DKFM as a radio station is the final product of a journey, begun with 1980s Cocteau Twins and JAMC, through the early 1990s with MBV, Slowdive and Ride, refreshed in the early ‘10s through last.fm, eMusic and especially turntable.fm. DJ Heretic (as he was known even then) was a regular visitor and “performer” in the “shoegaze rooms” of turntable.fm, spinning everything from Airiel to The December Sound. Ultimately the primary shoegaze group on Turntable got a bit wobbly (theme days: “pick a song featuring a color!”), and became less focused on classic but underheard artists and new, breaking tracks. It seemed, surely there ought to be a radio station focused solely on THIS sound, THIS sonic aesthetic. By the time Be Forest released their classic debut single “Florence (lrnc)”, the die was cast. There was a wave of new and groundbreaking artists from around the globe that deserved to be heard by a wider audience.
By the end of 2011, the groundwork was laid for DKFM Shoegaze Radio. Launched on Live365 as an internet-only station, it seemed counterintuitive to go with terrestrial radio “call letters”, but this effort had to be set apart from everything else. The idea became this: if over-the-air radio was any good, there would be a station dedicated to this music. We set up the station to imitate terrestrial radio, the good, bad and ugly. Because not only were we fans of the music, we were fans of good radio. The overall presentation of DKFM (derived from the musical terms “sustain” and “decay”) has evolved greatly since 2011, with high-dollar jingle/logo/identity packages, as well as a stable of professional announcer idents. While the playlist has always expanded over time, the focus of the music library has contracted. The idea: share the classics you know, salted in between quality bands out NOW, making the most of their unique take on a classic sound.
By 2016, we’d developed and nurtured some great programming, made many friends around the world, sponsored festivals up and down the West Coast (DreamGaze LA, DreamGaze SF, and Seagaze Seattle), and dominated our category. Not to say there weren’t bumps along the way. New royalty laws benefiting Taylor Swift and Kanye West shut down many non-profit webcasters promoting independent music, and shut down our network of four years (Live365) at the end of 2015. Broadcast offices moved from Fresno to Los Angeles, to Brussels, finally coming to a rest in Toronto, where SOCAN licensing allows independent artists to be promoted at reasonable royalty rates, while not crushing non-profit broadcasters. The assistance of our Patrons in keeping DKFM alive and viable (and commercial-free) continues to be invaluable, and we celebrate them on air every chance we get.
2017 Update: The summer of 2017 brought us the global recognition that our listeners already grasped: DKFM is doing something special, in a truly impressive way. It started with DKFM being named a Top Five Finalist in Mixcloud’s Online Radio Awards for North America and Canada. It came to many as a shock that an alternative station would carry the flag in a competition normally dominated by dubstep and “community radio”, but by now our imprint had become tougher to ignore. Shortly after that announcement, DKFM earned Best Worldwide Single Stream Webcaster 2017, at the 8th Annual RAIN Awards, held this year in Austin, Texas. Our own Austin native Amber Crain was able to attend the NAB Show and RAIN Awards presentation, accepting on behalf of DKFM. In short, it was a very good year, and our listeners’ patience, love and support really shone through. We’ve always done it for you, and we cannot do it without you. Thanks for being part of this special community.
Music submissions, interview requests and general curses may be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org