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MarQ Manner and Anxious Larry on the Worlds of Wayne Podcast
Radio isn’t dead. It just lives somewhere else. It’s a well-known fact that terrestrial stations offer stale programming from a short list of spoon-fed “hits” with DJs mostly manning the buttons or creating shows that have little to do with the actual music. College stations offer more variety and personality, but have limited audience reach. The cutthroat radio industry has left many DJs either chained to a strict format or unemployed over the years, taking out all the magic that once captivated audiences.
Today, there are many alternatives for listeners to catch their favorite tunes or talk shows. Internet radio, like podcasting (no, they are not the same thing), has seen its share of ups and downs. But as terrestrial radio sits comfortably in its preverbal rocking chair and podcasting becomes more a part of everyday life, audiences are looking to internet radio to take up the slack.
RadiOmaha hit the internet-airwaves in September of 2015 with a goal of creating something developers thought our local area was missing. A community of current and former radio jocks, as well as local music enthusiasts banded together under a common focus to revitalize radio programming in Omaha. While most stations do offer streaming and even podcasting options, RadiOmaha is a passion project that encourages “on-air” talent to take the mic and run. It’s not a new idea as there have been a few local internet radio stations, but it’s a project that hasn’t taken off in the area at this level until now.
“People have been talking about this for many years,” said contributor and local music guru MarQ Manner. “We’d get hyped up about it then it was kind of hurry up and wait. Not because people were dragging their feet, but it was getting all the technical stuff done, getting Bellevue University on board, stuff like that.“
RadiOmaha has put together quite the list of contributors as well. Many notable names from local radio have jumped on board including diver Dan, Fred Ramzey, Victor Hahn, Ryan O’Connor, and Rick Galusha. DJs use the studios at Bellevue University to create their shows, recording and editing in commentary and/or music, then the shows are added to a rotating schedule.
“We have a license to play music on the internet legally,” Manner said. “We have about 75,000 songs that had to be encrypted in a certain way to go through this licensing system. We’re ASCAP/BMI etc.”
But the station is not all just about the music. There’s a wide variety of programming with something for everyone including music shows, talk shows, political shows, and even a few classic local music and comedy shorts with bits by Otis XII, Diver Dan, The Old Curmudgeon, Jodi Jorgensen, Rick Cowger, Rick Jensen, and Brad Thiel.
Manner includes in his shows updates and happenings of local events, while, 'concert announcements' are offered from former Voice of South Dakota NPR, Candace Walton. Other shows include hip music shows from Joe Francis, Anxious Frank, Matthew Goddard and Dann Dunn.
Hosts are encouraged to talk and share their knowledge of music, events, or other interesting tidbits that listeners don’t get on regular radio. It might be a personal experience, or the backstory of a song. Putting a personal touch on each show seems to be key in engaging the audience and making each show feel produced by people who are passionate about their music or show topic.
“I try to tie in the Omaha community,” Anxious Frank said. “I might talk about a local businesses I go to, or a new this, or a new that. It’s nice to give props to what makes Omaha, Omaha.”
“We want our radio station to feel Omaha,” says Manner. “That’s the problem with a lot of radio stations these days is that you don’t feel like you’re listening to a local station. So we’re talking about places from the past, places we’re going to now, issues in the state. We want to be branded as an Omaha station.”
The list of contributors and shows has increased quickly with new talent including Jodi Lee, Papa Ric, Glen Bauer, and Basement Guys. Talk shows include Right Leaning with Michael Kelly, Left Leaning with Jonzy, and LBGTQ Talk with Eli Rigatuso. Currently organizers are looking for someone to interview local bands and offer news and updates on the music scene here in Omaha.
Programming on RadiOmaha is open for those wanting to explore, and it’s not just about the music. Organizers are open to pretty much anything that comes their way if it fits into their station model. This could include specialty music programs, politics, and sports as well.
“We do a little bit of sports for Bellevue University where coaches come on and talk,” says Manner. “I’d like to see another sports show on here. I’ve had some people come and talk to me about that. It’s just a matter of connecting them to the people that make the decisions.”
Local bands can submit their songs for play on RadiOmaha by sending information and Mp3s to MarQ Manner at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The beauty of RadiOmaha is in the diversity of its contributors. It’s a community effort bringing people together under an umbrella that covers a wide range of subject matters and musical genres. There truly is something for everyone. Unlike regular radio, this station encourages its hosts to bring their passions to each show, offering more than just the same 10 songs on repeat. It’s a station on a mission of exploration, offering content that is entertaining and informative. Like the name implies, RadiOmaha is a station that’s worldwide, but at its heart, created for Omaha.
Listeners can tune in 24/7 to RadiOmaha by finding them online at RadiOmaha.com