My venture into radio, “the Innocent Age” was an idea that came to fruition nine years ago. I started on a local High School station as a “volunteer”. I had quite a few local “loyal listeners” but made many new friends when we started streaming on the Internet. I was very proud of the shows I put together, but it was time consuming, almost the equivalent of a full day to prepare a show. I got the opportunity to do the show a second night in Cleveland on a small AM station. While I wasn’t a volunteer, I wasn’t an employee either, and didn’t get paid for my efforts. When my first program director’s ego finally got the best of him, my work load was cut in half. It didn’t take much longer to figure out that passionate, romantic fools like myself were often taken advantage of. I started doing phone interviews with artists I had admired and while I never knew how big of an audience I had, I knew my emails were ever increasing and even started to get phone messages left for me at the station.
Then along came CARP. Being in the business world made me realize what was coming. The threats and intimidation were aimed at controlling this fledgling Internet radio nuisance before it got out of hand. Why, stations were actually attracting audiences by playing music that the “industry” had no interest in selling. I had suspected for years that the thinly veiled collusion between commercial radio and the music industry was responsible for the repetitive play lists and increased commercials while most hosts were told to talk less or leave. While I didn’t have a “paid gig” it was one that I controlled in the sense that I played and said whatever I wanted.
I remember back in 2002, opening each show and repeating several times about the potential demise of Internet radio. Many stations were scared off, which was the intent, including the station I was on. When my show went “dark”, I felt a tremendous sense of loss. Not only losing contact with the listeners, but also with the new friends I made who had once entertained me. But I left knowing I touched a lot of lives, and brought back memories to a lot of people who love this music like I do.
Several years passed and I gathered the courage to try again and was fortunate to find Cornelius Gould, the owner of LegatoCafe.net. I told him I would like to build my own Internet station and asked for his help. He very graciously and generously agreed. It’s been almost two years, and I’m now on the cusp of achieving my goal. This past week was a blast. Phone calls back and forth with Mike Clifford and notifying people of the “World Premiere” that was about to happen. Imagine the shock I felt as I read about the decision and the potential financial liabilities involved with moving forward. And this time around, the negative implications are far worse than in 2002.
So now I’m once again appealing to you to call your elected officials to save Internet radio. Without an amazing appeals process, it would seem the days of listening to radio on the Internet for free are over. Since I’ve got almost 5 years of experience working for nothing, even if I wind up asking for a small charge to survive, the intention will be to cover my costs, not to make me the next Mark Cuban. We are facing this crisis once again and for the same reasons: greed and arrogance.
Why do I do this? Check out the Frankie Avalon video of Venus here on the blog. You’ll see Dick Clark standing next to the prominent picture of Beechnut spearmint gum. Then, one by one he slides the cards back on the Top 10 songs of the week until he gets to number ONE. Those images should conjure up memories of chewing a lot of gum, making
gum chains and mailing them in. I’ve heard from listeners that got free records for sending in those gum chains and still have them. These are the kind of memories that the bottom line, big business boys simply don’t understand. Listening to the radio, buying 45’s and tracking them on the free radio “surveys” in the record store were things we looked forward to every week.
Our generation participated in the creation and evolution of rock and roll. Yet our reward for all the records, tapes and CD’s we’ve purchased, and all the concert tickets and t-shirts we bought in support our favorite artists is to be completely ignored and abandoned by both the music industry and radio. Despite the obvious fact that “Boomers” have more casual money to spend than any other age group in the history of our country, we have been cast aside and ignored.
I work VERY hard to create the weekly shows, this BLOG and planning for the new station. I do it because I LOVE the music, I cherish the time of my life when these songs were so special to me, and because this slice of American history should be preserved so future generations know of our experiences.
I promise to bring up our station, even if we have to charge something to pay the absurd rates we’ll be forced to pay. I’ll do it even if I’m the only one listening, because I refuse to give in to the bullying, intimidation and threats any longer. I respect the fact that they own the rights to the music, but they should respect the fact that they would have NOTHING without us, the listening public. Of course, they don’t respect any of us, or the artists they represent, they only respect money.
When you listen to our broadcasts, everything is legal and paid for. Music owners, licensing agencies, profits for the “middle men” like Live365 and Loudcity all come from us, and most of us do so for no personal gain. Then bandwidth and technology costs are paid on TOP of what is collected. Can anyone convince me with any kind of rational argument how we present threat to these monopolies? They are getting paid what they asked for, but that’s still not good enough. They won’t be happy until they get rid of all of us. If they gain control of Internet radio, they’ll destroy it just like they did commercial radio and television. Please help us… don’t let them win!
Listen NOW to our station: Tunedex Memories