Gumbo Radio, signing off

Posted by on Jan 24, 2016 | 6 comments

As I mentioned a few days back (“Internet radio under fire“), there’s a train that’s been coming down the track for some time. For the internet radio broadcasting network Live365, it’s scheduled to pull into the station by the end of the month. For Gumbo Radio, it also means we will cease our broadcast next weekend on January 31, 2016.

In an email to its broadcasters on January 15, Live365 stated:

We are sad that we are closing our doors at the end of this month. There are always possibilities that we can come back in one form or another, but at this point in time, January 31, 2016 is the last day that Live365’s streaming servers and website will be maintained and supported.


This is a surprise to us as it is to all of you.   We are proud that Live365 was a pioneer in the streaming music business and have provided a platform to hundreds of thousands of broadcasters to have a voice over the years.


Unfortunately, we have to say good bye. …


We are honored to have served your needs over the last decade and a half.


It has been a wild ride both economically, from the pre-dotcom bust days all the way through the Great Recession, as well as technologically, with internet radio going from an unknown, quirky, muddy idea to a ubiquitous technology that hundreds of millions enjoy. Sadly, Live365’s portion of the ride is ending.


Again, streaming services and website access will not be supported beyond 1/31/2016.


We have extremely limited resources with the current skeleton crew. We regret that we will not be able to respond to all of you, so we apologize in advance.


All the best,


The Live365 Team

Until Live365 pulls the plug, Gumbo Radio will keep rolling. After January 31, this website will remain up, as will the Facebook page. If I figure out a solution to all this, I’ll post information through these two avenues.

I started this little project with Live365 in December 2008. It was a few years after my brother Shamus and I, along with our father, had created one of the first internet radio stations – After that venture, I couldn’t shake the broadcast bug, so I started Gumbo Radio. The great thing about Live365’s operation was that they were paying BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC for the small shops like Gumbo Radio to broadcast. Under the new regulations, which I think are needed to pay musicians what they justly deserve for their work, the larger outfits like Spotify and Pandora will have to pay more for music. Live365 contends that the new costs are driving it out of business.

Since I learned within the last month that Live365 was shutting down, I’ve been looking at other options. As best I can surmise, in order to continue broadcasting the 24-hour, live stereo music stream, I’m looking at costs that are at least ten times what I’ve been paying to broadcast Gumbo Radio over Live365. Raising and ensuring a steady revenue stream to run this operation would then turn this into a job—and work. That’s never what this has been about, and I’m not looking to start now.

I’ve never made a dime on Gumbo Radio. It’s always been a money-losing proposition, but I’ve been cool with that. It was my hobby. My golf. I let my kids record voiceovers for the station and let them chime in on which songs needed to be added to and removed from the mix. In the seven years we’ve been broadcasting, we’ve amassed a catalog of 18,545 songs for a playlist that’s over 44.7 days long. The primary focus has always been on the music of Louisiana, but I’ve thrown other artists into the mix like James Brown, Bob Wills, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Mississippi Sheiks, Randy Newman, Otis Redding, Big Star, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Flat Duo Jets, R.L. Burnside, Mose Allison, Junior Kimbrough, and ZZ Top. In October 2012, I initiated an Indiegogo campaign (Gumbo Radio: phase deux) to upgrade some gear, and we surpassed our goal by 53 percent with the help of our faithful listeners.

The current situation puts me in a funk—not the good kind where The Meters are playing. Gumbo Radio has been a place where I’ve been able to scratch multiple itches—music, broadcasting, and computers. I’m not looking for this part of my life to end. I’ve met some wonderful people, both in person and online, who share a common love of music. For that, I’m thankful. That’s been the greatest part of all this—that music has done what it’s supposed to do. It’s brought people together.

I’m also frustrated. It’s like my seven-year-old daughter said the other day after I explained the situation to her, “There just seems like there’s something we can do.” I tried to explain to her that sometimes the costs outweigh the benefits, and you just have to move on. I tried to also remind her—as I’ve been trying to tell myself—that maybe there’s a reason for all of this. Maybe there’s something else at work here that we’re just not seeing clearly right now.

I can’t help but recall what Joe Burge (aka Dr. Feelgood) told me back in 2002 when he talked about Swamp ‘n’ Roll, “It’s been a groove. . . . We’ve been doing what we want to do. We haven’t made a king’s fortune at it, but we’ve made people happy. If at all stopped today, we could look back on it and say, ‘Yeah, it was worth it.'”

Amen, brother.


  1. Well done Reese!

    Getting deep culture to wide places is getting harder in public radio and other media as well.

  2. You’ve had a good run and made a lot of people happy, Reese. Not everyone can say that. Something else is surely around the corner. Keep hope alive.

  3. Sorry to hear of its demise.

  4. Sad to see this happen, but also THANK YOU for the many years of getting this great music out to the world!

  5. Thanks for the update Reese. I hope this turns out to be just a little time to reflect on what your next great project will be.

  6. Thanks for the incredible music, Reese. So looking forward whatever your next project will be. Peace and much love.

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