming events on Aruba so they know in advance what’s happening and where to go, what to do while visiting the Island of Aruba… and if they happened to miss the show, well then they can always go to our collaborating web page www.ArubaTripTips.com for any additional information about Aruba.
16. Where do you see yourself and your show in 5 years?
Hmmm,.. where do I see myself and the show in 5 years,… well, as for Studio 69; our online radio station,… we have big plans and with some innovative ideas in Radio Broadcasting that will revolutionize this industry in a couple of years, as for me as an entrepreneur I would hope to be getting ready to retire and hopefully passing my wisdom to my son, having more time to enjoy the good things life has to offer, to enjoy quality time with my better half,… hahahaha,… if all of this goes according to plan, well I’ll be having much more time on hand, so I guess there will be much more of “The Pirate Shack” on the air…
I guess my grandfather said it well,… Music Radio Broadcasting, it’s an “obsessive passion”
Our hats off to our good friend Aldrich Marchena, a.k.a Captain Al and a tremendous thank you for allowing us here at Aruba Tip Tips for sharing some very personal, inspirational and fascinating insight into a truly rich past. Our debt is to your Grandfather and your shared passion we now enjoy today. So there you have it folks if your looking for a true pirate of the Caribbean who enjoys sharing his treasure with everyone, his beloved Aruba, check him out on Studio 69 Online Radio Station. He’s not only entertaining but is also a great source of information and can be heard 3 nights a week. We are also proud to announce that we will be partnering with Captain Al and the Pirate shack to get the word out on Aruba so please check us out if you’re interested in planning a trip…..Masha Danki Capitan Al!
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Written By Bill M.