It was a tough decision, made just a touch easier by our software license expiring and rising royalty costs - so GBR has suspended operations until we can faithfully bring it back for keeps.
Man, we had a blast doing this. Our mission was to root out the songs that just plain sounded great. No treacle, no abject sadness, no playing songs strictly because they tested well or were million sellers. In fact, we shied away from most of those. We kept the ones that, as we said, just plain sounded great.
One of the criteria for the not-so-hits was generally songs we played on the radio over the years that SHOULD have been hits because they were perfectly pop, well produced, performed with passion and still couldn't find their way back to the airwaves until we came along. These weren't merely "turntable hits" or "Oh Wows" but many were hidden treasures that truly deserved their three or four minutes in the sun...and then kept in our massive playlist to be enjoyed as much as their million selling counterparts.
We're especially proud of our holiday week specials that took one year of pop history and played EVERYTHING we could get our hands on from that year. In fact, it was gathering those tracks that made us take notice and add them permanently to our regular rotation. It was a learning process for us as much as it was a labor of love.
For as random as GREAT BIG RADIO sounded, a lot of constant tweaking, adjusting, changing and upkeep was very much a part of our day-to-day care of our little streaming outpost.
It's all saved on many drives and clouds, and one day in the not too distant future, we'll unleash it again into the universe. Until then, THANK YOU for being part of it. As our barker channel where GBR was says, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and when that day comes, you'll be among the first to know.
Support music. Support its message. Keep its melody alive. And we'll see you again soon.
PLUS, Wake to GBR with the Alarm, share your listening inside the player with your pals, stay updated with our in-app Facebook and Twitter feeds, check out the last ten songs played and buy them from Amazon for keeping, and one-touch calling into the GBR request/comment line (one-touch email if you're too shy to speak).
All the features you asked for and then some. Please keep the suggestions coming in...we now have the power to implement good ones!
Go to the GREAT BIG RADIO App Page and get the one for your smartphone. It's free - and it is awesome.
Want to start an online radio station? It's really a lot of fun!!!
I say that to people I don't like. I want them to go through all the dopey crap I deal with as I navigate my now 12 year foray into the world of Great Big Radio.
Don't get me wrong. I still love this thing like it's my own 12 year old child. I listen in my car, and I'm still impressed with how many songs I forgot I threw into the playlist. And it's still better than 90% of what's out there, so we're pretty proud.
That said, this week, we got word that Wavestreaming, the people who published and maintained the GBR App for iOS and Android, decided they're going out of business in July and our apps will be rendered inoperable.
So I've officially become an app developer and started working on a brand new app that does what you need it to do...
• When launched, you'll have the choice of BOTH our streams - 32k for wireless and 128k for WiFi.
• Help support GBR by buying the music we play from Amazon or iTunes from our new "Last Ten Played" button.
• GBR's Facebook and Twitter feeds are now part of the menu.
• One-touch calling to our request/comment line 612-HOLYCOW
• One-touch email
We're ironing out the wrinkles and exterminating the bugs, but we're going to have a very cool, very versatile and very easy to use app experience. And isn't that what life is all about?
So. Want to start an online radio station?
We've been using the Amazon Echo since we were asked to be beta testers back in the early 1970s. Almost a half century and several dozen musical trends later, playing the planet on Alexa-enabled devices is now a part of the digital home landscape. We have several mutations of the Echo scattered all over the GBR complex - the original Echo, Echo Dots, and an Amazon Tap (which is now voice activated, so tapping's even gone the wayside), performing important tasks like lighting, getting local weather and traffic times, and occasionally accidentally shutting GBR off.
In Echo's early stages, getting GBR to play was as simple as saying "Alexa, play Great Big Radio." Sadly, with more and more content piling onto Alexa's delicate shoulders, saying that now brings up some goofy-ass FM station out of Milwaukee which, I swear to God, is doing a two minute infomercial about antique appraising as I write this.
Thankfully, we have a decade-long relationship with our pals at TuneIn. Now, just say:
"ALEXA, PLAY GREAT BIG RADIO ON TUNEIN."
...and we'll be blaring out of your Echo/Dot/Tap/Spot/Show/Look/Honk/Poot/Thbbft instantly.
We did feel slighted by this until we found out our friends at Sirius XM have the same problem. Even though they have proprietarily-named channels, you still need to tag the Alexa command with "...on Sirius XM." So at least we're in good company.
Now that you know how to get us, get an Amazon Alexa device by clicking the banner to the right. Every purchase supports the fine work we're still trying to accomplish. Thanks, Happy Alexaing.
Apple just released version 7.0.4 of the Great Big Radio App for iPhone and iPad. We squashed a bunch of bugs, reanimated the "Recently Played" feature and above all, made it much more data friendly with a stream that uses just 1/4 of the bandwidth without losing a scintilla of the audio spectrum.
If you have it, make sure it's been updated in the App Store.
If you don't have it...GET IT NOW!
Of course the new low-bandwidth stream is also now on the GBR Apps for Android and Amazon Fire. Enjoy!
Man, how many of these gear-shiftings have we gone through? We hope you like this new one.
We've cut the cord with Radionomy who did a magnificent job of letting us broadcast through their service when we hit some bad headwinds aka the royalties debacle. Unfortunately, Radionomy is changing their platform, making "upgrades," messing with stuff...
...and you and we have been through enough of these interminable changes to know they rarely end well.
So we've taken the bold step of taking the reigns of operating, and we couldn't be happier. We're now calling our own shots, including going back to being commercial free.
All we ask is you patronize whoever decides to partner with us on our site and our apps. Right now, it looks like we're back with Amazon - so bring Alexa into your world with a new Echo or Echo Dot, and GBR will always be a voice command away.
So here we go again! At least this time, the going seems to be forward. Always a good thing.
Thanks for listening to GBR!