Whistler’s set radio future 

Online radio station is a social network for music fans

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The future is being broadcast from a small Whistler studio and it's called WMN.fm.

Let's be clear: the Whistler Media Network's radio station is merely the pilot project of an expansive social network masterminded by Steve Clark and Adam Colpitts, where independent music will be recorded, produced, filmed and broadcast for audio and video. If all goes according to plan, it will be local music for local people by local people.

But the first things must always come first, and in this case it is WMN.fm, the online radio component to Clark and Colpitts' master plan.

"Our ultimate goal would be to give enough visibility to an artist so that they can make the decision that if they want to go to a major label, they can," Colpitts says.

The seeds of WMN were planted three years ago, when Clark and Colpitts met through a mutual friend and discovered a shared interest in helping local musicians reach new audiences through social media. The result was WMN, which was launched in 2010 as an on-demand service. It was not successful.

"People couldn't relate to it," Colpitts says. "They were saying, 'What is this?' At its highest form, it's Google for music but people didn't get it."

Then, earlier this year, they had a collective epiphany: a live radio format.

"When we decided on the live format, it just opened up a lot of things. We were able to get the community more involved so that naturally spread the word quicker," Colpitts says.

In April, they launched a campaign to collect ideas for broadcasts and wrangle potential hosts. Since then, WMN has broadcast around 60 shows. There are now 17 regular programs during the week, including I Love Dirty Bass, a live broadcast of DJ sets broadcast from Garfinkel's every Wednesday night. Thursdays and Fridays feature day-long programming while Saturday is left wide open to give the duo a break. The rest of the week has half-day programming and Clark says they're still looking for talent to fill the dead spots.

The website includes a chat application where listeners can engage the hosts and other listeners. The network is being designed as a social network for musicians and music fans, where it will not only be broadcast but also eventually filmed - and shown through the forthcoming WMN.tv. All independent music will be shared, swapped, commented on, praised or rejected through this community.

"This is a really good opportunity for musicians that don't have management pushing to get them on major radio stations, so I think that will be a very good selling point for the stations, and I think that will be a good place to find it," says singer Rachel Thom, who hosts a show on Tuesday nights with musician Jon Shrier.

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