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Radio F (The Group) Partial Back Catalog Now on Spotify


In my previous blog post I opened up about the history of Radio F, the multimedia group I work with, regarding its early years as a comedy troupe and gradual evolution into a game publisher. I skipped over some of its history for the sake of brevity since it wasn't really applicable to the topic at hand but some recent developments have made them relevant again.

 

From 1995-1999 Radio F existed as a comedy act, and from 2004 onward it became a publisher of games when "Software" was added to its name. Between those years, though? Radio F was actually a techno music group! The friend I started the group with in 1995 and I went our separate ways just before the turn of the millennium. My memory is bad but I think we had some argument over Pokemon of all things and we just stopped hanging out after that. In 2001 I started tinkering with music sequencing in my free time and this caught the attention of another friend of mine who was also interested in working on music. We didn't really take things seriously however by the end of the year we had a handful of tracks and no real way of sharing them in any meaningful way. We also didn't have a name for our project at the time. I suggested just reusing "Radio F" and my friend was fine with that. I collected seven of our better tracks and put them together into what would be our first album/EP, No More Lonely Nights.

 

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"No More Lonely Nights", 2001

 

Yeah... when it came time to design an album cover we settled on "Amy Rose upskirt" for some reason. In order to promote our music I registered a new account on GeoCities, which was still alive at the time, and designed a webpage for Radio F. I think Yahoo (owner of GeoCities) only provided something like 15 or 20 megabytes of storage space and given that the average size of an MP3 was around 3.5 MB for your average three minute song there was no feasible way for us to host the entire album on our website. Instead I took one of the better tracks from the project ("Thumper") and crushed its filesize down to somewhere around 2 MB. It sounded like garbage because of all the compression but it was the best we could do given the limitations. Visitors to the website could download the track for free and listen to it and if they liked it they could send us a mail order for five dollars plus shipping and we'd send them a physical CD in return. We actually sold a few CD's this way! Not many but enough for us to want to keep going with this project and maybe do a follow-up.

 

2002 would prove to be a very productive year for the group as we'd been inspired to work on music and thus had a second album ready to go after a few months of work. Titled Stuck on the Rollerslide (a reference to something that happened to me at a Discovery Zone when I was a kid) the second release was more of the same just better. We used the same sequencing software and method of recording as our first album. When it came time to release it we followed all the same steps as before; I added a page for it on the Radio F website and managed to find the space on the group's Yahoo account to fit another highly compressed "single" from the album to promote it. If you wanted one it was the same process as the first album, just send us a money order and we'd send you a CD. I want to say that we kept track of the names of who bought CD's from us and if you had purchased No More Lonely Nights then we'd charge you a dollar less for this album but I'm not 100% certain we did that. This was 20 years ago.

 

Later that same year we'd release a third album, Eleven Dollars in Ones (an inside joke between my friend and I for how to give someone a cash gift and make it look like more money than it was). By the time I added the page for this album to the Radio F website we'd run out of storage space on our Yahoo account; the single from Stuck on the Rollerslide ate up the last little bit of space we had. I needed to find a way to include a sample track though! I'm surprised it took me as long as it did to think of this (two years and three albums) but the solution was as simple as registering a "radiof2" account on Yahoo and using it solely to host our MP3's. File size was still something to consider so again the track was compressed. The track we chose from this album, "FM", featured radio static in certain parts of the song and this did not compress nicely at all. It sounded horrible. Thankfully there were a small number of people who listened to our stuff who let us know that the song was perhaps a bad choice and because we now had a few more MB of upload space to work with we picked another track to offer online to sample the album with.

 

It was now 2003 and my friend and I had one more album left in us. We weren't making bank selling CD's online because barely anyone knew about us. This was all just for fun and after a few years I think we were both kind of looking to do other things (for example I'd start working on Atari 2600 games the following year). Our fourth album, Reptilian Agenda, was in my opinion at least our best work. We couldn't pick one single track to upload online as a teaser so we actually uploaded three. By now we'd mostly figured out how to get the sound we wanted out of the programs we were using and it showed. Despite being our best release I don't recall selling very many copies of this CD. Each one sold less than the other which is weird to me because I feel the quality of the albums only ever increased. But I guess it was just a result of being so hard to find and how a lot of our "popularity" came from word of mouth on places like MSN Chat. After releasing Reptilian Agenda my buddy and I stopped working on music and focused on other things.

 

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"Monster Truck Rally" (single), 2003

 

So, that's twice now that Radio F has existed and twice now that the group has disbanded. I kept the name alive on my own through "Radio F Software" but it seemed our days of releasing comedy and music albums had finally eclipsed. In my previous blog post I mentioned the creation of the website "Radio F Software Headquarters" (RFSHQ) which acted as a hub to host all of the original comedy content I was writing and filming for the web. Despite being a multimedia-oriented website our previous album releases never saw the light of day there until close to the website's closure. In 2006 I thumbed through the four music albums that we'd made in the years prior and picked out ten tracks that I felt epitomized the group during its musical period. I wanted to feature a collection from all four albums however because I was going by song quality the majority of the tracks I chose wound up being from our third and fourth albums when we were putting out our best work. I named this collection F-Sides: The Best of Radio F and offered it as a premium download on the RFSHQ website. I believe the price was still just five dollars however instead of sending out physical CD's the advancement of technology now allowed us to accept payment online with PayPal and in exchange provide the buyer with a link to download the album digitally. F-Sides was available for purchase from its release in 2006 to the closure of RFSHQ in 2008.

