FOLK ALLEY SAYS "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!"
NEW DESIGN, NEW FEATURES, NEW HOSTS – SAME GREAT SOUND
Tuesday September 27, 2005
Two years ago, Al Bartholet, the forward-thinking general manager of WKSU-FM in Kent, Ohio, recognized an opportunity to provide acoustic and tradition-based music fans access the songs they loved 24-hours a day. Through his efforts and those of the WKSU staff, FolkAlley.com was born – creating a folk music community on the World Wide Web centered on a music stream hosted by WKSU's skilled folk host, Jim Blum. In September, Folk Alley celebrated its second birthday with a cake and a brand-new, more fan-friendly, design for its web site. FolkAlley.com now has documented listeners in all 50 U.S. states and more than 80 countries world-wide and entered its third year firmly in Webmetrics top 20 streaming services.
Since the fateful moment on Sept. 8, 2003 when Folk Alley was introduced to the planet, more than 45,000 listeners have registered at the FolkAlley.com web site, with thousands more streaming the best in folk – singer/songwriter, Celtic, bluegrass, world, Americana, acoustic, traditional folk tunes and more – through music players including RealPlayer, Windows Media and iTunes. Folk Alley also offers fans a music-based blog, exclusive downloads, copious links to folk on the Web, the extensive playlist – with detailed artist information and interactive song commenting, at-a-glance new music additions with click-through to purchase feature, folk music news and more.
In September, FolkAlley.com inaugurated its new live concert series with a performance by Eliza Gilkyson at Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom. More concerts are planned, drawing on WKSU’s long-established relationships with venues throughout Northeast Ohio's active music community. Currently in the works for FolkAlley.com is a virtual Open Mic area, an online "coffeehouse" where artists can upload their songs for review by the Folk Alley community.
With the many improvements to Folk Alley, the most exciting change may come in October as founding host Jim Blum welcomes three voices to share his microphone. The new DJs – Elena See, Barb Heller and Jeff St. Clair – will add their personalities to Folk Alley's acclaimed music mix, allowing the audience a fresh listening experience while maintaining the music stream’s established quality. Please see the attached sheet for more information on all of Folk Alley’s hosting staff.
With Folk Alley's growth has come the need for full-time staff dedicated solely to developing FolkAlley.com's potential. In April, Linda Fahey came aboard as programming and marketing director, followed in May by Folk Alley Operations and Production Director Chris Boros. Fahey, a veteran of public radio's "A Prairie Home Companion" and Red House Records, is building industry in-roads for FolkAlley.com and conducting Folk Alley’s most recent fund drive. Along with adding functionality and programming to the web site, Boros is busy adapting the FolkAlley.com stream to a format that can be offered by National Public Radio (NPR) to member stations as digital content for HD broadcasting and simultaneous web streaming.
FolkAlley.com is a non-profit Internet venture produced by WKSU-FM, an award-winning public radio station with more than 50 years of broadcasting experience. A service of Kent State University, the station also presents the Kent State Folk Festival and broadcasts 13 hours of original folk music programming each week over WKSU 89.7 FM and four repeater signals throughout Northeast Ohio.
PR05.22 ### 9/27/05
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