Imagine being able to access an all-star lineup of great Chicago radio personalities hosting a wide array of popular music formats -- all for free and on demand.
It's here now: Without fanfare, Kurt Hanson's Chicago-based AccuRadio.com has launched Chicago Radio Online, a dream lineup of seven distinct formats hosted by some of the most popular local disc jockeys of the past four decades. (Here is the link.) It's also available as an app for both the iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch platforms.
Among the legendary voices featured are those of Tommy Edwards, Clark Weber, Fred Winston, Mitch Michaels, Danae Alexander, Doug Dahlgren, Linda Marshall, Scotty Brink and Rick O'Dell. O'Dell doubles as program director and midday personality at Venture Technologies Group's smooth jazz WLFM-FM/LP (87.7). Chicago Radio Online's formats include:
Each format also provides a list of artists that can be customized to individual tastes. Listeners can further tailor the formats by easily skipping over any songs they don't like.
Billed as "the world's leading independent, multichannel, personalizable Internet radio station," AccuRadio features more than 430 channels and subchannels of music. The site claims to reach more than 400,000 unique listeners per month (and up to 1,000,000 unique listeners per month during the Christmas season), divided about 60/40 male/female and almost equally divided among the 25-34, 35-44, and 45-54 age groups.
AccuRadio founder and CEO Hanson's ambitious plans for expansion got a big boost last December when he brought on John Gehron, the veteran radio executive and revered industry statesman, as lead management consultant. Gehron, who first worked with Hanson at WLS-AM (890) in the '70s, is leading the company's efforts to establish online versions of AM and FM stations for terrestrial broadcasters.
Hanson, who also is founder and publisher of the daily web-based periodical "RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter," is widely regarded as one of the industry's leading authorities on digital radio. Veteran media consultant and futurist David Martin has called him "the pride of Chicago Internet ninjas." Said Hanson:
"My fervent belief is that after three previous 'Golden Ages' of radio -- the entertainment programs of the '30s and '40s, the 'AM Top 40' era of the '60s and '70s, and the 'AM talk/FM music' era of the '80s and '90s -- we're on the cusp of entering a fourth 'Golden Age' of radio‚ driven by Internet-delivered forms that will offer consumers variety, personalization, and ubiquity of access. In this new era, there are going to be huge opportunities for radio professionals -- in marketing, in sales, in programming, and in management -- plus loads of exciting entrepreneurial opportunities as well."