2PR FM's Frequently Asked Questions:
Updated on Tuesday 8th October 2013 at 9:58 pm
WHAT IS 2PR?
2PR FM has been one of Australia's longest existing internet radio stations that specialises in playing continuous 70s 80s 90s retro. Over the years the station has evolved with many of the recent technologies. Embracing everything from "Audio on Demand", "Podcasting", through to "Live Netcasting", 2PR FM is now aiming to be Sydney's first FM terrestrial broadcaster, to offer the pure retro experience, a playlist based on a vast music archive of several thousand retro tracks.
HOW LONG HAVE WE BEEN AROUND FOR?
Officially since November 2000, or unofficially in alpha form since July 1999.
Testing of the 2PR FM website began in July 1999. Under the name of "Mark's Planet Retro" the site was in alpha phase, as it was hosted on a small local town server with very little content. A beta version of the site went live in early March 2000, but not knowing where the web was heading back then it was all uncharted territory. The site simply had the site-title, a few album reviews, and some notes about an up coming music station.
With the web gathering much pace as a new medium, extra efforts were placed into developing a basic album review, and radio station website, which was officially launched on Friday 4th November 2000 under the name "Planet Dot Retro". An extensive awareness campaign saw the site gather immediate attention with a review from the UK's leading technology online journal; ZD Net.
ZD Net News: Blind Music Whiz Starts Radio Site
We commenced our first "Audio on Demand" program tests through November 2001 through to May 2002, which saw a massive expansion of the "Planet Dot Retro" website. New sections included retro video gaming, transferring LP records to CDs, and more information about our future startup of our full-time "Audio in Demand" service, which was reported by the Penrith Press in June 2002.
Penrith Press: Blind DJ Announces Plans for New Web Station
Finally moving from Leura NSW to a new location in South Sydney, "Planet Dot Retro" was renamed "Planet Retro", and with the acronym of that name, came 2PR. Within a few months of the station name being established, 2PR FM took on a rebranding phase, where "Planet Retro" was updated to "Pure Retro 2PR". This change took place at the end of 2003, to reflect the nature of the station's programming style, which was pure retro music from the 70s, 80s, and early 90s.
During this time, the site constantly carried over 100 hours of continuous retro hits from the 70s 80s and 90s. In 2005 internet infrastructure improved greatly, which allowed us to podcast our retro programs in high quality 160kbs mp3 format. For a few years, we were the only station in Australia that was making 70s 80s 90s music available on the new podcasting platform. Unfortunately copyright regulation became harsher and more unforgiving, meaning we had to adapt with the new environment. Regrettably after nine adventurous years, our "Audio on Demand" schedule was retired a few days before Christmas 2009. Though a somewhat disappointing set-back, a new threshold was dawning, the concept of live broadcasting.
Though this was over the net, the concept of live broadcasting for 24 hours a day was very exciting. From the period of August 2009 to January 2011, 2PR carried out five test broadcasts, each broadcast lasting over a month long. As copyright legislation further changed, the costs of netcasting, with the payment of royalties had unfortunately outstripped the income that could ever be raised from any potential sponsorship.
IS 2PR STILL DOING ANY LIVE NET CASTS?
We are very happy to announce that we are streaming to the entire world. Sydney's one and only pure retro experience has a playlist of over 13,000 tracks with still many more to be added over the coming few years.
Most excitingly we have our copyright situation completely covered, and with new arrangements, the royalty rates have become very reasonable. Over recent months we have established an arrangement in Australia with APRA. Overseas we are broadcasting through LoudCity who automatically take care of our royalty payments for SESAC, ASCAP, BMI, and Sound-Exchange. With this, the royalties I pay are interchangeable with the PPCA who are the other copyright management organisation in Australia. With all our copyright commitments covered, we now have our energies firmly focused on gaining an FM license for the Sydney market.
SO WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR 2PR FM?
With the vast proliferation of internet radio stations across the world, the scene has indeed become very crowded. We feel now our best avenue of being profitable is going terrestrial. With FM and AM radio broadcasters enjoying healthy listener numbers, terrestrial is the only way to go. More importantly, disability issues are still hush hushed for the larger part in the main-stream media, so the news bulletins and information segments played between the music will be dedicated to such matters.
We are keeping constant contact with key people and players who will be ultimately responsible for granting us a license. These efforts continue frequently throughout the entire year, even when not mentioned on the website, obtaining such a license is a deeply involving exercise that requires much effort and lobbying - things that will not stand in our way of our final goal.
WHY IS 2PR DIFFERENT, AND ARE WE JUST ANOTHER AMATUER KID IN A BEDROOM?
Certainly not. Being in my 40's, I'd love to be the 12 year old kid that I was in 1980 again, recording heaps of great top 40 hits back then from 2UW, 2SM, and when Maxell were making damn good quality cassette tapes. Seriously, let's elaborate further below.
AM I JUST ANOTHER GUY PLAYING RADIO STATIONS FROM MY GARAGE FOR A NOVELTY, THEN CHUCKING IN THE TOWEL?
AGAIN, CERTAINLY NOT, THIS HAS BEEN A GENUINE LIFE-TIME PROJECT.
The idea of doing something different was planted when I done my first community radio show back in the early 90s. Admitfully, commercial radio back then was still reasonably bearable, so the urge wasn't so intense, but this rapidly changed by the end of 1999, when Sydney had four FM stations, all playing the same 200 songs. 2000 saw the arrival of the very tight playlist in Sydney, and now in the twenty-teens, things have only got much worse.
If you're a mainstream music lover, Sydney is not the place to be, as most of the mainstream pop and rock from the last four decades has gone into oblivion. Sydney now has three classic hits stations, all playing the same 150 songs, and three top 40 stations, playing the same 50 songs on very high rotation.
This is because all six commercial FM licenses in Sydney are owned by three heavily networked corporations, who in the end couldn't care less about the listener, but are in it more for market domination. Now more evidently with the current moratorium on the issuing of new FM licenses, the big boys of the radio industry in Sydney have everything stitched up to lock out any new competitors, a highly unethical stand when considering the modern market place.
The reasons why 2PR FM is in for the long haul, is because we seriously believe that we have a very different listening experience to offer Sydney. Since 2007, we have been working on an extensive project, digitising our entire music collection to TM Century standards. This has been using nothing but the best sound recordings, and the careful research from various sources, making sure that not only we offer the best variety of music, but deliver the best sound quality a radio station is capable of.
We've also extensively researched our format, so when we arrive on the FM band, we'll know what kind of program material listeners will enjoy. Unlike some of the FM music stations currently operating in Sydney, we won't be changing formats every six months, from having incompetent station managers, and directors who are unable to bring all the elements of a radio station together, to cohesively work as one focused objective.
WHY DOESN'T THE STATION HAVE A TRANSMITTER?
This is the very thing we are working on, but this is something that will take time, and will no doubt cost much money. This is where we first have to get legislation changed, to enable us to broadcast legally. Some have noted that we should broadcast the pirate way, but with huge fines, and the possible confiscation of all our equipment, pirate is the last resort we wish to take. With the low costs attained in starting up a FM pirate, we admit that it would be tempting, but the potential of severe punishment and losses make such a proposition foolish and idiotic.