Monday, January 25, 2010

It's All Just a Little Bit of History Repeating....

It’s odd that on the day that the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons when it comes to first amendment rights, the corporation that I worked for died. There will be no funeral or burial for Air America, just a lot of people either mourning its loss or cheering its demise, and Monday morning quarterbacking why and how it failed.

All I know is that I’ve been here before. A couple of times.
Many of my listeners know that I came to talk radio from the music side. I had the opportunity to be part of a radio station in Los Angeles that was truly a treasure. KSCA fm 101.9 was the last station owned by Gene Autry’s Golden West Broadcasters. As his health was failing and the radio consolidation boom was in full explosion mode, Jackie Autry pulled the plug on LA’s Finest Rock.

We had some warning, and we held a wake. I still get emails from listeners asking me if there’s anything like KSCA anywhere. (Yes, but that’s a story for another day…)

A few years later, I was fortunate to be in on the start up of another “Triple A” station in Los Angeles. Clear Channel had decided to take two small signals, both at 103.1 FM, and simulcast an adult alternative format on them, and hired me as Music Director/Afternoon host. Channel 103.1 wasn’t quite KSCA, but it was still a wonderful radio station… until consolidation got the best of us again.

When Clear Channel merged with another broadcasting behemoth, the resulting mega group had too many stations in Los Angeles, and some had to be divested. My station included!

However, by that time, the internet boom was in full swing, and we were a unique format– a type of music station that wasn’t in every city. Clear Channel had recently launched their internet department, and I made the case to my boss that we could make history as the first radio station to go from a terrestrial signal to internet only. Much to my pleasure and surprise, they decided to do it!

You can read my account of the transition, the Chicago Tribune’s coverage, Washington Post, NY Times… You get the idea. We were the first. We were revolutionary. We made news.

We were too early! The dot com bust happened less than a year after the transition, and the door was shut on in August 2001.

I’ve seen too many radio entities, into which I had put my heart and soul, die.

It’s now ten years after my first radio to internet only venture failed. We’ve reached new levels of connectivity and technology that makes it possible to pick up internet radio. The Consumer Electronics Show held just a few weeks ago featured a new in-dash wifi internet radio, as detailed in this Consumer Reports article, and I constantly hear from listeners who are hearing my show on their iPhones.

So, here we go again. This time, I hope, we’re right on time!

When you log back on to, you’ll notice a brand new website (thanks to the amazing Heather Chase!). Now that I’m my own boss again, I’ll give myself a better time slot, so I can get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

So, starting tonight, The Nicole Sandler Show will be live from 6-8pm ET/3-5pm PT. While I figure out the best solution for audio streaming, you’ll be able to watch and listen to the show live via the ustream link embedded directly into the RadioOrNot website.

Shortly after the end of the show, the video will be archived, and the audio stream will be ready for podcasting or downloading.

There’s obviously still a lot of work to be done, and speed bumps to traverse. I hope you’ll check out the new website, and feel free to send any bugs you find, or suggestions about how to make it better. Stay tuned for info about the audio stream in the next few days. And please help spread the word. This can only work if you help!

That said, should you in a position to help financially and are so inclined, The Nicole Sandler Show is now listener supported.  There’s a paypal link in the upper right hand corner of the page. All contributions are truly appreciated!

My show will also be available for radio stations to run. Please feel free to call or write you local station and suggest they carry it!

Thanks again for all the wonderful emails and kind thoughts since we got the news. They mean more to me than I can express.

As long as you want to hear the show, we’ll keep going…. Radio or not….


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