What happened before Internet Radio 2PR FM. The complete story.The seed for a retro internet radio station
To celebrate the great achievement of 2PR FM Internet radio, I thought it would be only natural, that we share all the good and bad times, we've encountered along the way. Since our first CD reviews in November 2000, 2PR has gone through many changes. During the time of getting the station up and running, there has been great moments, disappointments, excitement and sometimes utter devastation.
Through the sites development, we have placed "Web Site Updates" (W S U's) on the entrance page of the site. On this occasion, we have gathered the complete log of W S U's and compiled them as a rolling list of events, from the time of when the site first appeared, to only a few months ago, when we finally kicked into full working mode. It's also interesting to look back over recent years. As the internet has developed so rapidly, so has the site. At the time of launch, professional web-hosting was priced in the thousands, now it's less then ten dollars a month.
Put your helmet on, click up and Read on. Enjoy the trip that has truly been one hell of a roller-coaster ride, through the twists and bumps of cyber-space.
THE COMPLETE WSU LIST
As a visually impaired person, I have always been very interested in music. Listening to CD's and records, compiling charts, reading relevant material, designing and producing CD Compilations, and as in the case of this website, producing radio programs and broadcasting them to the world,
On Tuesday 19th May 1992, I presented my first radio program on Blacktowns Community Radio station, SWR FM. This was a four hour show called the "70's 80's Memory Mix". (wow; that's a lifetime ago.) As this station was a non-licensed aspirant, it could only broadcast on a limited amount of days. Sooner then later, the station faced the reality of more programmers then air-time slots. This meant that programmers could only broadcast one program every four months.
The ABA (Australian Broadcasting Authority) changed it's rules in 1993. This enabled SWR FM to broadcast on a weekend basis for five years. In September 1993, air-time was available on a more frequent basis. Reflecting a broader music mix, the program was renamed "More Great Music", and by the end of 1995 became a weekly two hour show. I presented the program every Saturday from Midday to 2:00. Broadcasting from Blacktown at the time, Community Station SWR FM had a listener potential of 1.5 million people across western Sydney. The program contained a different theme every week for freshness and interest. Themes included the playing of the current top 20 singles from my weekly charts, past charts from the 70's and 80's, all request programs, and from time to time, special tribute programs. my appetite for involvement grew, as I was very keen to do more. I completed a course in desktop publishing and worked on the stations newsletter for two years. At the end of 1996, Management introduced an air-time slot bidding system, where programmers bided, then paid for their slots. Some programmers were paying up to $160 to keep their shows. Many people objected to the system, and decided to leave at the beginning of 1998. Due to a lack of programmer loyalty from the stations management, I decided to do the same. In December 2001, SWR FM's application for fulltime broadcasting was rejected..
At the end of October 2000, I completed a eleven year project, which was compiling weekly music charts. During this time, Sydney had seven commercial radio stations. Mix 1065, Triple M, 2Day fm, WS FM, Ninety Six point Nine, Nova and C91. The majority of material played on these stations was nineties and new music, with the very occasional 80's track. Most of WS FM's music was of the boomer era, again, the kind of stuff that makes me yawn every five minutes. Since 1998, my ears were into the world of talkback and newsradio.
I discovered free internet hosting in July 2000. My mind clicked and started throwing ideas around straight away. "What can I do with a free website?" The thought of a website that plays continuous seventies eighties music excited me. They were many new things to organise and a lot of new concepts and ideas had to be tried and tested.
Saturday 4th November 2000 at 12:11 am
MORE GREAT MUSIC HITS YAHOO GEOCITIES
More Great Music is Back. We have made our first presence on the internet at Yahoo Geocities. In the era of the internet, we are looking forward to presenting the show in a whole new method - "Internet Radio". There is a lot of new stuff to try out, so the site will develop with time. Come back and see what's happening.
At present we have two sections. (two pages). The Album Reviewer, which reviews a number of albums in general. The "All Time Classics" is our second section, which contains reviews on the all-time top ten albums, with a run up list of twenty other titles, that came pretty "damn" close.
Tuesday 15th May 2001 at 11:58 pm
Sunday 5th August 2001 at 4:10 pm
To reflect a broader range of interests and it's focus on Retro Material, the sites name has changed to Mark's Planet Retro. It has moved from Yahoo Geocities to Tripod. With extra disc space on the internet, we'll carry out some preliminary tests soon, on the possibility of hosting radio programs from the server.
