Starting a radio station may seem like a far-away dream for most people, but with the power of the Internet, two local residents have embraced that dream and made it a reality by starting Mayberry Radio, an Internet radio station.
Steve Martin and Joe Dellinger are the owners of Yesterday’s, a store located behind Main Street on the lower floor of the former Rose’s Department Store building.
They operate Mayberry Radio, an Internet radio station based at live365.com. Every track they play features local and North Carolina-related musicians and bands, and the two said they have enough music for a 15-hour rotation, with new songs added weekly. The 15-hour rotation is repeated, so listeners can tune in at any time of the day or night.
The tracks played include information about the artist, album and song, and some even feature a link to Amazon.com, so if the listener heard something they enjoyed they could purchase the music.
According to Dellinger, Mayberry Radio was low in the ranks of the more than 6,000 stations hosted by live365.com when it began around a year-and-a-half ago, but the amount of people tuning in has grown since then and the station now is around 3,300 out of 7,000 stations, in terms of the number of listeners and the number of “likes” it has accumulated.
Martin and Dellinger are able to track the location of their listeners, who are from around 30 states, including a large number of listeners in Amarillo, Texas.
Dellinger is not sure why there are so many fans in the Amarillo area, but he’s glad to have them as listeners.
Listeners also tune in from from multiple countries, including Canada, Costa Rica, Ireland, Mexico, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Vietnam, China, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and more.
Martin and Dellinger grew up in Mount Airy and met each other before middle school — they have been friends for more than 50 years. They always shared a love of music and collecting, which translated well into the business and led to the idea for the Internet radio station.
Martin was a fan of Internet radio: “I enjoyed the diversity of styles, genres and artists, and I was looking for Internet radio stations that played Andy Griffith-related stuff, but I didn’t really find anything extensive. That’s when the idea hit me — let’s create our own radio station.”
Originally, Mayberry Internet Radio began a year and a half ago with music closely related to “The Andy Griffith Show,” such as The Dillards, Jim Nabors, The Country Boys and Andy Griffith’s own music. After becoming aware of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Martin realized the law required him to play certain artists only once every three hours.
Martin said this was a hurdle, but he “had to back up and think — what else could they focus on?”
This led Martin and Dellinger to think about the many local old-time and bluegrass musicians from this area, in hopes they could start incorporating their music into the line-up, but they still wanted more variety of music.
In the interest of adding more variety, Martin began looking for North Carolina musicians. He and Dellinger found a large number of N.C.-related musicians and bands representing a wide variety of genres and styles. With this discovery, Mayberry Internet Radio became what it is today.
Dellinger said the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, which is located in Kannapolis, has an excellent website that provided many ideas for the music they added to the line-up.
“We represent many varieties of music — you may hear anything from bluegrass to jazz. We play old-time, doo wop, bee bop, rock, and much more,” Dellinger said. “It’s amazing how many artists are from North Carolina or have a connection to our state, for instance, they may not have been born here, but they lived here at some point in their lives or recorded music here.”
Martin mentioned that they now pay a monthly fee to cover copyright issues, which is important to him — he wants the artists to receive their fair share.
Mayberry Radio features musicians such as local gospel and bluegrass groups, Melva Houston, The Easter Brothers, Tommy Jarrell, Earl Scruggs, James Taylor, Roberta Flack, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, Little Eva, and even Monkees’ tunes.
According to Martin and Dellinger, Pilot Mountain musician and craftsman Ken Bloom, who is originally from California, was featured on several early Monkees’ recordings as one of the studio musicians.
They are still searching for more musicians and bands, and are open to suggestions.
Both Dellinger and Martin said they would like to add recordings by The Nomads, a late 1960s rock group that included retired Superior Court Judge Jerry C. Martin as well as Mike Badgett of Mount Airy.
Dellinger said The Nomads’ albums are hard to find, and occasionally turn up on ebay with the final bids on the 45rpm single of “Fields of Peppermint” reaching into the hundreds with one bid going above $1,000.
Martin said he has lots of plans for the future of Mayberry Radio, but the future depends on time and money. Ideally, he would like to see it grow into a station that offers a wide variety of programming.
“We’d love to incorporate podcasts, more local musicians, interviews with locals and visitors, ads from local businesses, even give people around the world an idea of what [Mount Airy] is all about. We have a lot going on here and I want to show it off.”
Dellinger and Martin also are looking for someone to volunteer their time to assist with the website, which they want to expand. In the future, the website will hopefully include a “catch-all” for local residents and visitors who want information about musicians, events, and happenings in the area. There also will be an online store where visitors to the website can purchase music from local artists.
“We want to sell ourselves and the music we are playing. We would love to feature locally-produced items as well,” said Martin.
Local bands and musicians are welcome to contact Joe Dellinger or Steve Martin at Yesterday’s if they are interested in allowing Mayberry Internet Radio to feature their music. The number for the store is 755-3558, or interested people can visit the store at 160 N. Main St., Unit 100, which is located on the back side of Main Street, on the lowest floor of the former Rose’s Department Store.
Mayberry Radio can be found by visiting live365.com and searching for Mayberry Radio, or visit the website at www.mayberryradio.com.
Reach Jessica Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1933.