Live365's "Featured Spotlight Station" this week is KoHoSo Radio 66! We spoke with KoHoSo about the station's setup, what listeners can expect to hear, and some of some of the station's best hits. Check out the interview below!
What brought you to Live365?
After having my station unfairly taken offline in May 2016 by my previous streaming host and licensing service, I had almost given up ever bringing back KoHoSo Radio 66. No option seemed fully legal or affordable for a regular person. Then, in late 2016, I saw a report from a radio news account I follow on Twitter that the assets of Live365 had been purchased and the service was set to return in 2017. Once I saw the pricing was affordable for almost anybody with a fairly decent employment, I bugged the heck out of the "new" Live365 until I finally got my invitation. Since then, it has been a pleasure to deal with the new team even when there has been a problem, and those have been VERY few. Now I can't imagine partnering with any other company.
What's your studio like?
While it is, as advertised, located in beautiful, scenic Crestline, California high in the San Bernardino Mountains, the KoHoSo Radio 66 studios are very basic. This is mostly because the only ISP that serves Crestline will not allow any type of server. Since I run in automation mode off an Abovecast server (also part of the Media Creek family with Live365), I do not need a mixing board and such. In short, I have a Blue Yeti USB mic and use Audacity to make ID's and promos, clean up vinyl rips, and record my voice tracks for the "Cruisin' with KoHoSo" specials I produce on occasion. Soundproofing the "studio" is done with a wide range of items from a sheet of pyramid-formed foam from a pet bed our dog Oreo tore up, packaging from shipments of Torani bottles, pillows that surround my computer tower, and even a soft, fuzzy blanket I will hang over my mic's scissor stand. Other than my choice to use the quite expensive StationPlaylist software on my Abovecast server (due to me being a fussy former over-the-air radio disk jockey), this goes to show that one doesn't have to invest a ton of money to have an online station that sounds professional. This is especially true thanks to Audacity as it is such a fantastic free program with tons of features that has versions for Linux (my choice), Windows, and Mac.
What can listeners expect when they tune in to your station?
A fun, generally up-tempo drive through the glory days of old Route 66. I use a lot of old radio station jingles I have collected through the years plus quite a bit of instrumental music from the time for making my own ID's and promos (tracks with lots of pizzicato strings that have that stereotypical 1950's and early 1960's sound). What I hope is the main surprise of KoHoSo Radio 66 is that not all the music is the same hits many other "oldies" stations play. While I certainly lean heavily on well-known Top 40 hits of the time, I also throw in a lot of regional hits, B-sides, and even album tracks. This works well for me as my older listeners say they enjoy the extra variety while my younger listeners seem to really like how it helps the station not be so repetitive (an easy trap to fall into with an oldies station).
What has been your favorite moment as a DJ/Station Manager so far?
This is so difficult to answer because I truly from the bottom of my heart appreciate each individual that listens when, according to a website I saw about four years ago, there are at least ten thousand other stations available online playing some form of "oldies." Any comment sent via email or social media is so fulfilling that I simply cannot measure them even if all they say is "great station!" While not for a happy situation, I will change this to the most "special" moment being on the afternoon of October 27, 2018 after the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. I received an email from a listener that said she and her husband live in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood where the incident happened. The message addressed to both me and the other voice heard on my station, Miss KoKo, said that our "upbeat and positive" station was helping them get through that terrible day. Upon seeing that, it took me about 30 minutes to get myself together enough to show it to Miss KoKo.
What is the best concert you've ever attended, and why?
Despite having an oldies station as I thought that was the format where I had the most to offer as an alternative to what was already out there, I'm a "classic rock" guy in age. When I was in "real" radio, it was the format that best suited my live announcing style. Along with the fact that most of the big stars of the 1950's and early 1960's were not touring by the time I became old enough to go to concerts, that explains my choice.
There are so many but, if I have to pick only one, I think I'd go with the Grateful Dead at Long Beach Arena on November 15, 1987. Aside from the band being extra hot that night, a friend and I were in the sixth row right in front of Jerry Garcia. At one point, he and I were going so nuts, flailing around like idiots, that Jerry looked at us for a bit and had a good, hearty laugh.
We asked KoHoSo for some of their favorite songs. Here's what they had to say!
This is my Top 10 for the era of music I play on KoHoSo Radio 66 (anything released from 1946 through 1966). Then again, ask me next week and it might be completely different! Sorry it's so male-centric but I have to be honest about what moves me the most. In alphabetical order by song:
Gimmie Some Lovin' by The Spencer Davis Group
That bass line. Then, that organ. Then, a big "Hey!" Then it just keeps going. Instant feel-good music!
I Can't Turn You Loose by Otis Redding
A pure soul sledgehammer made up in about 15 minutes before Otis had to be somewhere else. For a fast-tempo song, it doesn't get more emotional than this.
Jive After Five by Carl Perkins
In Carl's comeback record after being seriously injured in a car accident, he laid down this absolute atomic rockabilly bomb in his first single for Columbia. I still cannot figure out why this song paired with the also-great "Pink Pedal Pushers" didn't sell well.
Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
As Jerry Garcia once said about this song, "This is the one it's all about."
Not Fade Away by Buddy Holly and the Crickets
When I was seven in 1972, it was the beginning of the 1950's revival with "American Graffiti" big at the movies and "American Pie" big on the radio. My father bought a double album MCA had just put out of Buddy Holly who I really never heard before. I was mesmerized at how different he sounded from all the other 50's artists with songs that had modern sound quality. None hit me more than than this one even though it's not a fast rocker.
Short Fat Fannie by Larry Williams
When my mother would play her old records on our big Magnavox console, this was my first favorite song. Not only does it rock but it mentions another big song in almost every line. I loved it then and still do even though it's not something most people would sing today.
Something About You by The Four Tops
For me, this is the epitome of feel-good Motown music. Levi Stubbs lets it all hang out on this one.
That's All Right by Elvis Presley
I grew up in one of those houses where Elvis was king, and that was more than all right with me even after I began buying stuff like Black Sabbath albums. I still get chills up my spine as soon as I hear the beginning, both for just its sound in addition to what this not-even-two-minute song did for the world.
The Last Time by The Rolling Stones
As much as the Stones would go on to do, this first of the Jagger/Richards hits remains a favorite. That hook, a bit of Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" production assistance, and great harmony vocals on the chorus really make this an outstanding song that doesn't stop driving until it fades out.
(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and His Comets
I don't know how anybody can listen to this song and not at least feel immediately happy if not start moving around. I came to love this song even before it was the original theme song for "Happy Days." It's perfect execution of the perfect 50's song.
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