80s radio on the web -- anything but lame

4

March

We know the feeling: If the radio plays Sunglasses At Night one more time, you're going to drive to the station and burn it to the ground. (At least that's what three of the voices in my head keep saying -- the other four are undecided on the method of destruction.) Turns out there is an alternative -- Internet radio stations. The web has several services that allow music freaks to program their own music for "broadcast" over the Web.

David Peterkofsky, the fan who created the opening credits for our Stuck in the 80s podcast, operates one Internet radio station -- Memory LAME (click here to listen)-- from his home in Oakland, Calif.

I asked him recently to explain his hobby.

Stuck in 80s: Why an all 80s station? I mean, you know I love the 80s, but is there a still larger, untapped audience?

David: "I think a lot of the 'regular' radio stations that play 80s hits tend to focus on the overplayed, safe choices -- think Hungry Like the Wolf, Come On Eileen, Addicted to Love and the other usual suspects. Those are good tunes, but I created my station because I love to hear Top 40 hits from that era that have fallen through the cracks over the years. There are plenty of songs that were big (or moderate) hits 20 or more years ago but get no airplay at all these days. The idea of the station is to get the listener to smack their forehead and say 'Oh yeah!' when they hear some of the songs I play."

Stuck in 80s: How much work does it take to operation an internet radio station? Is there any revenue there?

David: "My station operates via Live365, a service that lets anyone create their own Internet radio station, and it's just a hobby so I'm not looking to make any money off of it. Operating the station pretty much just consists of swapping out songs in the playlist every now and then to keep things relatively fresh. It's a fun diversion."

Stuck in 80s: OK, hotshot, name some of the forgotten 80s hits.

David: "I gravitate toward less-obvious songs such as You Don't Want Me Anymore, a top 20 hit for the band Steel Breeze from 1982, or Breakin' (There's No Stoppin' Us) by Ollie & Jerry, a top 10 hit in 1984. People also forget how 1970s-style soft rock was still going strong in the early part of the decade, songs like Cool Night by Paul Davis from 1981, so I play some of that 'housewife rock,' too. If people like hearing them, that's great -- and if they don't, they might still get a kick out of hearing songs that haven't aged all that well or weren't so hot to begin with.

"There's a reason the station is called Memory LAME Radio. The songs in the playlist aren't all winners. Listening to the station is kind of like looking at an 80s-era high school yearbook and wondering how those hairstyles and clothes could have ever been popular in the first place."

Want to try out some other Internet radio stations? Peterkofsky recommends these:
-- Club 977
-- Flashback Alternatives
-- Java Jane's World
-- Iceberg Radio

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:16pm]

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