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Creative

Apr. 8, 2013 10:00 am

DJ Phil Dorsey of TheBocX: listen to Towson-based jazz streaming radio

The Towson-based PMI-certified IT project manager started broadcasting playlists of his jazz-fusion listening tastes three years ago. In 2012, more than 120,000 people tuned into his focused pre-programmed 24/7 streaming channel and now more than 25,000 listener hours are logged each month.

Phil Dorsey, an IT project manager, is three years into running a jazz-fusion streaming music station with listeners around the world.

This is Technically Baltimore’s Geek This Week, a new, regular series highlighting the work of under-covered “geeks” in the Baltimore region.

Phil Dorsey says he has listeners in more than 80 countries. He’s a fine example of how good the web is at connecting niche communities.

The Towson-based PMI-certified IT project manager — currently between assignments but looking his next opportunity — started broadcasting playlists of his jazz-fusion listening tastes three years ago. In 2012, more than 120,000 people tuned into his focused pre-programmed 24/7 streaming channel and now more than 25,000 listener hours are logged each month.

Listen on TheBocX.com or find TheBocX station under Jazz on either Windows Media Player or iTunes. The station is also on several apps, like TuneIn Radio, Radionomy and Stitcher.

Now he’s working on using his audience to make some money to pay for the time he puts into his love.

Dorsey, or DJ Phil as his business card reads, is tall, with a sweet smile. He’s lived in Towson for five years and says he can’t believe he’s turning 60 this summer.

“I have an uncle now 85 who started a new business at 82 that he works 5-6 days a week at, who I use as inspiration!,” he said. He previously lived for 25 years in Madison, N.J, but grew up in Pittsburgh — his father of the same name was a close friend of Roberto Clemente, he said.

What music are you playing?

Our 24/7 station plays what I would classify as jazzy, soulful, bluesy, chilled, funky, eclectic musical expressions. Some you know that have been re-edited, others you really want to know.

How does a one-man operation run a round-the-clock streaming radio station?

Using a cloud host out of Belgium, I’ve created 21 various playlists based on tempo and program specific music of about 130-260 different songs in each. I frequently add and delete songs in these to keep the playlist fresh.

These are slotted into day templates, which are timed to play various tempos during specific times of the day. I use Eastern Standard Time time for my programming cycle, though I have many Asian listeners that listen during the overnight time here, for the most chilled programming. These are then slotted into a planning calendar 30 days out. The initial setup was tricky because the instructions were written in Flemish. So there was a lot of trial and error.

What kind of audience do you have?

Our growth has been all word or mouth or people searching for something new to hear. We’re averaging 35,000 to 40,000 accesses a month now with 25k to 30K listening hours a month. This is from the various portals and have been at this for about three years. We’ve been averaging about 120,000 new accesses every year.  We have listeners in over 80 countries with the USA first but often challenged by Japan, Canada, Italy and Spain.

How much money are you making with your audience?

I’m making zero dollars right now, our plans are to go to a new host that would enable us to solicit our own advertisers. Now we’re restricted to the host advertisers and their promise to share future revenue. I would like to grow this into a full-time effort and have a job I enjoy listening and finding music I like.

I’ve met musicians, DJs and music distributors from all over the world who share their music with me, and have built a nice fan base of well-heeled aged 30+ listeners who tune in for hours. That is a untapped market. Most music stations try to classify the 30+ bracket as someone who listens only to oldies, classic rock/R&B or smooth (sleepy) jazz.

Our listeners don’t particularly want to listen to their kids music, and are yearning for something new but recognizable yet creative and inspirational and upbeat. So with our existing following we can only grow as we are found by others.

mercuryWhat do you do outside of work and your station?

I’m a 27 year practicing SGI Buddhist with a patient lovely wife, two sons and three sweet granddaughters. I also have a 1989 Merkur XR4TI [pictured above] I maintain.

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Christopher Wink

Christopher Wink is a cofounder and Editorial Director of Technical.ly, the local technology news network. Previously, Wink worked for a homeless advocacy nonprofit and was a freelance reporter for a variety of publications. He writes regularly about news innovation and best business practices on his personal blog here. The bicycle commuter loves cities, urban politics and squabbling about neighborhood boundaries.

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  • Bob Liebetreu

    If you are an experienced Jazz listener or new to Jazz, this is the station to tune into. This isn’t “feel good” music, this is FEEL GREAT music. Tune it in…and rip the knob off. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

  • Carsten Jung

    The Best. I tune in every day. Love TheBocx.