Monday, Aug. 13 marked the official streaming launch of RadioBDC, a live and interactive online station that hopes to fill the gap left behind in Boston’s music scene ever since popular local alternative rock station WFNX’s parent company, Phoenix Media/Communications Group, sold the rights to the station’s 101.7 broadcasting frequency to Clear Channel Communications in May of last year. Devoted listeners were unsuccessful in an attempt to petition Clear Channel to save the station’s format, and WFNX was forced off the airwaves in July 2012 after almost 30 years, being replaced by an “adult hits” station. WFNX’s loyal fans didn’t have to wait long, though, before learning that Boston.com, which had previously announced plans forits own online alternative station, had hired former WFNX on-air personalities Henry Santoro, Julie Kramer, Adam 12, and program director Paul Driscoll to become part of the new project.
On Aug. 16, just a few days after the station started streaming live, Boston.com and RadioBDC (the BDC stands for Boston.com) invited fans to celebrate with them at a VIP party at the Paradise Lounge, complete with an open bar cocktail hour and a solo performance by hometown girl Kay Hanley, a Dorchester native perhaps better known as the vocalist for the 1990’s band Letters to Cleo.
Blast caught up with Boston.com’s general manager, Lisa DeSisto, before the show. “We were already looking for new ways to engage the audience with our media,” DeSisto said. “When we saw that this group of personalities was available and we saw the public reaction to them no longer being on the air, we knew that we wanted to take that spirit and put it on Boston.com. RadioBDC is the soundtrack to Boston.com.”
DeSisto also notes that RadioBDC is local in nature, a feature not typical of many other streaming stations. “You can listen to the bands that you love, but then we also put you in venues to hear private concerts here in the city,” she said.
The station’s location at the Globe, too, offers listeners unique access to local journalists. ”When Johnny Pesky passed away Monday afternoon, Adam 12 was on the phone saying, ‘I’ve gotta talk to somebody from the sports department,’ so Joe Sullivan, the sports editor, was down and on the air within minutes. Accessing the journalists and the personalities in the Globe newsroom is going to be something people haven’t heard,” she said.
Julie Kramer, who hosts the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. mid-day time slot, assured fans of her WFNX Leftover Lunch show that the crew will continue their signature style of broadcasting. “Lunch At Your Desk is incredibly similar, just with a different name. It’s your favorites from the ’80s and ’90s, with some old local bands that everybody loves–O Positive, Tribes, The Cavedogs–and still all of that fun music to eat to,” Kramer said.
Henry Santoro, the news director and morning presenter, said of the new station, “We are who we are. It’s all about breaking new bands, alternative bands, and we are going to keep that alive–national, local, and international. We need to keep building on the platform. The foundation has been laid, and now we’re gonna build you the most awesome house, and we’re gonna paint you the most awesome musical picture that you’ve ever seen.”
So what’s next for RadioBDC? Apparently plenty. The station will kick off its RadioBDC +1 Series on August 30 with a free 21-plus show featuring Oberhofer and The 360s at the world-famous Brighton Music Hall at 8 p.m. Listeners can register for tickets online through Eventbrite. Kramer also told Blast that RadioBDC has already booked three bands to appear in Boston within the next month. “I don’t know if I’m allowed to quite tell you yet,” she said, “but they’re awesome. They’ll play live in the lab where we’ll have a handful of listeners who get to have this incredible experience, and it will be streamed live to everybody who unfortunately can’t be there.”
Stay tuned to RadioBDC by listening online through the Boston.com homepage or by downloading the free app available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry phones. You can also keep up with their blog, and find them on Facebook and Twitter.