 

After going solo for nearly half a decade I had a growing interest in working on music again after being inspired by the rise of mash-ups and "YouTube Poop music videos" where creators would compose backing tracks and then pepper in "vocals" that had been sampled from viral videos and memes. In 2007 I tried my luck at this and created Radio F's first single in four years, "Hello My Future Dance Mix". This track sampled Michael "Mikey" Blount's infamous "hello my future girlfriend" audio recording that went viral in the late nineties. It was amusing but nowhere near as good as the mash-ups that were growing in popularity on the recently launched YouTube. I didn't get a lot of encouragement so I just kinda stopped working on new music, though the following year I made another remix mostly for the amusement of my younger brother and I. This track, "The Golden Fantasy Dragon", sampled TV salesman Tom O'Dell during a segment on the Cutlery Corner infomercial where he was hyping up a decorative knife of the same name. I didn't really have any intentions of releasing this song as a proper thing, I just uploaded it to YouTube where views wound up trickling in over the years.

 

Like I said I kinda just lost interest in making music after the Mikey song flopped and the one about the dragon knife was just a one-off joke. That was until I stumbled upon the ongoing misadventures of Christian Weston "Chris-chan" Chandler. I'm not even going to try and catch you up to speed on this guy if you've never heard of him before, just understand that he used to be a bumbling idiot on the internet who overshared way too much about his personal life and situations. In one video that was released Chris attempts to demonstrate how he would perform oral sex on a hypothetical girlfriend. The original video is disgusting and I won't link it here but back in 2010 I was floored by it and felt compelled to sample Chris' vocals with raunchy porn music backing it. The result of this effort was the song "Tickle Yo Pussay". Given the active community surrounding Chris this song actually did gain some traction and garner several thousand streams but I never capitalized on it because the curse of Chris-chan is that once you involve yourself in his life yours gets ruined in return. I made a joke song and that was enough.

 

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Radio F, 2002

 

The Chris-chan single and its accompanying "B-side" marked the end of Radio F's output as a musical act. In the years that followed 2010 I graduated from university and went on with my life. Radio F's spoken word albums hadn't been in circulation for over a decade and the four music albums from 2001-2003 had long since been out of print and unavailable. F-Sides, the best of album, stopped being available for purchase when RFSHQ closed. The account associated with the mash-up singles I'd made eventually caught enough copyright strikes from YouTube to be terminated. Everything just sorta faded away.

 

Only recently have I started caring about all this random stuff from way earlier in my life. I spoke about it a little bit in the previous blog post but there was an era of my life where I got led astray by some real bad actors and wound up getting hurt pretty badly. It's taken several years of therapy for me to work through all this and process it in a healthy way and only now am I really starting to feel "better" in a sense. I am now looking back at all the things I've accomplished and I find myself gravitating toward the more innocuous and wholesome things that dot my history. Radio F is something harmless and fun that I can be proud of and it's something I want to celebrate. I want to keep it alive in some way. At the beginning of this year I started re-compiling everything I could find from my Radio F days with the intent to put it back into circulation. I'm not yet sold on the idea of putting our entire back catalog out there again but F-Sides, the "best of" album, is a good starting point. As the name implies it contains our best work from our four musical releases. The mash-up singles I made from 2007-2010 were inklings of a fifth album, Conglomeraté, that was never completed. I compiled the highest quality recordings I could find of these tracks as well as their instrumentals and turned them into Conglomeraté: The Singles.

 

Both of these releases are now available for streaming on Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube Music. If you use Pandora then Radio F's music is something that can be suggested to you based upon the music profile you've curated. I dug through the archives of everything I had across all of my hard drive backups and found a few pictures of my friends and I that would suffice as makeshift photos of "the group" and added them to our music profiles. It was important to me to find photos of us that were era-appropriate to match the time period when our music and recordings were made.

 

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Radio F, 2010

 

So now we're at present day. Next year Radio F turns 30. Three decades have passed since the day one of my best friends and I had the bright idea to record our material to cassette tape and use that to distribute it among the people we knew. I am very grateful that after all this time I am still on good terms with everyone who's ever been a part of the group both from its eras as a comedy and musical act. We are currently in the planning stages for a reunion album to celebrate 30 years. I'm thinking about something akin to a 50/50 album of recorded comedy and new music. Perhaps I can make a mash-up of new music featuring samples taken from our old spoken word releases of the 90's. I'm honestly kind of shocked that the idea never came to me back when I was making mash-ups in the late 2010's. I also want to reach out to the people I've met over the years who are either musically or comedically inclined and invite them to participate on a track or two. I'm very fortunate that for the most part everyone still lives in same geographic area so a reunion to record new material and such won't be too hard to pull off so I want to do this now because there's no guarantee something like this will be possible for a 40th or 50th anniversary.

 

In the meantime I invite you to listen to the selected works I've made available on all the major music streaming platforms. It's nothing incredible but it's special to me and maybe in some way the fun and innocence of the recordings will rub off on you.

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