The future is here.
Dave Burris and Randy Nelson started the state's first Internet talk-radio station. The duo will cover everything from upstate to downstate and bring in guests from all over the state and even Ocean City.
After about a year of planning, former television producer and radio talk-show host Randy Nelson and former Sussex County Chairman of the Republican Party (and a frequent guest of Nelson's on his radio show) Dave Burris launched Delawaretalkradio.com, the state's first Internet-only talk-radio station on Monday, Sept. 15, at 8 a.m. — and what a week it has been.
They have interviewed everyone from U.S. Sen. Tom Carper to gubernatorial candidates Jack Markell and Bill Lee. Their 9-11 a.m. host, Maria Evans, has interviewed Joan Deaver and Greg Hastings, about their candidacies for Sussex County Council and the state's 41st District representative seat, respectively.
They have also interviewed Charlie Copeland, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor; State Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf (R-Rehoboth); State Sen. Karen Peterson (D-Stanton); State Sen. Gary Simpson (R-Milford); Karen Hartley Nagle, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress, running against Republican incumbent Mike Castle; John Brady, Republican candidate for insurance commissioner; Darrell Cole, director of Public Relations for DelDOT; State Rep. John Kowalko (D-Newark South); Kay Ryan, Democratic candidate for state representative for the 38th District, running against Republican incumbent Gerald Hocker; and county council candidate Judson Bennett.
“We're trying to bring a product that isn't out there,” explained co-owner Nelson, referring to the gamut of guests that they have had on the station in their first action-packed week. Guests will be from all over the state and into Ocean City, so as not to just concentrate on one geographic area — something that was important to both Burris and Nelson.
“We'll be covering from upstate to downstate,” said Burris. “We try to get around.”
For now, their offices are located in Milton, and they hope to have a Wilmington office opened by the first of the new year.
Both have visions that Internet radio will be widespread in the near future and believe they are on the cutting edge of this new media. And, for people they can't imagine sitting at a desk all day just to be able to listen to the radio, fear not — that is certainly not likely to be the case as the Internet becomes more and more accessible.
“Although we are primarily a 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. broadcast, people can listen through their cell phones, Internet boom boxes and, in 2009, as an option, Internet radio will be available in some cars: Toyota, BMW, Ford, Chrysler and Mercedes,” explained Nelson. After the life broadcast concludes at 5 p.m., their daily broadcast is then replayed from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
After a catch-up of what's going on news-wise between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. every morning with Randy and Dave, Maria Evans is on every weekday from 9 to 11 a.m. — something else Nelson is proud of and excited about.
“There is isn't a female talk-show host in the state of Delaware,” said Nelson. “She'll be bringing a different kind of voice.”
In addition to her two-hour daily show, Evans was the communications director for the Bill Lee for Governor campaign, through this month's primary, and she will serve as sales manager at Delawaretalkradio.com.
Mike Matthews, a “brash, irreverent shock-jock,” according to Nelson, who was a popular blogger before signing on with delawaretalkradio.com, will fill the 3-5 p.m. time slot on the station.
“We think we made the move at the perfect time,” said Nelson. “Internet radio will soon be widespread and will have tremendous growth, and we hope to capitalize on that.”
The technical side of the operation at Delawaretalkradio.com is basically the same as an FM radio station. They have all the same equipment, microphones, etc. The difference is that the final product goes through an encoder or a computer server and is then streamed out over the Internet, rather than being sent through a tower onto the airwaves.
Nelson, an Emmy award-winning television producer, comes with a long history in media, first in television and most recently as a radio talk show host. Burris, the former Sussex County Republican chairman, is creator and owner of the Web sites Delawarepolitics.net and Coastalsussex.com.
Nelson and Burris met through mutual friends, and got to know each other well in their past lives as radio talk-show host and frequent guest.
“We'd argue about stuff, and then he'd leave,” joked Nelson.
“I'd be right, and he'd be wrong,” added Burris, laughing.
As the two men finished up their first whirlwind week running the first Internet-only talk radio station in the state, they were already looking forward to the future and have been pleasantly surprised with their start. Their biggest concern is that they might grow too fast, for they are confident that their listeners are out there. They said they are looking forward to providing their listeners with a non-partisan look at all the issues that affect them and their community and political leaders.
“We've exceeded every benchmark we set for ourselves, and it's been fantastic,” said Burris.
“You have to be true to yourself,” continued Nelson. “We are a unique group of people. We offer to listeners solutions to problems and want them to have the opportunity to hear what their political and community leaders have to say. There's an audience out there that's intelligent and informed and wants more than what you are getting from typical FM radio.”
For more information about the station, or to listen, visit www.delawaretalkradio.com online.