1Radio really is closing down
The actual closure of 1Radio came out of the blue for most people.
Whilst there was an uptick of shows, listeners and presenters when I called a reprieve to the closure in 2012, by early 2013, the overnight schedule had become particularly desolate and sparse, with very few presenters booking slots. I decided that the overnight hours were to be populated with pre-recorded shows and presenters could no longer book slots between midnight and 9am. However, anyone could upload their pre-recorded shows to dropbox and a random selection were played out through the night using the autodj system. This approach did seem to gain listeners and people were pleased to have somewhere to congregate in the small hours.
I was never really pleased with half the schedule being pre-recorded. It also needed managing to ensure we had sufficient shows and that they were all scheduled correctly. But getting presenters to sign up for night time slots was proving impossible. These night time shows were attributed to the autodj which meant that the shoutbox could be opened and presenters and listeners could chat away through the night.
The server had been causing tech issues for some time and the hourly switch over had become increasingly problematic. Every so often, I went looking for alternative hosting companies to replace wavestreaming.com but could never find a supplier with the feature set I required. By the end of 2013, I’d decided the end had come. Instead of limping on into the new year with a patchy unreliable server, I decided to pull the plug.
For me, the spark had gone. I had very little involvement with 1Radio after the summer of 2013 apart from troubleshooting, listening to occasional shows and occasionally moderating. My absence was noted with a particular core of individuals regularly posting negative comments and generally talking things down. I was busy with my new radio venture and so didn't particularly care.
I’d learnt from the previous attempt to shut things down that giving a long notice period just sent everyone into a tail spin and there would be weeks of debate and a long slow decline of morale.
In December 2013, a newsletter was being prepared by various of our presenters that spoke about the latest shows, the newest DJs and some other bits of information of interest to readers. It was sent to me for approval and for onward distribution to our presenters. Before sending it out, I added in one extra item of news, effectively announcing that the station would close at the end of the month.
The response was immediate. People were sad, angry, disappointed but not necessarily surprised.
For much of 2013, 1Radio had felt to me like it was winding down. The autodj was doing stonking business and was attracting more listeners than many of the live shows. The end of 2013 seemed like the right time to call it a day.
During the final week of the station, we set up a special guestbook where listeners and DJs from past and present could leave messages and thoughts which would scroll endlessly above the shoutbox.
The last night of broadcasting was to be New Years Eve 2013 and Espy asked to take the last couple of slots.
On the day, Espy sent me a 90 minute long show that featured farewells and goodbyes from most of the current cohort of presenters as well as a playlist of goodbye songs. Almost all the messages, recorded by listeners and presenters, were heartfelt and emotional, with a particularly memorable one from Peff Soulsby in which she shed more than a few tears. One presenter, who thought he knew a thing or two about self-promotion, used the opportunity to slyly publicise his next radio station appearance. Of course, that got cut.
This final show “1Radio Forever” aired at 10pm. The shoutbox grew increasingly busy over those final two hours and moderators were out in full force. Many familiar names popped in for that final show, including presenters and listeners who were no longer on board but came back for one final look, listen and to say goodbye. For fun, all moderators had their real names disclosed instead of the anonymised versions and everyone was made a guest. The shoutbox was a blaze of coloured names and swirling randomised emotes. I’m certain many people interrupted their New Year’s Eve celebrations to pop in one last time.
The final two songs to air were “Time To Say Goodbye” by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli followed by “Goodbye” from Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. The final words spoken on air were from Espy who said everything I’d have wanted to say myself - but far more eloquently.
“Hey guys, it’s Espy. Well, here we are at the end and while it's still not completely sunken in yet I'm gonna try to do this. You, you are all special to me and you are loved, each and everyone of you. I found 1Radio at a time in my life when I really had very little else in which to immerse myself. My two and a half years on the One have given me so much and I wouldn't trade it for anything. It’s enriched my life in so many countless ways. Thank you Tim for planting the seeds from which this great community sprang forth, for allowing me to play so many roles over the years in helping the station to grow, improve and diversify. And to the rest of you out there, thank you for your friendship, for sharing your music, for being patient with me when I go a little bit too far and, well just for letting me be myself. I’d like to wish all of you the very best the new year has to bring. Let's try hard to keep close. I love you guys.”
After the final song faded, there was a burst of audio tone, some radio static and the sound of wind. If we’d had a video accompaniment in the feature tab, it would probably have been a tumbleweed rolling across a desert.
As the clock struck midnight and 2013 rolled over into 2014, the shoutcast server fell silent and the 1Radio website was replaced with a static page containing the image of a vinyl record, overlaid with the message that 1Radio was now closed.
And that was it. The end of a five year project that gave anyone the opportunity to have a go at being a DJ on a credible, legal internet radio station.
Posted by Tim on Sat 31 Dec at 08:39 and viewed 71 times.
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