Digital radio station puts local artists on global map

ST. LOUIS – Though not as loud and cadenced as famed DJ Khalid’s “we the best” declarations, music industry exec Christopher Donde declares that “St. Louis artists are best.” 

The north-side-bred industry exec was seated in the Julia Davis Branch Library and rapping to The NorthSider in an exclusive interview. He was dropping knowledge on his digital radio station, radiouncutinternational. And while he couldn’t be as vocal as the famed deejay, his fervor and conviction spoke ear-plug-worthy volumes. 

“St. Louis – not to mention East St. Louis – has some of the most talented artists in the world,” said Donde, who has spent considerable time down south and on the east and west coasts. 

“They just need the platform,” he explained.

Well, they did. For about four years now, Donde has been airing It offers selections of rap, reggae, R&B and techno by local independent artists, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

“We need more than STL Sundays for more than one hour to play local music – that’s what does,” Donde said. 

The local digital radio station quickly became a hit. Donde then set up shop in other states, 24 to be exact, including, for instance. The venture then grew to 65 stations and 45 cities. Then came international listeners, and, a year later, Local artists around the country are getting international spins. 

“I don’t know how many people came up to me and said they’re tired of hearing the same old music that played on radio stations. They want to hear something new, something fresh, but good,” Donde said, pointing out that the only difference between an artist on a major label and an independent artist, is marketing and volume distribution. 

Today, Donde offers the artists on his international playlist those services and more. Along with marketing and distribution, artists can get press kits and go out on tours. 

“It pushes the middle man out and puts the artists where they need to be to get to labels and radio stations,” singer Drevo Coolidge said. 

“It has been the platform that has gotten me noticed with big labels and big music execs,” said Coolidge, who copped a single-record deal with Sony Music Group. His single, “Bermuda,” a letter/song to his father, went platinum. 

Coolidge, who was born in Bermuda and now lives in Atlanta, also said the digital music house was putting him back in the mix. His latest song, “C.I.N.D.Y. (Creative Independent Natural Designed Youth),” is now spinning on the radio website, and the artist is getting more ears – and eyes. 

“They’re my family,” he said of “They’re helping me to get back into that circle that I belong in in the industry.”  

Coolidge (@drevocoolidge) also rode the wave of a recent tour that stopped in St. Louis earlier this year at Fubar in Midtown. Artists also tour colleges and major universities. The tour performances are available on Youtube. 

And high schools aren’t left out of the mix. Students can go on for age-appropriate music and networking. Students can also learn broadcasting and how to start their own digital radio stations.

And should any of them get a station up and running, they may want to make sure they get some St. Louis artists on the playlist. 

“I’ll put my St. Louis station up against all my other stations,” Donde says. Of course: “St. Louis artists are the best.” 

Bill Beene Bill Beene was born and raised in north St. Louis. He has been a journalist for 12 years. He enjoys cooking and roller skating. He lives in the historic Ville neighborhood.

Related Articles

Back to top button
%d bloggers like this: