RadioRevolt.com was an online radio station I ran from 2004 to 2009. The station launched on October 17th, 2004 and broadcast the word “Fuck” for 4 consecutive hours. The goal was showcase the freedom of speech that online radio provides that traditional tower broadcast radio does not due to FCC regulations. After the initial broadcast, RadioRevolt settled into it’s true mission, to bring together Indie and Mainstream rock and to let the world decide what it wanted to hear at any given time.
Users were allowed to ‘vote’ for a song by requesting it, each request carried 10% of a vote and each time a song played it burned 50% of a vote. The more requests between plays the more often a song would play naturally. Each song submitted to the station by artists also received a starting set of votes based on whichever DJ submitted the track to the database and how much they thought the world would like it.
This system allowed indie artists to promote their music to their fans which by requesting (and thus voting) kept their song in rotation longer. We worked hard to weed out obvious spamming of this system by bands/artists/labels/fan groups by limiting requests to once per day per ip address. There were glaring vulnerabilities in this system that were consistently exploited by artists large and small to receive extra air play. When we couldn’t effectively stop the spam programmaticaly we would use a manual demotion on a song to ensure listeners were not heavily impacted by the spamming.
RadioRevolt received music from all over the world from top artists like Silversun Pickups, The Killers, Tech N9ne, and tons of others; to lesser known and indie groups like Karnivool, the Bastard Fairies, and Bug Girl. To this day the stations old address still gets the odd music submission from a hopeful artist somewhere in the world. Some of the countries who’s rock artists sent use their music include Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Italy, The United Kingdom, South Africa, France, Germany, Poland, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, Estonia, Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and many others.
RadioRevolt.com also hosted live shows. This programming allowed our worldwide audience to enjoy locally flavored rock music from different parts of the USA. The shows included:
- EBL Rock from San Francisco, California
- DJ Dave from Port St Lucie, Florida
- Dragon’s Den from Dallas, Texas
RadioRevolt.com also hosted various live events including:
- The 2005 Miss Anthropic Pageant in Tampa Bay, Florida
- The Princess Cup – an all girls Counter-Strike tournament in 2006
- Various live Cyberathletic Amateur League matches
- The 2008 public launch of GamersTube.com
Since RadioRevolt was about being different we never placed advertisements in the stream itself. Advertising was only available via our player window with image banner ads. Advertisers did not enjoy this format which made it difficult to sell ads, even with a considerable user base.
We also found that, had all of our listeners been from one geographic region (i.e. a big city), that advertisers would have been more than happy to buy ads. By 2007 it was clear that running large advertising networks on the site was not going to gain the website sustainable revenue to grow along with demand, that a custom advertising system would need to be developed to accommodate the precise requests that advertisers had.
In 2009 RadioRevolt was forced to close down after a series of unfortunate events. A year earlier the economic recession had an adverse impact on many of the datacenters around the world that sponsored our broadcast bandwidth, which caused many to lower or eliminate the relay streams they provided. The time period also saw the monumental growth of websites like Pandora and the advent of mobile applications on wifi enabled MP3 devices and then touchscreen cell phones. RadioRevolt was based on 2004 technology that was difficult to upgrade to meet the changing demands of the marketplace for streaming audio. All of this coupled with AOL’s purchase of Shoutcast, the software we used to broadcast our stream, and subsequent favoring of other rock radio channels diminished our audience base to the point where the service was no longer sustainable from a revenue stand point. As if the other factors were not enough in late 2008 the website, which was built with e107, was hacked by Hamas, a terrorist organization in Palestinian territory. They added malware to the website along with anti-semetic messages. Removing the hack proved incredibly difficult and a new website would be needed to move forward with the website.
It was an incredible ride, reaching at our peak over 120,000 daily listeners from all over the globe, being broadcasted in offices, bars, and restaurants, and interacting with rock musicians from all levels. Thanks to everyone who participated, relayed our stream, requested a song, submitted their music, or shared us with friends. I also want to give a big shoutout to DJ Wiggz, without whom RadioRevolt.com would have never existed.