PILOT MOUNTAIN — A new downtown venture is seeking to utilize the diverse personalities of its owners through the medium of internet radio. But while the approach of Debra Jayne East and Rachel Love may be different, they have managed to blend similar interests into a multi-faceted business.
The duo has launched Skywatcher Studio from a small space at 114 W. Main St., Suite C, located adjacent to the First Citizens Bank parking lot. The effort combines a pair of internet radio platforms, East’s Skywatcher Radio and Love’s Starseed Alliance, under one umbrella site.
A Westfield resident for some 28 years, Debra Jayne East has long followed her station’s motto of “watching the skies over North Carolina and all over the world.”
East traces her interest in unidentified flying objects to a pair of experiences shared with her family while growing up in Hillsville, Virginia. She vividly recalls when, at the age of 12, her father had called the family to the porch of their home. Alerted by the barking of the family dog, he had spotted a large “saucer-shaped” object with multi-colored lights. They watched, East remembered, as the object hovered for about 10 minutes before moving away.
Some six years later, she recalled, her family experienced a similar sighting. This time she urged her father to “call someone.”
“He told me we couldn’t do that,” she said. “He said ‘they’ll think we’re crazy.’ That stuck with me.”
East described another sighting, this near her Westfield home some 15 years ago. She and her son saw in the night sky a trio of triangular objects with flashing lights. She said numerous sightings were reported in the area that night, a situation referred to by those who investigate unidentified flying objects as a “flap.”
A studious note-taker who is admittedly more reserved than her partner, East now uses her on-air internet presence to interview others from across the world who claim to have experienced sightings and abductions and UFO investigators, lobbyists and authors.
“Now,” she said, “there are doctors, scientists, engineers and military personnel who are willing to talk about what they’ve seen. There’s a worldwide movement for information with more and more coming forward.
“I’m not there to tell anyone that what they saw was or wasn’t true or what to think about it,” she explained, “but only to talk about their experience. I want the interview to be a safe place, non-judgmental, without being thought of as odd or crazy.”
East was able to bring her interest in to the airwaves after meeting Love.
A self-described “modern-day hippie and free spirit who speaks my mind,” Love had grown up in Southern California. She had worked for 27 years in the coal and nuclear energy field before retiring.
But it was in Arkansas that she discovered the power of radio, doing promotional spots for the town of Eureka Springs and its area businesses. She eventually began to focus on her own interests, becoming an on-air personality by talking about human rights, child abuse and spirituality.
“I did several shows,” she recalled, “and even played with comedy. I thought it was important to focus on being true to oneself, to be authentic and to follow our own destiny. Our own truth is inside us.”
Her shows also included guests from diverse fields as she sought to bring people together over shared interests.
“I connect dots with different people to make beautiful pictures,” she described.
She first met East, who also authors paranormal romance novels, after inviting her to be a guest on her show some two years ago. The two continued to communicate and some nine months ago came together on another of Love’s shows, again to talk about East’s books. That eventually led them to bring together Skywatcher Radio and Starseed Alliance, whose motto is “We are one.”
The venture was initially launched under another station but the pair has since decided to take over full ownership, including operations and promotion. In addition to her on-air duties, Love serves as producer for the shows. Formats include Skype interviews from across the country and beyond as well as music, call-ins and promotional work. Both hope to soon include live interviews from the Pilot Mountain studio.
“Rachel has a knack for talking to people and drawing them out,” East explained. “And people think it’s cool to hear a southern girl like me get on the radio and talk about UFOs.”
As of July 1, the site has been on air at skywatcherstudio.com. Skywatcher Studio can also be reached at 351-3759 or East and Love invite interested locals to stop by the studio.