By Jacob Katel
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If you were as shocked as we were when 103.5 the Beat suddenly ceased broadcasting, you can now breathe a sigh of relief. Newly launched, Florida-based web broadcaster Da One Radio is now catering to fans of hip-hop and R&B who seek an alternative to what urban radio has become. Da One is headed by Miami rap music veteran Sam "Smokey Dee" Hayes and popular Miami radio and club DJ Jonathan "DJ Primo" Padilla. Both have played key roles in Miami's commercial and underground rap scene, publishing their own music and artists since 1987.
"Most Internet radio stations are really not that much different in programming from commercial radio. We focus on music that would do well on commercial radio but for whatever reason gets ignored," the station programmers said in a recent press release. "We also realize that since we have been deeply involved in Miami's music scene for so many years, we possess original music and contacts that most other radio stations simply won't have access to." The station's current format is a mix of Top 100 urban hits as well as music from up-and-coming artists.
Their approach is more of a grassroots, street-level effort to reach listeners via directly using the Internet and new mobile device technology. But the innovations don't end there. Hayes and Padilla say they want to help new artists understand how better to break their music. "We recognize most up-and-coming artists don't understand the importance of and often have no idea how SoundScan, BDS, bar codes, and other professional audience-measurement tools work, and many of our music professionals don't take the time to teach them," they said.
Music industry executives will also be glad to know that Da One Radio also provides third-party airplay monitoring reports that allow them to know what songs are being listened to and how well they are being received by a real urban audience. By providing professional music, services, and audience data similar to what large corporate radio stations provide, the station hopes to expose the recording industry to new music that would otherwise remain unknown outside of Miami's independent rap music community.