Radio Guide: WOXY was a terrestrial radio station for 21 years. Now it's only available online. How did that come about?
Miller: 97X has been broadcasting online since 1998, and for the past several years, nearly all of our growth has been in that area. Doug and Linda Balogh, owners of WOXY-FM, decided that the time was right to sell the terrestrial FM broadcast license and equipment, but had the insight to not include the intellectual property of 97X or Woxy.com in the deal.
We kept the logo, trademark, DJs, entire 11,000+ album music library and everything else that made 97X what it is. Really the only thing that was lost was the local frequency at 97.7 FM in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas. For listeners already tuning in via woxy.com, it's business as usual.
Radio Guide: What type of software and hardware are you using to stream your station now? Also: a ballpark estimate of what it cost you to set it up?
Miller: We use a variety of off-the-shelf and custom software and hardware to keep 97X running. The transmission chain is 100% digital from the hard disk music storage system through the Harris digital broadcast console, Orban Optimod broadcast processor, Windows Media/MP3 streaming encoders all the way to the end user. It's quite a bit more than you would typically find at an Internet-only radio station, but most Internet-only radio stations don't have DJ's doing live shifts 14 hours a day. The need for a full broadcast studio added significantly to the overall complexity and costs.
Radio Guide: Is your format online the same as when WOXY was a terrestrial station? What if any changes to your format did you make going online and why?
Miller: The online-only 97X will be completely recognizable to longtime listeners. But we've become even more adventurous and aggressive when it comes to exposing new music. We're playing more new artists, and we're going deeper on their albums. If we really believe in an artist, we'll play nearly everything off the CD as compared to the standard radio practice of only emphasizing one or two "singles."
I think listeners have different expectations when it comes to Internet radio -- they expect to discover new music -- so we have to go push even further than we did when on the FM dial. Listeners will also notice the lack of commercials.