“The Loney”–bookclub review this coming Wednesday, 19th Oct 9pm

No, not the looney, The Loney. It’s a scary sounding place in the North west coast of England. Creepy goings on and general scariness in time for the Hallowe’en season.


I have only just started reading it, so I’m hoping there’s enough time to get it finished for the review on Wednesday. Why not see if you can do the same? The book is available online from Amazon Kindle etc, so hopefully you’ll be able to join in the review with us.

“The Loney”–bookclub review this coming Wednesday, 19th Oct 9pm

Why I love Crowzone Radio

This may end up being a theme, because to be honest there are so many reasons I love CrowZone Radio. There are times when I’m sitting uploading, downloading, editing recording etc late at night that I wonder why we started this thing, but those times are far out weighed by the times when I sit and think ”Wow I’m glad we started this!”.

Today, Sunday morning, is one of those times and I wanted to share it with you.

Last night we were invited to a big birthday party for Radio Book Club regular, Andrea. Andrea provided the music, we provided the PA, it was huge fun.  During the party I was sat with Charlie A. who told me he has CrowZone on his radio  alarm clock and wakes up to our radio every morning. Awesome.

Image result for The Cheese String incident

He then went on to tell me about a band he has been listening to, called “The Cheese String Incident”. Now I must admit I had my doubts, I often suspect comical band names as a bad sign, but I have to say I love this band! Thank you Charlie A.

This has happened so many times since starting CrowZone Radio, and I say “keep it coming”.


Better still – Keep it CrowZone!


(The Cheese string Incident will feature this Thursday on Howe Bizarre.)

Why I love Crowzone Radio

Windows Auto Update–a nice idea when it works!

PureEvery morning my alarm radio opens to the tunes of CrowZone radio, no surprises there. But this morning it sounded a bit different. Gaps between the tunes is the giveaway that tells me we’re running on the backup stream from the US. No big deal, that’s why we have back ups.

So into the studio to work out why it hasn’t picked up properly to find the main studio PC has been updated overnight. Again no big issue, just a shame it didn’t restart as we planned. It turns out it had messed up the external soundcard settings and the external hard-drive wasn’t recognised…now things are getting serious as all the music is stored there (backed up of course!).

After 4 re-boots and a bit of fiddling about we’re back online – just be warned….there’s a big WIN10 update coming to a PC near you! Spark up your machines at a time BEFORE you really really need them!

(My Alarm radio is a Pure One Flow, internet radio with FM & DAB. Highly recommended)

Windows Auto Update–a nice idea when it works!

and we’re back!

Well of course we never really went away, but it’ been a while since we posted a blog…so I’ve downloaded “Windows Live Writer” to see if that makes the blog process a little easier (quite why Microsoft decided to stop supporting these tools for Win10 I do not understand, but they still seem to work and you can still download them from the Microsoft website).

There’s lots of things to write about so expect a few posts coming up.


and we’re back!

Bookclub – 22 April 9pm UK – The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton

The MiniaturistThe Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Took me a little while to get into this book, but once there I was hooked. I found the ending a little disappointing, but it was obviously well researched and provided an insight to 17thC Dutch culture.
With many parallels to today’s double standards and fundamentalist craziness it’s a thought provoking read.
We’ll be reviewing “on-air” tonight (Wed 22 April) from 9pm UK on CrowZone Radio

View all my reviews

Bookclub – 22 April 9pm UK – The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton

CrowFest – May 2nd 2015

If you’ve been following our live shows on CrowZone Radio you’re probably aware we’re closing in on our first anniversary. Who’d of thought we’d last this long? Well we did to be honest…we really think CrowZone Radio has got legs as they say.

Grand Designs

It’s probably true to say we have ideas above our station (we are the small station with big ideas and great music).  Maybe we should change that the Small station with big ideas and no budget LOL.

We thought we’d like to mark the event in some way, and it seemed fitting that we should run a music festival…and so CrowFest was born.

Originally we planned a two day event with bands playing throughout and we set about finding a venue to suit. We were incredibly lucky to stumble upon “The Old Road Tavern” and Lindsey the manager has been so supportive. The Old Road has played host to many celebrated names including the band “Dodgy” and also comedian Russell Howard (pictured here)

Russell Howard at The Old Road

Good sense prevailed and we decided to bite off what we could chew, moving to a Saturday evening party style gig and set about finding bands that we thought you would like to hear.

Jellied Reels

Ok, so this is the band I play with… a good old stompy rock n reel band, mixing traditional English dance tunes with popular rock and roll classics. We’ve been together for over 20 years playing barn dances and ceilidhs all around the South West.

