ASHLAND If your friend invites you into his crib to relax and listen to gnarly 80s tunes on the radio, don’t be a fool; it is legitimate.
Ashlander and seasoned broadcaster Mike Nelson launched internet radio site my80s.live around the time the coronavirus pandemic began.
âWe were all in quarantine at home,â Nelson, 45, who works at the Ashland Area YMCA and Carter County Broadcasting in Grayson; he continued to work for the broadcasting company, but the Y closed for a while. âI was home and bored and watched everything I could find on Netflix and bored again. “
He said he always tried to get radio employers to switch to a format entirely in the 1980s and none were interested, so he decided to do it himself as a hobby. .
âI grew up with 80s music. It was my type. It was my jam, âhe said, noting that his mother listened to country music when he was a baby. âI learned how to turn the chain and it was now 80s music.
âI started imitating the on-air DJs and knowing how they spoke and what they said and tried to speak over the song like they would. I knew I wanted to be on the radio then, but this music (1980s) has always been the soundtrack of my life.
Nelson said his uncle, retired DJ Ronnie Bell, played gospel music for WIRO and WCMI, so he was also an influence.
But starting an internet radio station required some knowledge that Nelson said he lacked.
âI didn’t know the technical side of it,â he said. âI ended up having a very smart IT guy I had worked with to help me get it up and running. I had no way of knowing what bandwidth or what program I needed. It was very much the other way around.
While Nelson was trained to operate manually, the Internet Station is automated, allowing him to make changes remotely if he wishes.
âThis system is automated 24/7. It just works on its own, âhe said, noting that he was approached in public by someone who asked him to play a Cyndi Lauper song, and he was able to do so immediately.
He said up to 400 listeners in a month, but expects listeners around the world to grow as the decade appears to be making a comeback.
âToday a lot of things from the 80s are coming back into fashion,â he said, noting that some popular TV shows like âStranger Thingsâ and âCobra Kaiâ are set in the 80s and that vinyl records are experiencing a resurgence of interest.
It’s obviously fun for Nelson, a Genesis and Phil Collins fan, and a drummer himself.
âWe did a New Years Eve countdown to 2021 and played all the breakup songs to tell 2020 to hit the bricks,â he said.
The hardest part of getting the station together, he said, was finding the songs he would play. That, or accept that radio stations are now moving 1980s music to the “oldies” category.
âThe 80s are now officially an oldies category, but I won’t call them oldies,â he said.
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