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Online station takes off
RCRN debuts Tuesday, caters to hobbyists
Hobby Radio 4 es
Cliff Whitney sits in the studio of RC Radio Network, an online radio station that he will be broadcasting from his local store, Atlanta Hobby. - photo by Emily Saunders
Tune in RCRN

Starting Tuesday, tune in at by clicking the “Launch Player” button at the top of the page.

There will be a live show at 8:30 p.m. each Tuesday.
An Internet radio station launching Tuesday from a studio in Cumming will serve the radio control hobby community.

Cliff Whitney, owner of a local hobby business, has founded the RC Radio Network, a Web radio station that will air classic rock music and live broadcasts for other model enthusiasts.

“I’m just always looking for some way to share what we’ve got in the hobby business,” he said.

The station will have a 24-hour feed of either music or live talk.

Though other fans of the hobby have produced informational podcasts, Whitney said, RCRN will be the first to have live broadcasts where users can interact.

Each live show will include listener participation, either by phone or chat room.

The first show, which is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, will also have a contest for a free remote control airplane on the chat application.

Video of the studio and instructional images to accompany each show can be viewed from the site.

The RC Radio Network is a separate entity from Whitney’s business, Atlanta Hobby.

Though the station will receive some funding from advertising, Whitney is selling only a limited number of ads. He hopes the station will be driven by its listeners, both in content and donations.

“If people like what they’re hearing,” he said, “then it’s worth something.”

Chris Hinson, owner of Extreme Flight Radio Control, said of Whitney’s newest project, “We’d expect nothing less.”

Hinson, a model airplane designer, will be the first guest on Tuesday’s broadcast.

“I think [Whitney’s] Tuesday night programs will probably become pretty popular in the modeling community,” he said.

The Web creates a large forum for information about the RC hobby. The popularity of model building, piloting and driving has exploded since the 1990s, Hinson said.

Despite all the Web sites dedicated to radio control, RCRN has garnered some buzz. More than 500 people have signed up for e-mail updates.
User comments on the RCRN Web site express excitement for the concept and the music.

“Love the tunes and look forward to the live shows,” one listener wrote. Another commented, “XM wishes it could have a station half as good.”

According to the Web site, the classic rock genre was chosen because it’s the most widely accepted.

Stan Erwin, president of the local Georgia Model Aviators, said it may have something to do with the age group of radio control enthusiasts. He thought the club might be able to play the station on the loudspeakers at its field in Ball Ground.

Though Erwin isn’t typically participating in Web communities for radio control information, he said the GMA’s online forum is most active in the winter, when the weather for flying is not ideal.

Whitney may see the same response from listeners in his opening broadcast. Each Tuesday will feature a different guest speaker, with the show lasting about an hour.

Whitney hopes to eventually broadcast live from RC conventions or events. And a couple years down the road, he may shift the broadcast to cable TV.