10 Questions with ... Eddie Barella
February 17, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started with idobi Radio as a teenager in the early 2000s when internet radio was more of a hobby than a business. Got my first FM radio gig as producer of a KQMT/Denver specialty show, Reggae On The Mountain. From there I went to iHeartMeda as Imaging Director/night jock of Active Rocker 106.7 KBPI/Denver, with production duties at KEGL/Dallas and freelance production work with Premiere's Brown Bag. Then, helped launch Westwood One's Rock 2.0 STORQ format as one of the original jocks. Now, idobi Radio is a viable online radio company with over 5 million tune-ins per month, regularly raking in the top 10 of Triton Digital's online audience ranker.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I was a Denver radio sponge as a kid. I was heavily included by KBPI's old morning show Dean & Rog and night jock Willie B. When Denver got Howard Stern for a couple years while I was in high school that was a game changer. Mind blowing radio, and still is.
I loved listening to the cross-town rivalry KBPI had with then rocker KXPK, 96.5 The Peak. Listening to Rover (now at WMMS) battle with Willie B. was some of the most entertaining radio to ever be on in Denver. It helped me realize that radio has no limits and could actually be a fun "job". I had to get in it somehow. It was a dream come true to land a gig working at KBPI before I even graduated college.
2. What led you to idobi Radio?
I was playing with online radio before online radio was a thing, back in the dial-up days. I hosted various online shows and developed various formats as a hobby. I eventually came across idobi Radio and really dug what was going on, so I jumped in head first and helped build it. I've always seen the potential in online radio and knew we could eventually turn idobi Radio into something big, even if it took 10-years for technology to catch up us.
3. Give us the 411 on idobi Radio?
idobi Radio is the leading alternative format on the internet with millions of accredited tune-ins per month. It's been a slow and steady build since 1999, but especially took off with the popularity of smart phones. The single idobi Radio stream consistently outranks entire terrestrial broadcast companies that stream their FM stations online. It focuses on younger leaning alternative, especially pop-punk. We're the official home of the Warped Tour's radio show (Warped idobi Radio) and we have various artists host shows on the station: All Time Low, Simple Plan, and Mike Herrera of MXPX. We also take pride in developing our own homegrown personalities who've gone on to do some pretty amazing things. RAIN named us the Best Single-Stream Webcaster of 2014.
4. After 15 years, how is the company growing in the digital space?
We partnered with AdsWizz a couple of years ago, and that's when things really started to take off. AdsWizz has been instrumental is taking idobi Radio from hobby to business, and attracting investors. Every month we're growing with more and more active sessions and total tune-ins. We're been developing partnerships with brands like Warped Tour, Alternative Press, Glamour Kills Clothing, various tours, and more. Digital space vs. the non-digital space is a line that is almost completely blurred, and we're taking full advantage.
5. Why do you feel the station has become so popular?
We are passionate music and radio fans that put the listener first. We keep radio basics in mind when programming but we aren't afraid to innovate and break the rules. We've always put an emphasis on finding new artists we think will be big before they break. Bands like Fall Out Boy and more recently, American Authors, were heard on idobi Radio months to years before hitting mainstream alternative. We develop artist's relationships over time and have grown up with a lot of the artists we played when we first started. We wouldn't be where we are today without the amazing artists and labels we work with.
6. How would you describe the music on the station?
If you've ever been to Warped Tour, that's describes our core sound. We're the format every kid wishes was on FM, but would only work on the internet.
7. Tell us about the rock stars you have as radio hosts?
Popular pop-punkers Jack Barakat and Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low host Full Frontal, which has been one of our most successful shows and podcasts. Hundreds of thousands of people stream each episode. Another wildly popular show is Man Of The Hour, hosted by Simple Plan. Mike Herrera of MXPX is well respected in the music scene idobi Radio supports, and hosts a very thoughtful and deep-thinking show called The Mike Herrera Hour. We have several other big names in development right now!
8. What else may surprise people about idobi Radio?
Although we've been around for 15-years, we've only been a real company for the past couple of years! Our sales revenue is strong and growing rapidly.
9. What do you love the most about your job?
The thing I find to be the most rewarding is that I've helped build idobi Radio from the ground up and have a real say in the day-to-day business. I love being able to make my own decisions (and mistakes) and not have to follow a corporate mandate. Maybe that makes me the man now?
10. What would surprise people most about you?
I'm under 30. I'll say that while I can.
What are your hobbies?
idobi Radio still feels like a hobby! Living in Denver I enjoy all the outdoors activities the state has to offer. I also "play" the guitar.
Last non-industry job?
First record ever purchased?
Favorite band of all-time?
Loaded question...today it will be Weezer.