Radio Bluegrass International

This image of Bill Monroe from 1974 accompanied the press release sent out by the museum.The International Bluegrass Music Museum quietly launched a new internet radio station the first of this month, but now they are making some noise about it.

RBI (Radio Bluegrass International), as it is called, is a non-commercial, 24-hour streaming internet broadcast available on the museum’s website. The stated goal of launching such a station is to

provide bluegrass news, classic tracks, new releases, disc reviews, in-studio performances, international recordings, archived radio shows from around the world, vintage vinyl, festival announcements, festival recordings, and museum news

Long range plans include adding forums, blogs, and calendars to the website as the station grows, including multi-lingual programs in the stream, updating the museum’s website to be multi-lingual, and streaming the audio and video recordings the museum has collected as part of the Video Oral History Program.

The museum has fully licensed the stream and will keep up with all royalties and licenses necessary. The new royalty rates for internet broadcast have been discussed at length here on Bluegrass Today and the museum’s solution should be of interest.

The station is currently live and free, in what the museum refers to as the “Open House” phase. But on July 5, 2007 the “Open House” ends and the stream will no longer be free. At that time RBI listeners will need to pay $4 per month to access the stream, while museum members will will receive unlimited access with their annual membership.

An official “Grand Opening” show will be broadcast Friday, May 18, at 7:30 AM EST. This particular show will be hosted by the museum’s Assistant Director Mike Lawing and engineer/program director Rob Calhoun.

NOTE: The stream is only available in a Windows Media format and is not compatible with Macintosh. Flip for Mac opened QT to play the stream but then told me the url was not valid. The museum has no plans at this time to offer the stream in any other format.