Grace Goodman

I met up with Grace while I was working with Kennet Radio and she sent me a couple of tracks to play on my shows. Grace is a very talented young singer / songwriter and we’ve been playing her music (and encouraging her to record more for us!) ever since.

Dirty 6

Lindsey, the manager of the Old Road, also plays keyboards for Dirty 6. They’ve recently released an EP which we’ve featured on CrowZone Radio and we’re really looking forward to seeing them live

Amie K

We’ve known Amie for many years now and watched her develop as an artist. She has performed at the Scarecrow Festival soundstage which prompted us to start CrowZone Radio in the first place.

5 Wheel Drive

We’re so blessed to be surrounded by fantastic talent in the CrowZone area, and one of our first “What’s on your iPod” featured Mr. Adrian Beeby who has recently joined 5 Wheel Drive. After seeing Adrian perform as part of Yellerbelly at last year’s Scarecrow festival, I know we’re in for a treat.

And so the stage is set, we have bands, we have a venue, we have a sound system (I’m starting to sound like Precious from “Come Fly with me”!), all we need now is an audience…”praise the Lord” there you are!

Best of all, it’s a free gig…our way of saying Thanks for your support in our first year.

Tee shirt
It wouldn’t be a Festival without some Merch!
CrowFest – May 2nd 2015

Getting Interactive (3 free tools)

Hello and welcome to the first CrowZone Radio blog post on WordPress. We’ve tested other blog sites and now WordPress gets a turn!

This first blog will look at our experiences in the last year of broadcasting at getting “interactive” with our listeners and I hope it will be helpful to you in whatever you are working on currently.

Why get interactive anyway?

Crowzone Radio is one of thousands of newly formed Internet Radio stations, like all stations we want to build our listener base but we don’t have any money, other than what we are able to afford personally, to advertise or market our station.

We’ve been incredibly lucky to build a really supportive audience, with lots of regular listeners and listeners who drop in when they can. It’s actually like a big family really.

We want people to listen, it’s vanity of course, but it’s why we do it in the first place. We want people to stay listening, and to do that we try to get interactive.

How can you get interactive for little or no cost?

The internet offers us many ways of connecting with our audience, some have been more successful than others for us but all have their place.

The overriding factor with these tools is that they must be easy to use and easy to “surface” on our webpage. We use Weebly to create our website and that will allow us to embed HTML and iframes with ease (I can thoroughly recommend Weebly if you’re looking for a website generation tool….and it’s free).


Chatting has been the most successful tool for engaging with our audience. It’s huge fun and really helps our live shows go with a swing. Our listeners comment in real time on the shows, make requests and even research tunes for us as we go along. They’ve even coined the term ‘Zoners on the chat box!

Chatroll (www.chatroll.com) which worked very well and got our listeners talking to the studio and to each other with ease. It was easy to install and worked very reliably. It was pretty basic but easy

chatroll logoenough to administer. The downside was as a free service we were limited to 10 users. Sadly this was not often a problem for us but we want to be ready for when we hit the big time and so we moved onto a service called:

ChatWING (www.chatwing.com) – another free service (hurrah for free services) but this time

chatWING logo

with no user limits. It also has more funky features to keep listeners engaged with (emoticons, image insertion, rich text) and is highly tailorable so it fits in with your site.

We did experience some issues with users not being able to access the service, possibly due to cookies or firewalls, but we seem to got over those now. Currently we’re trying to resolve an issue we call “Stealth Users” where we can’t see who is logged in, and nor can they! It’s not the end of the world and the functionality we get is worth the pain.

Support is via their Facebook page, but I guess you get what you pay for.

PureChat (www.purechat.com) – I was looking for one of those “operator online” type chat functions before we got into the the whole chatroom idea, and came across this tool. We use it for one to one conversations, when people don’t want to converse in public. You can have purechata number of operators (all free!) and whoever is logged in can take any incoming conversations.

Clearly the tool is designed for call-center type operations, but it works well for us too. We’ve designed our own logo that floats over our homepage inviting users to chat to us. If we’re not in the studio then the message gets sent as an email.

One useful thing we have found – operators can chat directly to each other, so we use this for discussions “behind the scenes” conversations during live shows.

I’ll leave discussions over Facebook, Twitter, Mailers, IP Phones, Video Conferencing for further posts!

I’ll also cover the player Software we use and tools available to organise and manage your music libraries.

I hope you’ll bookmark our blog, and please help us reach the world by sharing and liking…feel the love!

Steve Howe – CZR

Getting Interactive (3 free tools)