Before 1Radio there was Freecast

Freecast was the inspiration for 1Radio. There, I said it.

Freecast wasn’t so much a radio station but an online forum where people could sign up for a Shoutcast account, book a few slots and stream to a ropey old server that had a maximum capacity of ten listeners. It was run by wavestreaming.com, the company we would later use for our shoutcast server. They are now known as radio.co.

Freecast had no community, no proper website and, crucially, no listeners. There was absolutely no incentive to actually show up for the slots you booked. It. Was. Pants.

The site was often down. A handful of regulars would book slots but few actually turned up. If anyone did take the trouble to broadcast, there was no useful way of communicating with listeners or other presenters. Over the course of a week, there would be a handful of shows listed, but few people would actually show up to broadcast, which kind of makes sense if you don't know whether or not you have an audience. It seemed more an exercise in seeing who could grab the best slots ahead of everyone else - more out of spite than a genuine interest in doing a radio show. I could never figure if it was tech issues that kept people away or a pure lack of enthusiasm and ambition. 

The calibre of those doing shows on Freecast was often summed up by their presenter names.  SpazFM. Bullshit Radio. DJ Itchyballs. And, I kid you not, The C*nt Show. Imagination and ambition at its finest. There were a handful presenters who did take it seriously and who would try to put out a show once-in-a-while, but mostly it was a non-event.

The forum pages of Freecast were sort of busy but mostly full of people asking tech questions. Some would promote upcoming shows then, after the event, complain that no one listened. Or complain that the server didn’t work. Or that they forgot to broadcast, so “please can I book another slot”.  It was all the rage to try to bag a 2 hour slot that started at 10pm on a Saturday night. Then grab the 12-2am slot on Sunday, immediately after. Effectively, a four hour window. But, if you took the trouble to  listen in, it was invariably silent and devoid of a show.

It seemed obvious to me that the Freecast concept was interesting but could be done in a much better way to encourage real participation and importantly, offer shows that could actually be heard and build a community around them. 

And so I decided to start my own station. 1Radio was to be built on the same principles of Freecast but with a much more professional website that advertised the shows and encouraged listeners to... err... listen. I hoped 1Radio would nurture a community of presenters and listeners and operate a system that would reward people who actually did shows and weed out the timewasters.

That, in a nutshell, is where the idea for 1Radio came from. A few of the presenters from Freecast would eventually land at 1Radio. Ricky Rodgers and Monkeyhanger are two that come to mind. I'm sure there were more.


Posted by Tim on Wed 15 Dec at 11:57

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