By: Kiera Mitru
About a year ago New Jersey natives Mairéad Mitru and Nick Gomez teamed up to bring their vision of an online alternative radio station to life. During the early stages of quarantine, malt. started on Instagram as a series of playlists updated daily with rising alternative talent. It’s since developed into a multi-platform brand surrounding a 24/7 online radio stream. The Jersey-City based duo met at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey at the school’s critically-acclaimed radio station Brave New Radio. Co-creator of the alt music brand Nick Gomez admits that “We started malt. Radio because we were tired of all the modern rock being played on falsely proclaimed ‘alternative’ radio stations in the area.”
The malt. team aims to promote small artists with big potential. Co-creator Mairéad Mitru has always found herself enjoying smaller artists but has recognized that a majority of their journeys include countless obstacles. Mitru shares that “malt. is a culmination of my passions. I believe that the alternative genre is home to wildly talented groups who don’t always get the same platform as bigger mainstream artists. We found that this is our way to support them and their voices.”
As the Music Director at Brave New Radio in college Mairéad would find smaller artists that fit the station’s alt rock-based sound and predicted new trends. As a part of the Wayne, New Jersey community, the radio station team would host local bands to perform live on air throughout the semester as well as during their annual simulcast. Named “Braveathon,” this event was a great way for local artists to share their talents utilizing the campus’ resources. Along with several other student artists, the bands they featured included Switch Mob, A Boy Named John and Secret Mountain. The top of every hour in the broadcast brought a televised performance from a local artist followed by an interview giving them the space to get their music and their message out to an audience.
Nick Gomez was the Program Director of the station, overseeing the experience of the Brave New Radio brand. In keeping up with the social media, internet and on-air activity of the college radio team, Gomez gained the tools necessary to build a brand of his own. Reflecting on his growth since working in the communications department at William Paterson, Gomez observes “We wanted to keep doing and keep building on what we did at Brave New Radio. We now have a better understanding of the radio industry and a larger network to connect with which has been really helpful.”
In their recent work, Nick and Mairead are proud of their partnership with Brooklyn-based band The Backfires, a group of college students who had reached out to malt. to collaborate on announcing the release of their first album. The Backfires recorded and produced their project independently, the support and exposure from malt being crucial to the growth of their fanbase and their amount of exposure.
From their careers in college radio to their careers with professional media outlets including iHeart Radio, SiriusXM and Entercom, the duo has continued to learn and thrive in the radio industry. The modern alternative continues to grow and change like each of us, and there’s something out there for everyone. Be sure to check out malt on Instagram and Spotify and listen to live radio on officialmalt.com to find your next favorite song.