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It all began because there was nothing good to listen to on the radio... Broadcasting from a warehouse in San Francisco, our high quality MP3 internet broadcasts reach around the world. Rusty Hodge, SomaFM's founder, had been experimenting with online radio since 1995. After helping other companies with their streaming ... See more media operations, he decided that no one was going to create the online radio station he wanted to listen to, so he did it himself. We started testing the station in 1999, and officially launched SomaFM.com in February 2000. Drone Zone was our first station, Groove Salad our second, Secret Agent our third. Over time we would add more channels, now with 18 unique channels available (plus 2 annual holiday channels, and more in the works and ready to go as our resources allow). The station is going strong. We get over 5.8 million "listener hours" a month, which makes us one of the larger internet-only broadcasters. But we're not looking to increase our audience by playing more mainstream music. We look for music and formats that aren't available on commercial radio, or formats that are "not being done right" as Rusty puts it. We have always believed that there are plenty of people out there who would really get into the music we play once they discovered us. It seems that a lot of people agree, as we have garnered a lot of positive media coverage of SomaFM and had steady growth over the years. What exactly is SomaFM? We're a listener-supported, commercial-free internet-only radio station. This means no advertising or annoying commercial interruptions. Our mission is to search out and expose great new music to people who otherwise may never encounter it. Where does the name Soma come from? It's a play on words. Soma is the name of many things, but in our case is based on the future's perfect pleasure drug and the fact that we started broadcasting from San Francisco's South of Market underground club area, known also as SoMa. Who is behind SomaFM? Rusty Hodge, General Manager and Program Director Rusty is the founder of SomaFM as well as our General Manager and Program Director. He also is the music director for Groove Salad, Secret Agent, Drone Zone, Space Station Soma, Illinois Street Lounge and contributes to Cliqhop. He got started in radio during high school by operating a neighborhood micropower station, and later started producing daily programs and making them accessible over a telephone hotline. Rusty got involved with computers while managing his college radio station in the early '80s, when he developed software on an Apple II for handling station playlists. His professional experience includes work at radio stations in the Los Angeles area (KWOW and KWIZ), developing software for broadcasters, multimedia, and founding Hodge Interactive to put radio and TV stations on the web. It was only natural that eventually he would start his own internet radio station. Rusty has been collecting records since the mid '70s, bought his first ambient record in the '80s, and latched onto electronic ambient music right away when it started first appearing in the early '90s. Many of the records in his collection are now out of print and extremely hard to find. With the launch of SomaFM in 2000, Rusty's dream of his own station became a reality. Roy Batchelor, Music Director, Boot Liquor Roy Batchelor stumbled upon the format that comprises Boot Liquor via a circuitous route. Graduating from High School in the late '70s, radio stations throughout the country labeled his beloved music "classic rock" and conspired to play the same damn 20 songs over and over until he screamed in pain and was forced to find a new musical home. Fortunately, he discovered The Beat Farmers and, while mining all their various influences, realized that "country music" had been given an undeserved bad rap. Boot Liquor is proud to serve up songs about life, death, misery, broken hearts and broken bones. Elise Nordling, Music Director, Indie Pop Rocks! Elise Nordling came to SomaFM as the Music Director and DJ for Indie Pop Rocks! in 2001. Drawing on her many varied years of experience in the music industry, which include having worked as a record shop girl, music editor and reviewer, music festival employee, and for a digital music distributor, her passion for indie rock finds a perfect home at SomaFM. Well-known within the San Francisco live music scene and indie rock scenes in general, she prides herself in finding the best new bands and artists to air on Indie Pop Rocks! long before they can be heard anywhere else. Shawn Blosser, Music Director, Beat Blender Shawn Blosser started BeatBlender in the waning days of the dotcom boom of the late 1990's. Coworkers loved the music he played in his office at work and in response to their enthusiasm, Shawn set up an office Shoutcast server so they could enjoy his musical selections around the clock. After a few months of independent operation, BeatBlender became a regular channel on SomaFM. All the music on BeatBlender is handpicked from Shawn's