ASHLAND, Ky. (WTVQ) – Reading, knitting, baking bread, binge-watching TV – some of the hobbies people have taken up when they find themselves stuck at home after the Covid pandemic- 19.
Boyd County native Mike Nelson’s pandemic hobby? He launched his own online radio.
“I was kind of stuck here at home and I was like, you know, I always wanted to have my own radio station and do things my way and not have to play by the rules,” Nelson says. .
But it wasn’t the desire to do things his own way that really motivated this 20-year radio veteran to launch his own station — it was his love of ’80s music.
“The 80s were my years of youth and listening to the radio,” he says. “The various radio stations I worked on, I tried to present this format, which is all 80s, but I couldn’t do it. So I started to study how I could create my own radio station and not air it but actually go online in order to have a wider audience to reach, not just locally.
Nelson says his timing couldn’t have been better because the ’80s seem to be making a comeback, noting the popularity of shows like “The Goldbergs,” “Stranger Days” and “Cobra Kai.”
“It’s time for an 80s overhaul and it’s time for it to come back and I started it at the right time to jump on the bandwagon,” he says.
Nelson launched my80s.live from the basement of his house with the help of a friend with “great computer skills”. The fully automated online radio site caters to fans of 80s music 24/7 and Nelson says the response has been outstanding. He says about 400 listeners a month come from the US and even England and he sees that number growing.
One of the ways Nelson has ensured that he and his listeners can stay connected is by using a once-common practice on radio – taking song requests. He has set it up so that he will immediately be notified on his phone if someone calls and makes a request on the “My 80’s” toll-free request line.
“And I can actually go back and put that person’s voice back on the air, make that request, just like they used to do on the radio,” he says.
But Nelson doesn’t just let 80s fans relive the sounds of the decade, he also lets them relive the sights, through the Facebook page “My 80s” he put in place.
“I really do it for what the listeners really want and how they want it done,” he says. “It’s great fun because there really are no limits to what we can do.”