By Tony Cagala
Big sounds are broadcasting out of the little music center in Ramona now that the versatile shop, recording studio and teaching facility can add radio station to its repertoire.
Jon Hasz, co-owner of the Ramona Music Center at 1045 Main St., had been carrying around the idea to create an online radio station for a long time, so he and a friend spent a day building the site.
After getting proper authorizations and collecting music from bands around Ramona and other North County communities, RMC Radio was born.
The station broadcasts out of Ramona Music Center every hour of every day with both live shows and recorded music.
There are 80 local bands, old and new, played on the station, with over 500 songs on playlists that get updated daily. Every Friday the Ska band Amalgamated hosts a live Ska-only program, and on Sundays the band Roy Rapid hosts a Rockabilly show.
The station has a cast of just over 15 people helping with programming. Hasz serves as one of DJs, too, when time permits. An official programming lineup is in the works.
The Internet-based radio station is free and can be accessed at radio.ramonamusiccenter.com.
The site began broadcasting in April and Hasz said there is more content to come. He hopes to begin posting interviews of local bands and standout musicians, and, he added, because the equipment necessary to do Internet broadcasts is so portable, they would like to air live shows from around the county. Links to the bands are also found on the website.
The web station was created as a way of filling a void, Hasz said.
A lot of his friends work in office settings, sitting in front of computers all day, and, with online radio being so popular, Hasz wanted to provide a station filled with local content.
The music scene in the North County is surprising, Ramona specifically, said Hasz.
“There’s over 60 original bands in Ramona that are touring from every style of music...the problem is there’s not many outlets for it.
“One of the other purposes of the radio station was to give people a way to access bands that don’t exist anymore,” he said. “So we’re serving as an archive for all of those old bands.”
The station is always accepting more content, but bands have to be totally independent and not signed to a label.
The website contains an agreement form that must be filled out and submitted to the music center along with a CD.
“The more music we get, the better,” said Hasz.
The hope is that the website will help spur a larger music scene in Ramona and also help to get the bands more exposure to larger audiences. If Ramona can help be a founding for that and help spur the North County music scene, Hasz would be just fine with that.
“I’m trying to create the music scene up here that doesn’t exist, because there are so many people to contribute to it,” he said.
Hasz grew up in Ramona as a local musician. He and Baylee Straye purchased Ramona Music Center in 2007.