“I heard the news today…”
We lost a dear friend today. So many times I’ve read that so and so lost a battle with cancer, and I say to myself, “I didn’t even know he was ill.”
Not this time.
I was probably more distraught when his wife Karen told me two and a half years ago that his prognosis was terminal. He had lung cancer, brain tumors, and weeks to live.
Then something happened. A group of his close friends rallied around him, and organized a get together of family, close friends, and radio people.
Marty was so moved by the show of support, that he did an about face, and decided to fight the good fight.
Friends and family helped with doctor appointments, technical issues, and other necessities.
So he hung in there for two and a half years, chronicling the ups and downs on his Facebook page.
In the end, despite the experimental drugs, the rehab, and therapy, it’s hard to beat the big “C.”
But this isn’t about the sad loss of another person. This is to pay tribute to someone who was an innovator and a pioneer.
Marty Zivin was Internet radio before Internet radio was cool.”
Hear the on-air tribute to Marty created by Bart Shore, Bob Stern, and myself
Although I first met him in 1994 at suburban Chicago station WCBR-FM, we really didn’t hit it off until 2010, when I wanted to get into streaming Internet radio. Bart Shore suggested I contact Marty, because he was already on the air with two stations. I visited Marty at his home studio, and was impressed by how he integrated not just two streaming stations, but corresponding low power FM frequencies.
He could have charged me, but instead let me copy his library of almost nine thousand songs for free. In addition, Marty showed me some novel software created by a New Zealander, that did what big fancy radio station software did, costing thousands of dollars, for a fraction of the cost. It didn’t stop there. He would connect remotely to my computers, to help me in setting up my Internet radio station, and debugging some of the issues we faced at start up. We probably talked every day, sometime several times a day about Internet radio, it’s future, and it’s possibilities.
On several occasions, I would go to his studio, we would go live and play a musical game of can you top this. He would pick a song, and then I would attempt to find one that would segue with the previous one. This would go on for hours.
I found one such show in my archives. This took place one Labor Day weekend, when I stopped by to promote one of my syndicated shows.
What I loved best were the endless debates we would have about how to monetize this emerging medium. I threw out all kinds of nutty ideas. He played the skeptic. All those times, he never gave up on me. Never told me I was crazy, and encouraged me to keep thinking outside of the traditional radio models. I even bet him a steak dinner that I could snag major ad buy. That’s one wager that I’ll never get to claim from him. Someday, I hope to celebrate it in his honor.
While I think my music knowledge is quite extensive, Marty even brought a few new things into my radar. One of the bands he loved was 10cc. Thanks to him, I can add them group to my list of favorite artists, with some of their great songs, which weren’t pop hits like, “Good Morning Judge,” “I’m Mandy Fly Me,” and “The Second Sitting for the Last Supper.”
Another addition to my musical treasure trove, courtesy of Marty, was “My World Fell Down,” by Sagittarius, a studio group created by songwriter Gary Usher. The song never rose higher than number 70 in the Billboard charts, but featured Glen Campbell singing lead, and LA studio musicians, which certainly must have included members of the fabled Wrecking Crew.
Chicago media columnist Robert Feder, who generally writes about major players in the media, and household names had some very nice words about Marty.
So please go out and listen to Internet radio in Marty’s honor. And I don’t mean Spotify or iHeart radio, I’m talking about real, independent streaming Internet radio.
His station is still on the air as of now, at http://tunein.com/radio/Zecom-Radio—The-Choice-s116041/
At least 2016, didn’t get him.