We have also moved to Tripod, as Yahoo Geocities have just developed a new, but rather inefficient method of uploading material to their free web servers. Clients can now only upload five files at a time through the browser, not a ftp. The average website contains about 80-120 files. I guess my quest in life would be to meet these people at the top of yahoo one day, and ask them how they would design a car?
We have just completed our "hot Retro Links List". It has everything you need to get retro-addictive from ABBA to Bucks Fizz, Classic Typewriter fonts to arcade gaming, and much much more.
Monday 26th November 2001 at 11:55 pm
Tripod have started a new URL system, giving us the chance to have our very own unique URL. As Tripods domain names now all end in "tripod.com", we have chosen to go with the name "planet.retro", all together, our new web-address is:
With strong interest developing in the classic video game era, we have just finished a complete section on the Arcade Game Emulation Software called "MAME" (Multi Arcade Machine Emulation". The section contains info on how to download and get started, heaps of links and reviews on 15 of the best (and worst) games I've ever played.
With all these exciting changes, we have officially reopened our new look website as "PLANET DOT RETRO". Browse on through and enjoy.
Saturday 2nd March 2002 at 7:29 pm
PLANET DOT RETRO RADIO HITS THE AIR WAVES.
Over the recent weeks we have conducted preliminary tests on playing audio from our server. This has involved the uploading of short "Real Player" files, which have been around the five-six minute length. After six weeks of testing and retesting, we have produced our first program. Earlier on today, a twenty-nine minute Real-Audio program was produced, and just an hour ago successfully loaded onto the internet. Go down the "Planet Dot Retro Radio" page and just click on the link. Your Real Player should automatically kick in. You'll have radio, the way it sounded all those years ago, nothing but the seventies and eighties. Enjoy the music.
Thursday 7th March 2002 at 10:46 pm
I don't know If I'm awake today. I can't believe it. It's all gone. ALL GONE!!!.
Tripod have terminated my website and shut it down. I have not received any e-mails, explaining why this action was imposed on me. I received a computer generated e-mail, stating that I've violated their terms and conditions. Now that I'm over my slight case of amnesia, I now remember, when I signed up. One of the rules was condition #62b, "multi-media not allowed". I think my radio programs may have had something to do with this, as the files were quite large. That most probably explains why, most of Tripods Web Network looks like a hens nest. Multi-media can be a bit memory hungry. I suggested in one of my e-mails, that they should make special exceptions for this kind of material. This would then make their networks more attractive to potential visitors, in-turn attracting possible advertisers.
I have just send an e-mail to their tech support. Trying to locate their tech support page took three hours. (organisation guys!!!) I've sent about ten e-mails to each of their departments, so someone should get it by the morning.
TEMPORARY HOSTING ON BRAVENET
Thursday 28th March 2002 at 12:28 am
Due to Tripod's communication silence, we have temporarily moved to Bravenet.
After sending 70-80 e-mails to tripod, I have not received any reply from them. This has included re-sends of the same e-mail to different departments. This has been a real let-down. All the search-engines and web-directory submissions that have been made over the last six months, now point to a 404 error, as the planet.retro site now sits empty. This has involved the submission to 600 separate engines and directories. This was not a bulk special. This involved visiting over 250 separate webpages, where each page had to be submitted manually.
After sixteen months of hard work, the website was starting to come together quite well. Now that Tripod have left me in the gutter, we now have to think of a more reliable set-up. This would have to be something in the area of paid hosting.
At present, paid hosting with Telstra, including domain name and server space, costs over $330.00 a month with $1,500,00 setup fee. (totally out of the question).
In light of what's happened, the will is stronger then ever to keep this site alive. We have made temporary arrangements, as now we are on Bravenet. At present, the site is running in a minimal mode. They are currently three pages on the server; current CD releases, all time classics, and a info page, detailing the recent events. I have no idea on when, or if tripod are going to get back to me.
As the original site contains many links, I would have to rework the entire site. I hope to do this in the following weeks. In the intervening time, tripod, could get back to me, which would make things much easier. In this case, I would only need to upload the back-up copy on to the server, without making any alterations. We are presently located at:
Until tripod can get their act together, or we can raise funds for paid hosting, planet.retro will temporarily reside at this address. This will also mean that Planet Dot Retro Radio will be off air indefinitely.
