Whole Wheat Radio

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Whole Wheat Radio
CityTalkeetna, Alaska
Broadcast areaInternet radio
FormatIndependent music
OwnerJim Kloss
First air date
August 2002 (2002-08)
(as Radio Free Talkeetna)[1]
Last air date
October 20, 2010 (2010-10-20)[2]
Technical information
Transmitter coordinates
62°18′41″N 150°5′13″W / 62.31139°N 150.08694°W / 62.31139; -150.08694Coordinates: 62°18′41″N 150°5′13″W / 62.31139°N 150.08694°W / 62.31139; -150.08694

Whole Wheat Radio was a not-for-profit, listener-driven online community radio station[4] from Talkeetna, Alaska.[5] It was centered around independent music, and aired 24 hours a day.[6]

The station pioneered several social and technical webcast feats, including the use of wiki software to collaboratively catalogue music,[7][8] interactive house concerts where listeners could comment and tip the artists,[9] electronic DJs (dubbed "EJs"), listener phonegrams,[10] and its recorded shows were among the first available podcasts.[11][12]

After eight years of uninterrupted broadcast, the station closed on October 20, 2010.[2]


Whole Wheat Radio began as "Radio Free Talkeetna" in August 2002.[1] Software developer James (Jim) Kloss started the live interactive webcast immediately after DSL internet arrived in the small village of Talkeetna, Alaska. Jim was known online for his development of the nochange BBS[13] and XChange file transfer program.[14] The site changed its name to Whole Wheat Radio by December 2002.[15]

The site was first broadcast from an existing 12x12 foot cabin built by Jim's partner Esther Golton.[9] In July 2004, a more permanent structure dubbed The Wheat Hole was built to accommodate an in-house audience of 50.[15] In 2008, the venue was moved to a "renovated log saloon" dubbed The Wheat Palace to accommodate more patrons,[5] and to host other activities.[16]

Music and Programming[edit]

The original 12x12 Whole Wheat Radio cabin

Whole Wheat Radio played independent music, initially due to commercial licensing costs.[15] The site evolved into a vehicle for promoting independent artists, helped by Jim's partner and musician Esther Golton. Artists gave permission and sent CDs for their music to be played on the station.[17]

Genres weren't restricted, but favoured acoustic and folk music.[9][18]

The site hosted numerous house concerts[18] which were broadcast live,[9] including Marian Call,[19] Rod Picott,[20] Jeffrey Foucault,[21] Amanda Shires,[20] and Danny Schmidt.[22][23] Proceeds from the concerts were given to the performers, often exceeding income artists grossed from traditional media events.[19]

The stream also included aspects of talk radio, from 15 minute rants[9] to full morning shows. After airing, these were taped and made available as podcasts.[12]

Technology and Community[edit]

A volunteer reading on-air at Whole Wheat Radio

Whole Wheat Radio streamed 56kbit/s mp3PRO audio using SHOUTcast,[24] which could be accessed from any compatible streaming audio player compatible with the format. Clients without mp3PRO support fell back to an equivalent-quality 128kbit/s MP3 stream.[25]

A custom install of MediaWiki ran the user-editable music database,[15] the same software that operates Wikipedia, Wiktionary and other Wikimedia Foundation projects. Listeners (affectionately dubbed Wheatheads)[16] were encouraged to add tags, lyrics, art, ratings and other information to song, album and artist pages. The currently-playing song was displayed on the home and chat pages, with links to these resources for more information.[15]

The site accepted regular submissions for logos, which were rotated regularly.[26]

Wheatheads could call in phonegrams that were played automatically on the stream,[10] or leave a comment in the chat system for an EJ to read on air. Text based games (and later, rewards for collaborating on articles) would let Wheatheads accrue "wheatberries", an early form of web gamification.

Separate podcast feeds were available for each of the shows shortly after they had aired live, such as the "Rant-N-Ravin' Muffin News".[27] and house concerts.


