Internet station finding place in universe

Filed under: Photo,Print,Small Business | Tags:
Cosmic production manager Mel Davis and Cosmic owner Stacey Kline have turned the Internet radio operation from a dream into a success with listeners around the planet.

Cosmic production manager Mel Davis and Cosmic owner Stacey Kline have turned the Internet radio operation from a dream into a success with listeners around the planet.

Cosmic Broadcasting

Founded — November 2012

Owner — Stacey Kline

Employees — two

www.cosmicbroadcasting.com

Stacey Kline loves to talk.

In a five-minute conversation, she covers gardening, weather, chickens and homeowners associations. She has a real enthusiasm in her voice that makes people want to listen.

In November, Kline launched an Internet radio station, Cosmic Broadcasting, from an office off East Platte Avenue. Unlike terrestrial radio, there are no limits to her station’s reach. She receives calls to her show from across the country and emails from others, who found the archived shows online, from around the globe.

“We wanted something out of this world,” Kline said about naming the station Cosmic Broadcasting.

Kline recruited local rock musician Grant Higgins and small-business owner Mel Davis, who specializes in entertainment, to join her on Internet radio. Together they produce shows including, “The Connection Puzzle,” “Diva Marie” and “Essential Sports Talk.” They plan to add more shows in the coming months.

They play only unsigned musicians and love to talk smack during football season in a show they call “The Smack Down.” In less than four months, their little station has picked up traction. They have 15,000 regular listeners and more than a dozen sponsors across the country. And, they’ve already been invited to broadcast live from special events, including one hosted by musician Jon Bon Jovi in New Jersey.

“We have the capability to be portable, long as we have an IP address,” Higgins said.

Getting connected

When the economy tanked four years ago, Kline started seeing a lot of blogs written by women who were nervous about re-entering the workforce. She offered job-hunting tips on various websites and was invited to be a guest on an Internet radio show to share her ideas. That led to other shows. Eventually, Kline concluded that she wanted her own Internet radio station.

“I always wanted to find my niche but just really hadn’t been able to,” she said.

She bought computers, microphones, a player, remotes, a mixer and a phone, then rented an office. She worked with a Denver software company that develops desktop media players and mobile apps. And in November, she went live.

A master networker on Facebook and social media, she connected with listeners and experts to interview on various topics ranging from fashion design to home improvement to owning a franchise. One recent guest, a New Jersey businesswoman, was impressed with her experience as a guest on Kline’s show and invited the Cosmic Broadcasting team to broadcast live from a benefit for the JBJ Soul Kitchen.

“She said, ‘Will you do it?’ Of course, it’s Jon Bon Jovi, who wouldn’t?” Kline said.

The trio interviewed guests — whom they described as high rollers — at the red-carpet affair and that gig led to others; Cosmic will return to Jersey in April and July to broadcast live from other events.

“They loved us,” Kline said.

Internet radio has come a long way since 1994 when the Rolling Stones were the first to broadcast a cyberspace concert. According to a 2012 report from TargetSpot, a digital audio benchmark and trend study, Internet radio listenership has reached 42 percent of adult U.S. broadband households — up 8 percent from 2011. And about 80 percent of those listening to Internet radio listen longer than last year — from 1 to 3 hours a day.

Those numbers add up to a good sales pitch for would-be sponsors of Cosmic Broadcasting, which is selling sponsorships across the country. Cosmic Broadcasting knows who is listening, for how long and the ZIP code where they live, Higgins said.

“I can set up ads to play in certain states, regions, time zones, even ZIP codes,” he said.

But the competition is steep. There are more than 80 Internet radio sites based in Colorado, according to TuneIn.com. Some are trying to be a smaller version of Pandora, Davis said. That can be a pricey venture for Internet radio stations because they must pay royalties to artists.

“The average time is less than a year for most stations,” Davis said. “We have more structure.”

Cosmic Broadcasting is blending talk and music, Davis said.

It’s a mix that attracts a wider variety of sponsors, he said. Rates start at $100 a month and include a 30-second ad spot. Cosmic Broadcasting’s mobile apps allow easy listening from any device.

“We are right in the pioneering age of the technology,” Davis said.

Cosmic Music

Last summer, Higgins organized a wildfire benefit show featuring the best bands in Colorado to raise money for Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado. Kline sought him out.

“I wanted him to host Cosmic Music,” Kline said.

Higgins, who plays in the Colorado Springs-based band Tattooed Grin, invites local bands to send in their music. He’ll tell a little ditty about the band and the song and where to see them play during Cosmic Music, which runs live from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

“I’ll bring in a band and they’ll tell a friend and they’ll bring in a different band,” Higgins said.

Cosmic is gearing up to host and broadcast a Colorado bands music concert April 27 at Sunshine Studios, 3970 Clearview Frontage Road.

The idea of promoting unsigned artists is hot, Davis said. Some clubs and sports bars are now playing Cosmic Music in their venues.

Davis, who has been in and around the music business for 25 years and has worked with the likes of R&B artists Baby Face and Usher, is passionate about exposing up-and-coming artists to the world. He hopes to use his connections to bring in musicians to Sunshine Studios, he said.

“We get email from around the world,” Davis said. “People are loving that we are helping unsigned artists — we are building listeners every day.”