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Whistler’s set radio future

Online radio station is a social network for music fans

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WMN is now averaging 250 hits every day. Six weeks ago it was averaging 20. Colpitts and Clark hope their big coming out party on Friday, June 3 will boost the number to 500-plus. The day-long affair will start with a breakfast show and run all day, including a live midnight broadcast from Garfinkel's that will feature local performers such as Animal Nation.

The project is still in its infancy and the creators are still working out all the kinks. Neither Colpitts or Clark is a professional radio broadcaster  - Colpitts is computer programmer and Clark is an architect - so they're learning as they go.

"This is more to see how the community forms this product," Colpitts says. "We're looking to give visibility to the local artists, or the West Coast, and the businesses as well. We're trying to pair those two up and create a model that is sustainable for, at first, Whistler and then possibility Vancouver or wherever."

The decision to feature West Coast independent artists is both righteous (it's a way to promote emerging local artists in a forum that might not otherwise be noticed) and practical - major label records demand agreements that cost money. This is money that WMN doesn't have yet and is not interested in spending on major label music. All licensing goes through the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), and currently it can play music from any artist that is a member.

"We don't care about pop music right now," Clark says. "There are enough stations playing it and everyone's looking for something that's more underground right now anyway. That's what we're about.

"We want to support the little guy. As soon as you play big labels a big portion of what you're doing is going to those major labels."

Nor will it be necessary. The internet has levelled the playing field for musicians, some say to the detriment of the record industry. Major international acts like Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys and now Odd Future - who are being pulled through the online hype machine at this very moment - owe their successes largely to online forums, music blogs and file sharing - without major label support. WMN is doing its part to collect the unknown voices of the West Coast, give them a forum and let the listeners decide on what's good or bad through a social media/music network.

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