The Spirit is Back in Toronto Radio

Indie88 bannerIt can be a challenge to find a good pop radio station these days.  That’s why we’re fans of Indie88, Toronto’s newest station, based right here in Liberty Village.  LibertyVillageToronto.com was present in the Indie88 studio as the high-spirited and fun-loving crew was preparing for the initial broadcast launch at noon on July 31, 2013.

Indie88 brings a great addition to the Toronto music scene with an eclectic variety of indie music.  The station is called Indie88 because they aren’t part of a larger media conglomerate, but embody the spirit of independent radio that’s able to adapt to its listening community.

Indie88 is located right across the street from the Liberty Market Building and the Liberty Market Lofts so they’re in the heart of Liberty Village.   Megan Bingley, the station’s General Manager, commented that they love the fun, hip vibe of the Liberty Village.   They feel a sense of neighbourliness where people still wave and say hi as they pass each other on the street.  She stated that it’s a real community station and they want to connect with their listeners and the music community in Toronto.  In that way it’s similar to JazzFM 91, Liberty Village’s original FM station which is also dedicated to connecting with listeners and artists in a closer way.

Indie88 will feature personalities who bring their own special stamp to the programming.  Their first announced host at launch is Rainaindie88 crew 2 Douris who came over from CBC Radio 3.  Raina is known for her passion for discovering and promoting new artists.    Alan Cross, Toronto self-proclaimed “professional music geek” and “guidance counsellor” to the Indie88 hosted his own segment on Aug 1 where he stated that “the spirit is back” in Toronto radio.  We agree with this statement and Indie 88 looks like it’s set to be Toronto’sun-boring station, at least as far as we are concerned.

What makes Indie88 particularly unique and inspiring in Toronto’s music scene is that the programming will be shaped by its audience to a much greater extent than any other station in the city.   Megan Bingley commented that the playlist isn’t completely solidified at this point and will depend on the input of listeners.   She described it as a “Reddit-style of programming, in that the most popular will rise to the top.”  Instead of having the programming determined by the music industry, the audience will be able to influence the playlist.

Based on our observation of the first day of operations, the station is playing the hits of a wide variety of indie artists.   Adam Thompson, the station’s program director, says that “musically Indie88 will span the last four decades, and will focus on a blend of Indie Folk, Indie Pop and Indie Rock. In addition heavy emphasis will be placed on emerging bands from Toronto.”

Indie88 StudioThere are at least four major ways you can influence the playlist of Indie88:

– First, you can “up-vote” or “down-vote” a song by clicking on the “like” or “dislike” when the song first comes up on the comment stream.   This will encourage or discourage the station from playing the song in the future.

– Second, you can be part of a community panel for the station by signing up for and participating in their weekly Choose the Music survey.  In this survey, the emailed participants will have a chance to rate new songs.

– Third, if you’re an indie band who wants to be heard, you can Submit your Music directly to the Progamming Director by contacting them via email,

– Fourth, you can request favourite artists or songs on the comment stream of the Activity Feed and the moderators will pick them up.

All this adds up to an inspiring and innovative way of doing radio.

Where can you hear this jewel-box of indie radio goodness?  It’s easy to find.  Tune your radio to the very farthest left side of the FM dial that you can go, and there you will find Indie88.1    The signal is sent to a transmitter at First Canadian Place and then broadcast throughout the GTA.  The listening area reaches from Oakville/Burlington to Markham to Pickering.     Alternatively, you can tune into online at www.indie88.com   It’s also available through streams on the radio apps such as TuneInRadio.   We heard there’s an also an app coming soon so watch for it in the iOS App Store and the Android store.  Follow them on twitter at twitter.com/indie88toronto.

August will be completely ad free as it is their technical test but then ads will come into the mix starting in September.

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