Regular listeners to 98.7 The Freq have tuned in this week to find local music selections replaced with Alan Jackson’s “Gone Country” played on a loop.
It’s not a glitch — Seven Mountains Media’s radio station, which also featured indie rock, classic alternative and deep cuts, is off the air. But it remains online, and in Facebook posts, The Freq’s Don Bedell asked for people to keep listening and supporting the station.
“The original mission of The Freq to promote local music and local events will remain,” said Bedell, who is also Seven Mountains Media’s director of video production.
The Freq, which launched in summer 2015, will still broadcast in real time. The change was due to lack of advertiser support, Bedell said.
“I’ll be on the air, probably starting Monday, keeping it local,” he said. “I’ll be on in the mornings and Jason Jackson will be on in the afternoons.”
For those looking to get their Freq fix, it’s online at a new website, www.onlinefreq.com, an app called The Freq!, any Amazon Alexa enabled device and the TuneIn app.
“We have a strong, dedicated, loyal listener base we appreciate so much,” Bedell said. “We hope people will support it the way they did the radio format.”
Part of the change that comes with transitioning The Freq to an online format is a change in personnel, with longtime radio personality and local music aficionado Dave Snyder leaving his post.
In an email, Snyder said his last day at The Freq was Feb. 28.
“Since then, I’ve been waking up at a more reasonable hour for a human being than when I was doing the morning show, but mostly I’ve been looking for my next opportunity,” he wrote.
Snyder’s departure is a bittersweet ending for sure, and — although The Freq will continue in an online format — the changes mark the end of an era in our local music scene.
“We really built something special and had a dedicated and passionate audience,” Snyder said.
Synder was the host of The Freq’s Live at 5 show, a weekly event that featured local musicians live and in the studio.
“Local matters to me the most,” Snyder wrote. “There are music delivery systems that are just as efficient, if not more efficient, than radio. It’s serving the local audience that sets local radio apart, and that’s what I felt was one of the strengths of The Freq. It was all about local content, and serving an under-served audience. That’s especially true of local music content.”
With this affinity for local music, Snyder both supported the local scene and was absorbed by it as a conduit to the radio waves.
“We’re so fortunate to live in an area with a diverse, talented group of local musicians,” Snyder wrote, “and giving that music and outlet was important to us. In my opinion, radio needs to embrace local, and embrace niche formats. Serve an audience that isn’t being served.”
Depending on the week, Live at 5 listeners would hear a young kid playing his first gig, local musicians like you’ve never heard them before, or an acclaimed act rolling through Centre County for a one off gig. The Freq was a destination, a place for musicians to do their own thing, and Snyder was the host who welcomed us in.
“Doing interviews, with local and national musicians, and with local nonprofit folks, quickly became one of my favorite things,” Snyder wrote, “Booking bands for Live at 5 was sometimes challenging but it was its own reward. We had live music in the studio something like 48 weeks per year. I feel like we gave local musicians a great outlet to reach an audience that may not otherwise have heard them.”