San Pedro’s newly launched Internet radio station, The Breeze, does not come with a user manual — but it could.
That’s because the station’s founder Danny Vega is a big fan of user-driven radio. He is hoping that listeners will ultimately take control of the station’s format and drive it to popularity based on what they most want to hear.
It could be something as simple as pushing the request button on the website and sending in the songs you want to hear to firstname.lastname@example.org. Danny can turn your e-mail into a nice personalized intro/dedication for your song, too.
Or, if you always wanted to hear your own voice on the radio, call (501) 631-0449 and leave a voice mail request. You know: “Hello, this is Norm from South Ambergris and I’d like to dedicate Beethoven’s “Requiem” to my ex-business partners ….”
That kind of thing.
You’ve got a mighty big pool of music to choose from. Danny Vega has set up The Breeze as all-hits radio, covering the 50’s to 90’s around the clock.
That e-mail address can come in handy for other things, like promoting your beach party, fund raiser, town council meeting, public hearing, or public celebration/parade/beauty contest. The Breeze is pumping out local event news on the quarter hour, alternating with classic comedy bits. Top of the hour is reserved for international news. Bottom of the hour is local Belize weather.
Danny is interested in signing up locals who want to DJ their own show. You know, for example, like a local musician with a sonorous voice who might be steeped in knowledge of blues/country music and would want to curate a show for fellow islanders. (That’s right, I’m talking about you.)
How about a phone-in chat show? Danny is up for that, too.
Currently in the website’s forums section, there is a chance to vote a song or two on or off the island. Danny calls it “Should It Stay or Should It Go.” Spoiler alert, listeners are keen on keeping Golden Earring’s “Radar Love” on the turntable. Well, who wouldn’t be?
As you can begin to see, this is going to be participatory radio.
Pretty much — and this has always been the joy of radio — if you can imagine it, you can get it on the air.
The Breeze rides atop the software of a company called Radionomy which is enabling people to set up Web-based radio stations all over the world. Currently Radionomy supports 7,000 radio stations. In return, Radionomy takes two minutes of air time each hour for advertising and Danny Vega will eventually gain revenue by filling another two minutes every hour. He also can place ads on The Breeze website.
Here’s a useful tip, for heavy Websurfers: Post http://streaming.radionomy.com/SanPedroBreeze into your regular pop-up music player and you can listen to the station uninterrupted while opening and closing tabs, pages, etc. Saves you bandwidth, too.
Danny Vega says Internet radio is “in its infancy.” You can see the potential, with the hurdles much lower than for a conventional radio station, which might broadcast 100 miles and take 20 and more people to run. Traditional broadcast radio is also subject to government regulation pretty much all over the world.
Web radio can be a one man band, with a lot of imagination and a global audience.
Like the Breeze.
Danny Vega’s biggest challenge right now is keeping the Breeze out there in front of his potential audience. That would be Belize gringos and people in the States, Canada and elsewhere who are dreaming of moving here or even coming on a vacation.
Most of all, he wants The Breeze to be the community station, shaped by the community, informed by the community, listened to by the community.