EDM Magazine had the privilege to chat with Dan Korzeniowski, founder of Afterhours.FM, a renowned trance internet radio station.
“We recently received the #1 spot as “Best Online EDM Radio Station” at the TrancePodium awards, so we will do our best to keep that rank.” – Dan Korzeniowski
The friendly staff at AH.FM is working hard to provide a welcoming online community, live music event broadcasts and fresh content; showcasing radio shows of various DJs and world-class artists, such as Markus Schulz, Sean Tyas, Richard Durand and Lange, all for free! Dan gives insight on his history with electronic music, the challenges an online radio station has to face and how AH.FM flourished into the respected radio station it is today. Log onto www.ah.fm and get connected!
EDM: How, when and where did you discover electronic music?
Dan: I would have to say that it all started around the year of 1996, when I saw a video of Jam & Spoon – Stella. I just fell in love with electronic music.
EDM: What inspired you to start AH.FM? Did you team up with anyone to start the station? What year did you establish?
Dan: Over the years of following the EDM scene, I had made pretty good contacts with many DJs, label sites and club promoters. I had been quite a frequent listener of many stations, and quite frankly I got to a point where I got bored of stations just looping the same sets/tracks. I had a vision of a station full of fresh music on daily basis, new sets being aired by the world’s biggest DJs. To be a place for a true EDM addict, one place where most of the best DJs play. So I wondered what it would take to create a radio station from scratch. I took some time and spoke to my DJ friends on what they think about my idea of a new station; they were thrilled with the idea and supported it. So starting in January 2006, it took basically 5 months to gather all info I would need to create the station (servers, bandwidth, money, redundancy & building the whole radio system). System was done around May 2006, then after a month of testing, we finally had an official launch June 2006.
Maybe you’re thinking why the name Afterhours? Answer is simple; while I lived in New York I always went to “afterhours” clubs to party. It seemed like anything to do with electronic music was referred to as Afterhours so that’s how I got the name.
EDM: What particular DJs/Producers are your favorites?
Dan: This is a very hard question, to be honest I respect all DJs the same way, each DJ is different in their own style and taste, they all have something that’s really unique. A listener can enjoy the ride while listening to any DJ set. I listen to all genres of EDM and it all depends on the mood and what I’m doing so I can’t really say who my favorite is.
EDM: Are there any other genres (besides Trance) that motivate you?
Dan: I listen to all types of EDM that includes: progressive, psychedelic, house, drum & bass, techno but to be honest I always enjoy and come back to the true feeling of trance.
EDM: Who were some of the first artists that joined the station?
Dan: When the station launched we had just a few DJs such as, DreamensioN, Robbie Schwan, Dave Nadz. Young DJs starting out that supported the radio as it supported them. Marcus Schossow (as Under Sun) and Manuel Le Saux also began supporting the radio really early on. We’re really grateful to the current and former resident DJs that helped spread the word in the early days.
EDM: What were some of the obstacles in creating AH.FM?
Dan: Some big issues were – How do we stand out from everyone else? What can we do that’s different in the scene?
We had to figure out how to keep the community entertained, keep it enjoyable for each listener from all over the world. There were already competitors online, how would we promote ourselves and draw listeners from the existing mega-station that dominated the scene? How would we fill 24-hours a day with fresh new content? These were just some of the obstacles that we had to overcome.
Online radio streaming is something that is growing each day, more and more stations launch. It’s really hard to stay competitive. There are also more options for listeners to source music, so there are still obstacles to be overcome even now, five years in.
EDM: How does AH.FM compete with mp3 downloads and podcasting?
Dan: Over the years many new services have launched which do affect the scene somewhat. Staying relevant in a world of podcasts and direct marketing is an ongoing task. To be honest we don’t try to directly compete with any services or stations, we do not work that way. Our theory of success is different; while we love to innovate new things, our recipe for success is high-quality sound, exclusive new sets daily and a friendly community.
Music is a social activity, especially online. When people hear a good track, they want to tell people about it, how it makes them feel, and they want to see what others think, etc. This is what we like to tap into with our forums and chats. In some ways, it’s not the mp3s and podcasts we’re so worried about, it’s the move of listeners from forums and chat-based communication to app-based micro-posts, Facebook likes, tweets and such – or worse, to listening completely alone. Keeping ourselves engaged in those conversations is a challenge since encouraging the social aspect of listening (the community) is one of our key beliefs.
EDM: What separates AH.FM from other online radio stations?
Dan: Afterhours.FM is different in many ways, here are a few:
– We provide FREE high quality streams. (We do not charge users to enjoy high quality).
– We are commercial FREE. (We don’t play any ads on air).
– We have 200+ of the World’s Biggest DJs producing sets exclusive for AH. (We don’t replay other station’s shows).
– Have biggest/most active online Trance radio community.
– We specialize in live broadcasts from some of the biggest trance parties.
– Nobody does special events like AH! Ladies Night, the In the Mix series, Label days, Déjà Vu and of course the Biggest Online Radio Event, the annual End of Year Countdown.
EDM: Would the station ever consider branching out to other genres?
Dan: Honestly we see no point in branching out; the reason is these days it’s hard to really categorize specific music genres. Many tracks are labeled trance but they really are NOT trance. It’s really up to the DJ to create best possible sets for their fan base.
EDM: What are the future plans for AH.FM?
Dan: We are in final stages of launching a new website. Recently we launched our iPhone & Android apps so users can tune in via their mobile. We’re discussing plans to expand into the tablet market. We always look for possible new major live broadcasts and we have some huge ones planned for this year! Other plans include bringing in more new exclusive talent into the station & create more new special events online.
Thank you for this wonderful interview, I also wanted to thank all readers and listeners of the station for their ongoing support from myself and our wonderful staff!