Internet Radio hascontinuedto improve assoftware and hardware technologies have matured. Today, more than ever, computer users are more comfortable and enthusiastic about turning to the Internet for webcasts that fulfill their musical and informational needs.
80sNow.com isnew, but it's a powerful testament to how good a 'Net stream can really be. Your Radio Guide recently posed a few questions to 80sNow.com's Jeffrey T. Mason
Radio Guide: I just finished listening to 80's Now Dot Com. It's a kick-ass station! How did it come about? A little history...
Jeffrey T. Mason: In late 1998, I was hired by Big City Radio in Chicago. I, along with Chris Shebel and Steve Davis, conceptualized, built, and signed-on America's FIRST true 80's radio station - "The 80's Channel - 103.1 WXXY" in Chicago. Star 107.9 in Columbus, Ohio WAS doing 80's first. BUT, it was more of a "70's 80's and 90's" station with an 80's LEAN. Anyway, WXXY was a true broad-spectrum MAINSTREAM 1980's CHR. ABC/Disney signed on their version of the 80's format a year or so later, and their 50,000 signal shadowed our 6,000 watts. So, the company decided to bail on the format. We had such a passionate audience - both in Chicago AND on the internet. It truly was an awesome radio station. It's never been done that well since. In fact, the "format" as a whole has failed, generally speaking. Nobody was doing it right. That is why I decided to build 80's Now Dot Com! In early 2003, I was between jobs, with a lot of free time on my hands. SO, I started putting the project together. And now, it's finally online!
Radio Guide: What kind of equipment/software do you use?
Jeffrey T. Mason: 80's Now Dot Com is self-contained in my home office/studio, in a PC that I built specifically for the project. At this time, there are no jocks (live OR voicetracked). So, no studio equipment is being utilized. Just a couple 40 gig hard drives (filled with about 2000 songs), a cable modem, and a network router. For automation, processing, AND stream encoding, I am using a program called DRS2006. They are an overseas outfit, and do a pretty decent job with getting me from point A to point B. Their website is www.drs2006.com. I produce all my imaging here in the studio using Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit Pro).
Radio Guide: Do you think the time is right for an Internet-only station to be able to compete for a particular market share...or do you think Internet streams must still aim for a global audience for numbers?
Jeffrey T. Mason: Well, I use Chicago as my "city of license" on 80's Now. Sure, they aren't necessary on the internet, but it draws a parallel with the former WXXY. Although, I am NOT targetting Chicago, but the entire world. In our first day or 2 of netcasting, I have gotten hits from lots of places - like New York, DC, Plano TX, Chicago, and even the Netherlands. Word travels FAST! With the dawn of wireless internet, maybe we'll see the start of more competition with "terrestrial" stations (as the satellite corporations like to call them) for market share. But, I doubt Arbitron - or any variance of a ratings company - will acknowledge BOTH terrestrial and internet in the same system for quite some time.