By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Mar 05, 2008 at 5:13 AM

Milwaukee has no shortage of promising musicians. Bands like Maritime, Call Me Lightning and Codebreaker and artists like J. Todd and Element are gaining national momentum, but are they fully recognized for their efforts on their home turf?

Non-commercial station 88Nine RadioMilwaukee likes to think so. It's been a year since the station launched, offering ample air space to the musicians who help put Milwaukee on the map.

The station celebrates with a big ol' birthday party Saturday at MOCT, 240 E. Pittsburgh Ave. Famed Milwaukee DJs Madhatter, Kid Cut Up, Old Man Malcolm and The Glamour man the turntables from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m., and raffle prizes include a Milwaukee-made music collection and a Lakefront Brewery barrel party.

In the past 12 months, RadioMilwaukee has spotlighted local music, notching 5,374 spins of 111 songs by 50 area bands, including De La Buena, Fever Marlene, Kid Millions and Northern Room.

"Each band says something different about the city because the summary view shows such tremendous diversity and a sophisticated aesthetic," says J. Mikel Ellcessor, Executive Director of Radio For Milwaukee, the non-profit organization that operates the station.

"The latest from Arrested Development brings it full circle because they represent Milwaukee's range and ability to present very relevant music. This doesn't even scratch the surface of the audience's response to '414 Music.'"

DJ Scott Mullins' "414 Music" show, which airs 2 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, hosts a live Milwaukee band in the studio each Friday at 5 p.m. This year, Mullins welcomed and interviewed Certain Stars, Testa Rosa and 1956.

"Longevity and focus bring their own unique impact," says Ellcessor. "With '414 Music' at prime time every Friday and Milwaukee music on the air every hour, every day, 88Nine is able to sustain a base of exposure that helps a regional scene take deeper root with a broader community base."

More than 1,000 people donated to the non-profit RadioMilwaukee since it debuted in February 2007 and Ellcessor says about 100 area businesses help underwrite the station. 

"Our goal has been to reflect Milwaukee back to itself, and we are showing that people from across communities will gather around vibrant, culturally relevant music," Ellcessor says.

"Our approach is completely custom-made for Milwaukee and like nothing else in the country. We're incredibly appreciative of how Milwaukee has embraced the new station. It speaks volumes of Milwaukeeans' sense of adventure and fun."

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”