Wednesday 3rd April 2002 at 1:16 pm
Due to numerous problems with Tripod, we are in the process of making new arrangements for the site. The last month has been hell. As shown in the roll of events above, dealing with Tripod has been a real nightmare. We have decided to take immediate action, and of today have finished a bulk e-mail out. This has been sent to companies in Australia and around the world. We have sent over 500 e-mails, inviting companies to give us free server space, in exchange for free banner space, and air-time slots on Planet Dot Retro Radio. Planet Dot Retro cannot afford to pay any expenses, as it is a non-profit website, and does not generate any revenue through its activities.
Monday 15th April 2002 at 3:30 pm
From out of the blue, I received word today that tripod have granted access back to my server. They were no apologies, no nothing. As I hadn't started with Bravenet yet, I decided to re-upload the material on to Tripod, minus the radio program. Just hoping that this was the cause for my "dismissal". At this moment, it's a case of "better the devil you know", until we can find a more permanent arrangement.
Wednesday 1st May 2002 at 3:45 pm
I have just finished a proposal which will be presented to Telstra over the next few weeks. So fingers crossed, say my prayers and hope for the best.
Sponsorship proposal has just been posted and e-mailed, to the appropriate persons at Telstra for approval, We are hoping to know a result at the end of the week.
We'll update you as events unfold!!!
Friday 3rd May 2002 at 3:55 pm
Optimedia in Melbourne - Telstra's advertising arm - has just e-mailed us that the proposal was successfully received. Optimedia have now passed the proposal on to Telstra's Bigpond Broadband Management in Sydney for consideration.
Friday 3rd May 2002 at 11:05 pm
Planet Dot Retro was dealt a very hard blow today. The prospects of Planet Dot Retro Radio resuming programming, are looking very grim indeed. I received note today that Telstra did not consider my proposal, due to large quantities of submissions. But that's o'kay. THIS IS TELSTRA'S LOSS, not mine. They're the ones who have to convince consumers to switch to their broadband. Without any interesting content - They're gonna have a very hard time. Their mistake was treating me as a number - rather then a serious multi-media producer. This means we'll also have to contend with our current "banner / pop-up" setup.
I have just been in contact with another company called Max Interactive. There's a very good chance that they will get me some serious sponsors and advertisers. With this advertising revenue, I can then broadcast over the services of LIVE-365. This is going to cost me $2,000 Australian annually, About half my yearly income!!. Hopefully the revenue will cover the entire amount.
Saturday 4th May 2002 at 12:45 am
Due to some unknown reason, my access to my website on Tripod was denied again. Half of the site has been destroyed for reasons I can't explain. At the time of writing this update, I switched into contingency mode. This meant for three hours Planet Dot Retro did not have a presents on the internet. For eight hours straight, I had to gather all the elements and build the site from scratch. Although I had a backup of this site, I had to resubmit the new URL to dozens of search engines. Many adjustments had to be made, due to the sites new location.
With the knock-back from Telstra and the problems with Tripod, It truly has been a day in hell. Unfortunately these things are here to try us, and the only way to win, is to never give up. Planet Dot Retro is here to stay. The fight will go on, to get this site out of the techno-backwater, and into the real multi media world. Telstra seem to have their interests firmly in one place only, and that's in the area of supporting their basement radio station.
PLANET DOT RETRO MOVES TO BRAVENET NET HOSTING
Tripod have lived up to their true reputation again, as one of the internet's worst hosts. Again my site was guttered and it's time to change. (They can rot in hell.) Over the last so many hours, I have reworked the entire site and have just launched it on Bravenet Internet. This is our new address.
Thursday 9th May 2002 at 5:05 pm
Saturday 11th May 2002 at 12:15 am
After a arduous search, we have found a new place that can host our radio programs. Excitement fills the studio, as Planet Dot Retro Radio has just commenced broadcasting for the first time in ten weeks. The station now has two programs up and running on the servers of ProHosting.com.
Planet Dot Retro Radio may have to call it a day.
The dawn of a new era - PURE RETRO 2PR-FM.
Prohosting destroy my radio program site.
On Thursday the 9th of May, there was a brief glimmer of hope. Planet Dot Retro Radio did a 31 hour broadcast from ProHosting. The site was totally destroyed and my access denied (AGAIN). I don't know what the problem is with my programs. If you have heard my recent stuff, you'll know that the music I play is pretty straight forward and clean. There's a lot I'd love to say about Tripod and Prohosting, but for now will leave that for another time.
