I began running radio stations online back in 2005 at which time I was told by a 'radio expert' that they could never work because they were unsustainable as a 'business model'. Undeterred, by 2008, we were backstage at the Glastonbury Festival, interviewing some of the biggest names in pop and rock music with my second online network venture, Glastonbury Radio! (Which launched in 2007 with a live concert by legendary guitarist Gordon Giltrap)
The following year 2009, we were in a luxury Winnibago in the VIP area at the festival with a number of celebrity guests including astrologer Russell Grant, who was later smuggled into the backstage dressing room area, to conduct a Tarot reading for The Boss himself before his headline set!
It seemed obvious to me even back then, that online radio could cater for an audience not covered by mainstream FM stations, especially as many of the larger FM networks, were moving away from 'local' broadcasting to become part of large global and national organisations, who at the same time, would be closing down opportunities for indie artists and unknown bands.
The online radio stations were initially struggling to survive on little or no income and, because of those low listener numbers, no sponsorship, or any advertising income. It quickly became obvious to me, that listeners needed to be made aware of just how entertaining online radio could be, because it wasn't governed by organisations such as Ofcom, so we had no real restrictions on what we could say or play! My own Friday night talk show Now THAT'S Weird, covering the paranormal, UFO's and conspiracies, started to achieve global syndication and within a few months was challenging the mighty Coast to Coast AM in the USA for listeners, before being commissioned as a TV series! People were hearing a whole new kind of radio on their computers, mobile devices and even via specialist-built Internet Radio receivers from manufacturers who could also now see its potential!
In recent years, online stations have been cropping-up right across the world, many running paranormal/conspiracy programming, but many more supporting great new music from unsigned or independent artists, and the listeners are flocking to them because many are bored with the same old songs emitting from the feeds of mainstream FM networks.
We were also part of a trend working alongside the likes of PPL, for music licencing that online broadcasters could afford and that could be easily documented. This would eventually see these indie (and more established) artists, actually getting paid when their music was broadcast online, but at a rate the Internet broadcasters could sustain. In turn, advertisers and sponsors started to see the potential of these new stations, and a working 'business model' had been created!
So to bring me to the point of today's blog, THIS is the very reason Tim and I have painstakenly tried to locate submission addresses for as many online radio stations as we can find around the world, to make sure they get copies of our album, BEFORE most of the FM networks, most of whom, probably wouldn't give indiependent artists the time of day anyway!
So, to online broadcasters, may we use the words of a certain Mr Spock.... May you all live long and prosper!
Ross Hemsworth Songwriter/Producer/Occasional Trekkie!