Radio Host JJ Pearson Recalls the Glory Days (and Welcomes the Future) of “Punk on the Rock”

By JJ Pearson |

Saltspring was more than a place for me. It was a lifelong dream to land on the rock with a little cafe or bed & breakfast since I was an 11 year old boy.

I was at my desk in the storeroom of my cafe in Indianapolis and I was less than satisfied with the growth of my little business empire , so I googled “business for sale, Saltspring Island.” I found what I thought was the perfect situation. I convinced my wife and family that it was the thing to do. My wife let me leave and my brother and his wife agreed to help me on what was planned as a possible three-year mission to establish my business of a bistro simply called “Beach,” named after our family’s vacation home on the Stacy family’s “Rainbow Beach Resort” next to Booth Bay. Eventually my wife, niece, nephew, four dogs, two cats, two Rats, a turtle & two fish were going to make the big move once I had the business established.

Right from the beginning it was obvious that I was severely under-funded for the endeavor which made the day-to-day operations rather stressful. Couple that with living in the converted attic of an outdoor workshop I affectionately called “the barn.” My only escape from the stresses were my nightly swims at the public pool on Rainbow Road and cuddling with my brother’s dog “Lila.”

I had been tuning into Green FM’s Saltspring Island radio at the restaurant daily  to give the place a local feel. I loved how one hour you could be listening to classical or jazz and then the next program was Farsi techno dance shuffle. You never knew what you were going to get when it came to CFSI.

I can’t remember exactly  how it first came about but  I was approached by the people at CFSI about using my Beach Patio for a weekly live remote during the now infamous Saturday Market. For my troubles I was offered some advertising spots and was told (rather matter of factly) I could probably  have a radio show if I wanted.


Me being a born-and-raised show-off, ex-touring punk rock drummer, guitar slinging, singing, cooking-crazy man I thought, “I have arrived at nirvana.”

Radha brought me in and gave me the crash course Radio DJ training program which consisted of her holding my hand (spiritually & physically) for a few nights to figure out how to run the SAM radio controls and away I ran!

Wednesday nights At 9:00 were mine!

“Punk on the rock” was my vehicle to bring my road stories and some of my favorite music growing up to my new friends and family on Saltspring. I loved preparing for my show, planning my playlist and trying to remember some funny anecdotes of my punk rock touring days. I threw in a generous portion of  selfish self promotion of my restaurant and some of the music I had recorded over the years and away I ran.

I had my theme song picked, I had my intro worked out: “Coming to you LIVE from HIGH atop the Merchant Mews Complex in beautiful Ganges, on the Island we call The Rock in the Salish Sea, it’s Punk on The Rock and I’m your host JJ Pearson!!!!”

I have arrived!!

After the inevitable demise of my little dream restaurant, my dear friend and aforementioned radio teaching guru Radha told me (I left the island and went back to Indianapolis to lick my wounds) I could still do my weekly show. I could inter webs in the shows, weekly, and Rahda would program them into the station’s playlist and “Voila” I was still in the radio show business!!

It was a sad day when Radha told me that no matter how hard all the people on Saltspring island radio tried  & that due to absentee ownership and lack of funding that Green FM was closing down. Maybe someday she would be able to get some people in the community together and make it happen again.

I sure do hope that Radha is successful in putting together the right people to successfully build another cultural-mosaic community radio station, not only for my selfish wishes of having my own show but for a forum to highlight the true beauty of that wonderful happy place known as Saltspring that we islanders call “The Rock.”