Where to now??
It's been one hell of a week, and I think it's time for me to take a stocktake. With continuous abuse of my websites and radio programs, I may have to give this project a good rest. The continuous disappointments are starting to take an emotional toll. It's rather heartbreaking, putting so many hours into a project, only to see it result in a 404 error. We can understand that many sites are destroyed by hackers. The fact that my site was destroyed by the actual people who host it, is a scenario that's beyond belief. I love to know what's inside the heads of those people, who run these hosting services. It seems today's method of communication is confrontation, rather then using dialog to resolve problems. It would be a pretty un-civilized world, if we just smashed and destroyed everything that didn't quite go our way..
As you can see by the roll of events on this page, I'm getting nowhere fast and the exercise is just becoming a merry-go-round. I may have to call this the official close of Planet Dot Retro Radio, unless a sponsor appears. I'm dropping tools and moving onto getting a paid job in the record industry. I've always dreamed of working in the music industry, so from this point, that's where I'm going to direct my energies.
The prospects of Planet Dot Retro Radio doing anymore broadcasts are pretty scares. On the brighter side, the rest of the site is up and running as normal. I'd like to thank any listeners I've had since November last year. Until another time - take care and bye for now.
Tuesday 27th August 2002 at 7:15 am
Monday 21st October 2002 at 1:55 pm
I have just moved seasons, or should I say, I've moved to the better side of Sydney. If you have moved house yourself - You know what a torture of an exercise it is - O'kay, a little dramatic, but we all know the experience. Thus the long period in which this site hasn't been updated. The place I live in now is paradise compared to where I used to live, anyway, no gain without pain, is what they say.
Thursday 31st October 2002 at 9:15 am
As I've probed the recent IT media, there has been a number of interesting developments. These include new Broadband companies and providers. There has also been a reduction in the cost of hosting a paid site. At the moment I'm looking at the possibility of a I-Power Hosting. This will bring Planet Dot Retro Radio on full time. The name of the station is also undergoing some changes. With a new professional look and sound, Planet Dot Retro will now be renamed Classic Backtrax - 2PR.
The potential of 2PR resuming programming is very exciting, but the launch date is still quite a long way off. With any great change comes many things to organise. Some of these things include the production of new voice overs, station promos and program production. Energies are being concentrated on arranging new studio facilities at my new place. There is also a truck load of vinyl to be converted to CD.
Planet Dot Retro radio was more or less a add hock project, wherever free hosting could be found. 2PR will be a permanent arrangement with either a sponsor or paid host. As sponsors are as common as a lottery win, I am looking at the avenue of paid hosting. This seems to be the only way to over come these crippling server limitations. I guess free hosts were created by people who would design computers without monitors.
Also to reflect the changes, the site has undergone some miner cosmetic alterations. Planet Retro is the Websites new name. We have decided to dump the "Dot" as it did get some people confused.
Home truths about free hosts aside, we will inform you of any further developments when they come to hand.
*****WE HAVE TAKEN THE PLUNGE INTO PERMANENT HOSTING*****
Thursday 21st November 2002 at 2:52 pm
With no potential of sponsorship, We have finally made the decision to go with a paid host. With developments happening everyday on the internet. The price of web hosting and domain registrations has tumbled. We have chosen to go with IPowerWeb as they offer the best value for services in both counts.
This is exciting news as we now have no restrictions with what we can do. Shortly we will commence broadcasting of internet radio 2PR FM. In the coming months will ad sounds from long ago, such as classic radio segments and yes…… even the sound of good old fireworks, for all of us that were around before 1986.
When 2PR commences broadcasting, we will start off with program 4, which is currently in production.
WE'VE REACHED THE GOAL POST - WE'VE MADE IT
Well, it's been one determined fight, but we've made it. As of this moment, Radio Station 2PR FM is back on the airwaves and broadcasting to the world. As this is a paid host, we're happy to announce that this will be our permanent home for life!
With the new look and name. We have decided to produce a new set of shows. The new series will start from program 1, and will carry through as new programs are uploaded. At present we have two new shows on the server. Both of which feature material from the late seventies and mid-eighties. As the site develops further, will be presenting yearly specials, and digging out more hits from the seventies and eighties.