Thursday, October 9, 2008

Flight Line Internet Radio takes off

Flight Line Radio launched its new Internet-based radio station Sept. 27.

Flight Line Internet Radio will feature original programming on "all things aviation," from warbirds to homebuilts - and everything in between - as well as music.

The new radio station is the brainchild of Don Costanza and Jamie Till, the men behind Flight Line Radio, which provides programming at air shows and other venues.

That programming is received on credit-card-sized radios that have several channels, including one that allows air show attendees to hear the announcers during the airs shows, as well as tower transmissions. Another channel plays programming provided by the venue, such as Sun 'n Fun Radio at the annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla. A third channel will play Flight Line Internet Radio.

The radios made their air show debut at AirVenture 2006 and have proven quite popular. Besides air shows, the radios are used at all kinds of sporting events, including golf tournaments, car races and more.

The Internet radio station was a natural outgrowth of the air show broadcasts, according to Costanza, who envisions aviation enthusiasts playing the radio station at their hangars and in their offices, with the music in the background, then the original programming catching the listeners' attention. There is no charge to listen to the radio station.

Original programs, which will range in length from four minutes to 13 minutes, will cover the gamut of aviation, such as a feature that's ready to go on the Civil Air Patrol. Another program will spotlight international travel, with tips on what pilots need to know for smooth flying. One of the international contributors is Laszlo Toth, who is involved in air shows throughout the Middle East and Europe and who also flew for the Soviet Air Force. Another program is hosted by Dr. Dave Holmes, owner of Warbird Brewing Co. His weekly show will be on - what else? - warbirds and brewing. An F-16 flight surgeon during the Gulf War, Holmes also is a board certified psychiatrist.

General Aviation News also will provide content on the Internet radio station, sharing many of our feature stories with listeners.

Costanza and Till hope listeners will give them feedback on what they want to hear. "This will have an organic growth to it," Till said. "A lot of people have a lot of good ideas and we encourage that type of input."

While designed to entertain, the radio station has another purpose: To grow aviation, according to Till.

"The problem is that GA is shrinking," he said. "We have to attract people in, and educate them. Then, once we get them interested, we have to keep feeding them interesting information to keep them engaged."

Another possible mission for the station? Creating a place where all GA can come together.

"Aviation is a very fragmented society - it's like a dysfunctional family," Costanza said with a laugh. "We're hoping we can become an aggregate for all things aviation."

Initial programming will fall into 12 broad categories: Historical, military, homebuilt, warbird, light sport, regulatory, travel, philanthropic, training, air show and racing, commentary and alternative flight, which covers everything from balloons to jet packs and space flight.


While the original programming is a top priority, a radio station has to have music. The founders choose music designed to appeal to the station's general demographic - men and women between the ages of 25 and 65, according to Till.

As the station becomes successful, the pair hope to offer different genres of music, so that listeners can go to the website, then click on the type of music they prefer - rock, jazz, country - and be able to hear that. All channels will offer the same programming in between the music, Till explained.

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