In 2005, Whole Wheat Radio was discussed in an episode of The Dawn and Drew Show,[9] and in an interview with Derek and Swoopy from Skeptic magazine's Skepticality podcast.[28]

Journalist Doc Searls commented in 2004 that "it's an outstanding station. If you miss KPIG's live Webcast, Whole Wheat Radio will ease your surcease. You might think of WWR as folksy or charming (it's both). I think of them as heroic. What they do is the very, very best of what radio is all about."[11]

In an article for PC World, Derek Sivers of CDBaby commented that "online radio is the best way to find new music and [I recommend] indie-flavored Whole Wheat Radio".[6]


In 2010, Jim pushed for a greater emphasis on the site mission of helping independent artists over the chat aspects of the site. This generated animosity, culminating in an unsanctioned, separate Facebook group. Jim closed the site soon after, claiming he no longer loved the job.[16][29]

The Wheat Palace continued to hold private parties, meetings, classes and art showings through 2011.[16]


  1. ^ a b "What's Hot In Alaska on the Web?". Alaska's Kenai Peninsula Resource Network. 2003. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2016-11-11.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  2. ^ a b Jim Kloss (2010-10-20). "Whole Wheat Radio is at a crossroads". Whole Wheat Radio. Archived from the original on 2010-12-24. Retrieved 2016-11-11.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Whole Wheat Radio". Whole Wheat Radio. 2010-06-19. Archived from the original on 2010-06-19. Retrieved 2016-11-11.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ Christopher Carfi (2006-02-17). "Finding Community On The Radio Dial". The Social Customer Manifesto. Archived from the original on 2006-03-23. Retrieved 2016-11-11.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ a b Wright, Melodie (2008-03-15). "Wheat goes live". Anchorage Daily News. Anchorage, Alaska. Archived from the original on 2008-12-30. Retrieved 2016-11-11.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ a b "The Playlist: Great Online Sources for Finding New Music". PC World. 2006-11-28. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  7. ^ "Whole Wheat Radio ends its 8 year run". KTNA. 2010-10-26. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  8. ^ John Walkenbach (2007-03-16). "WWR Wiki Birthday". J-Walk Blog. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Adam Curry Wants to Make You an iPod Radio Star". Wired. 2005-03-01. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  10. ^ a b "Talk to the web with Whole Wheat Radio". PodcastPlayer.org. 2005-03-22. Archived from the original on 2007-04-03. Retrieved 2016-11-11.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  11. ^ a b "Welcome aboard". The Doc Searls Weblog. 2004-10-05. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  12. ^ a b "Bradford Gibson's Podcast Directory". iPodder. 2004-12-29. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  13. ^ Tim Farley. "IBM and Compatibles: DOS: NOCHANGE". The BBS Software Directory. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  14. ^ "Xchange Program Allows Unattended File Transfer". InfoWorld. San Francisco: International Data Group. 1987-10-12. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  15. ^ a b c d e K. Hecker (2008-02-14). "Organic broadcasts". Anchorage Press.
  16. ^ a b c d "Talkeetna's Whole Wheat Radio signs off the Web". Anchorage Daily News. Anchorage. 2010-10-28. Archived from the original on 2012-10-02.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  17. ^ Phillip Cairns (2006-08-03). "Interview with David Francey". The Scope. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  18. ^ a b Greg Grant (2005-04-30). "Whole Wheat Radio and other folk stations you should know". Online Folk Festival. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  19. ^ a b Stephen Nowers (2010-01-20). "Coffeehouse queen". Anchorage Daily News. Anchorage.
  20. ^ a b Marian Call (2005-04-30). "Whole Wheat Radio: Rod Picott & Amanda Shires". Flickr. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  21. ^ Trebz (2004). "Jeffrey Foucault: Stripping Cane". CDBaby. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  22. ^ Rez Dog (2006-07-28). "Amazing". Rez Dog. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  23. ^ Chris Eshleman (2005-09-15). "Danny Schmidt brings original sounds to Homer". Homer News. Homer, Alaska. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  24. ^ "Advanced Recording Mode". Winamp and SHOUTcast. 2002-07-28. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  25. ^ SHOUTCast (2007). "SHOUTcast Streaming". SHOUTcast Streaming. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  26. ^ John Walkenbach (2007-05-26). "Interweb Tube Net 2.4". J-Walk Blog. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  27. ^ Jim Kloss (2005-02-05). "Whole Wheat Radio Rant-N-Ravin' Muffin News Podcast". Whole Wheat Radio. Archived from the original on 2005-02-07. Retrieved 2016-11-11.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  28. ^ Derek Colanduno, Robynn "Swoopy" McCarthy (2005-07-27). "Interview with Derek and Swoopy from Skepticality Podcast". Skeptic Magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-03-23. Retrieved 2016-11-11.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  29. ^ Jim Kloss (2010-10-21). "Whole Wheat Radio Historical". Whole Wheat Radio. Archived from the original on 2010-12-24. Retrieved 2016-11-11.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)