extensive private collection of CDs. Tag Loomis, Music Director, Tag's Trip Tag's love of trance and broadcasting goes back a long way. In the early 1990's, he spent nights and weekends at a local radio station learning the ropes of broadcasting, and taking a few stabs at DJing on the Cable-FM band. Tag's Trance Trip started broadcasting back in '99. Tag's love of trance was an evolutionary gradient, beginning with mid-80's New Wave to pure Industrial. Sidestepping the Techno scene he went straight for Trance. Trance as a genre is hard to define, but for him, its the Deep Progressive and Ethereal sounds that get him moving. Tag's Trip joined SomaFM in October 2004. In addition to producing internet radio, Tag is most well known for his rewrite of the famous Shoutcast Server. Now residing in Northern Colorado (Fort Collins), he spends his non-music time developing Radio products and software for Liquid Compass LLC. DJ Lucretia, Music Director, Doomed Lucretia got her start in radio as a kid in the late 70s, playing punk rock on an underground station. She went on to host a show at the highly-rated college station KFJC during the late 80s, where she was immersed in the exploding industrial music scene. Her love of music dark and stompy had Lucretia spinning at the top San Francisco goth/industrial clubs all through the 90s, where she came to the attention of SomaFM's General Manager, Rusty Hodge. After her retirement from club DJing, SomaFM invited Lucretia to present her brand of eerie music to Doomed, where she now hosts the scariest music broadcast around. Nitya, Music Director, Sonic Universe Nitya is originally from Minneapolis but has lived in Seattle for over 30 years. He grew up in a home where jazz music was always playing, and began collecting jazz albums at age 12. Most of the music on Sonic Universe comes from Nitya's personal collection. In addition to his large CD library, he's developed relationships with artists who have provided him with rare live soundboard recordings. He attends local jazz festivals (Portland, Vancouver BC) and also regularly attends the Punkt Festival in Kristiansand, Norway. Merin McDonell, Marketing and Design Manager Merin has been involved in SomaFM from its inception, working on logo design, web design, station logos, photography, marketing materials, press materials, and more. Who knew that hours spent in bars and clubs, listening to music and dancing, would actually turn out to be work experience? Merin's professional experience also includes work for McKinsey & Company, NASA Ames Research Center, and several internet start-ups. Contributors Jim Bilodeau, Imaging Producer Jim has been toying with audio since he was a wee tyke trying to eat the microphone attached to his grandfather's camcorder in 1982. He's since been a slave to his ears. From performing in various musical ensembles in and around the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York to a Bachelors degree in Music Production from the Hartt School of Music in West Hartford, CT, he's fortunately kept to a strict diet of transistors, compressors, encoders and transducers. He currently resides in New York City. What kind of software and equipment do you use? SomaFM uses Shoutcast servers, OtsDJ playout systems, Orban audio processors, Shoutcast MP3 stream encoders, and Orban Opticodec aacPlus encoders. 3GPP servers are Darwin Streaming Servers from Apple Computer. We use a combination of FreeBSD and Ubuntu Linux servers for stream servers and web servers, at various ISPs where we find good values on bandwidth. How big is your music library? We have over 7000 CDs and 120,000 digital tracks in our primary music library, although many SomaFM music directors have personal libraries as well. From this, we select only the best tracks to play on SomaFM. In the last 2 years, we've played over 13,000 different artists on SomaFM. So how do you guys stay in business? We run our station on a very tight budget and rely on donations from listeners, the support of small labels, and from a few companies that provide us with large amounts of bandwidth to broadcast around the world. What can we expect in the future? Our goal is to make SomaFM available in as many ways as possible - from internet radio, to cell phones and wireless devices, over the air and HD multicast radio, to satellite broadcasts. Wherever you are or whatever you're doing, we want to make SomaFM available to you. Through SomaFM's partnership with various public radio stations, we're making our programming available over the air by providing a special version of Groove Salad for use on their HD multicast channels. KPBS-FM in San Diego is our premier public radio partner, broadcasting our programming on their HD2 channel. We also plan to launch more channels and specialty on-demand and podcast programs. Since we have such a small budget, we have to move slowly. But because we don't have to answer to investors or VCs, we can broadcast exactly what we want to. Thanks for listening, and remember... SomaFM Loves You!!!!
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