What’s in a name?

As I thought about starting my station, the 1Radio name came quite quickly. I felt it embodied unity and community.

It was also the shortest vacant domain name I could find that included Radio in the title. I noticed a few regional variations but no one had yet settled at .com, .net or .org. I purchased them and carefully wrapped each one in cotton wool until my site was ready to launch. Within a month, I had offers for each and sold .com and .net as they had a nice premium attached to them. I kept .org (and org.uk) for myself as it underlined the non-profit element of my future station and to me, conveyed a sense of something altruistic and non-commercial. An insider at a legal department of the BBC told me that the 1Radio name had crossed their radar and they were contemplating whether it was an infringement of Radio1’s name and brand. I guess it wasn’t as no one ever got in touch or set the legal dogs on me.

Meanwhile, I floated the basic concept of 1Radio on the Freecast forum to gauge feedback. A few people seemed vaguely interested and said they would try it out when available. 

I then took on the task of building 1Radio from scratch. This was in April 2008 and it  took me about a month to create the first version of the website. I vividly remember Day#1, sitting in a library in Wales, sketching out ideas for how an online radio station could be organised. I considered the notion of members, credits, slots, show descriptions and shoutcast passwords. I thought through the database, the sign up process, designed a simple logo, and decided on having a rolling, four week window in which a schedule could be created and slots booked. I considered bookings and cancellations as well as no shows and slot takeovers. The whole fabric of the 1Radio system was sketched out in a single afternoon and that night when I got home, I began coding in earnest. Database normalisation, anyone?

There’s something quite thrilling about having a fluffy, vaporous idea and turning it into something tangible and concrete. There’s also something incredibly frustrating too. You know what you want, you can picture the end result - but there are hours and hours of slog to get there. Strategies and new ideas were swirling about in my head all the time. I’d often be completing one programming task and would have the seeds of another scheme taking shape. It takes a lot of discipline to stay on target and not run away with fanciful dreams of what could be - and that simply distract you from the task in hand and prevent you from actually completing anything. An ever expanding list of functions which go way beyond what you originally planned is called feature creep. It’s a real hazard when developing a new computer system and needs a diligent project manager to keep it in check.

A beta site was launched around May 2008. I… ahem… obtained the member list of Freecast and spammed the arse off it. Around five hundred email accounts received a message telling them about the new site and trying to lure them over from Freecast. Then I sat back and waited for the presenters to roll in.

Unsurprisingly, there wasn’t a mad rush to sign up. But people did come to browse, albeit slowly.

Posted by Tim on Tue 01 Feb 2022 at 09:37 and viewed 1,684 times.

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