Fort Lauderdale is for sun burnt boaters equipped with Guy Harvey shirts and sporty boat shoes. The sort who want to dock, eat cheap seafood, drink, fuck, and go back to their families the day after. Or, it’s a place to retire and die. These are a few of the happier comments that my brother would have to hear, as I sat in a fit of boredom amidst possibly one of the worst cities for folks under the age of 21. (Mind you, the beach gets rather boring after 10 years.) His response would either be: Go get something to eat; Get a cup of coffee; or Go to CD Collector. Often I would choose the latter and schlep myself through the heat all the way to the epic confines that is… CD Collector. On a good day, this would be a 30 minute walk, considering it would be a couple of years before I owned a car. But the trek was always worth it. After all, for entertainment, this was all I had and this was all South Florida had to offer in terms of a real record store.
Its safe to say that without this venue, I wouldnt know half the music I listen to now. I wouldnt know such greats as Joy Division, Johnny Cash, The Talking Heads, TV on The Radio, The Velvet Underground, New Order, or even The White Stripes. This knowledge was all given to me by a man who played the polar opposite of the traditional Fort Lauderdale individual. Instead of a Guy Harvey shirt, he sported a tight plain black shirt. Instead of short shorts, the kind that advertise burnt skin and far too much pubic hair, he sported tight ripped jeans. He also traded the atypical Sperrys for good ol’ fashioned Chuck Taylors. These are the ingredients in which make up co-owner Mikey Ramirez.
Keep in mind, when I was a younger I had ADHD, held conversations that would only interest a wall, and a pocket full of lent and pennies. I wasnt the ideal customer. Ramirez didn’t mind, however. He not only became my therapist of the daily angst ridden bull shit of my life (aka my teenage years), but the guy who introduced me to what I love the most to this day: music.
Over time, CD Collector became Radio-Active Records, and now stands as one of the most successful record stores in all of South Florida. People flock from Miami Beach, Palm Beach, and the greater North Florida area just to walk through its doors.
Recently, I had the chance to have an interview with the brains of this operation, the aforementioned Mikey Ramirez. The two of us have held several discussions before, but this time we focused solely on him and his current growing enterprise. He digressed on what his 21st century record store has to offer to its customers and what’s been on his mind:
With the dawn of a new era glowing in our faces and computer programs such as iTunes, Rhapsody…etc now being accessible directly from the palm of our hands (i.e iPhones, Androids and the lineup of other smart phones and mp3 players) what makes Radio-Active Records so different?
Radio-Active Records prides itself on making strong and personal connections with our customer base and providing a wide range of quality products at fair retail prices. The personal shopping experience can only go so far through the concept of smartphones and online shopping. We have worked very hard to provide a positive retail atmosphere for our extremely loyal clientele.
Do you ever see yourself owning too many records?
Of course; it’s already happened.
What was the first record you bought that changed your outlook on what music had to offer?
Hard question to answer. I remember one of my first LP purchases was Genesis’ A Trick Of The Tail which will always remain one of my favorite albums. Other notable releases would be John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, The Chameleons’ Strange Times, and Skinny Puppy’s Last Rights.
What are your Top Five Records?
This changes weekly, but in no particular order: Alice Coltrane’s Huntington Ashram Monastery, Pink Floyd’s The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Killing Joke’s Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, Can’s Tago Mago, and Joy Division’s Closer.
Opposed to listening to mp3s and cds… what makes listening to records, let alone purchasing records, so different? Is it emotional? Is it nostalgic?
It is very emotional but not nostalgic for me. Nostalgic is too much of a “throwback” word whereas vinyl is still the preferred format for many listeners.
What are you listening to as of right now?
My recent purchases include Serena Maneesh’s No. 2, Nebraska’s Mixed Up Music For Mixed Up People, Primal Scream’s Vanishing Point, Wooden Shjips’ Volume 2, V/A’s Minimal Wave Tapes, Young Jazz Rebels’ Slave Riot, Gonjasufi’s A Sufi & A Killer, Pantha Du Prince’s Black Noise, Polar Bear’s Peepers, and Lindstrom’s Real Life Is No Cool.
Any recommendations for future purchases?
Check our new release blog at www.radio-active-records.com
Where do you want to see Radio-Active Records in five years?
In addition to supplying South Florida with its record buying needs, Radio-Active Records serves as a venue for up and coming acts. So if you’re lucky, Ramirez will host a few shows, where buyers will see a prospective hot indie act, while you’re scoping for your current or past favorites on vinyl. It’s sort of a win-win deal.
1930 East Sunrise Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304-1477
To view a complete schedule of upcoming events, click here.