Howlin’ To A Hault, Why We’ve Been Offline

Written by on 30 June, 2021

Dear listeners, artists and the music industry,

Many of you may have noticed that our radio stream has been offline frequently and recently our website was down for a month. We wanted to explain the unfortunate circumstances behind the scenes that have impacted The Wolf.

Background:

The Wolf Australia launched its online radio station back in June 2017. On the anniversary of radio show ‘Planet Country with Big Stu & MJ’. The station was launched by Big Stu and MJ as an additional project to expand on the achievements of the show. The station grew quickly and developed a loyal passionate following and made it possible for Big Stu & MJ to promote New Country further.

The Wolf launched after years of research into the possibility of an internet radio station to compliment the show. A further year was spent in just building the music database, playlist algorithms (“clocks”), designing shows, recruiting additional talent and developing syndication methods to air Planet Country and later Country Universe that were going to air live on broadcast radio simultaneously. The Wolf certainly wasn’t born overnight.

The Wolf wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless efforts of Big Stu & MJ to get the work done. It also wouldn’t have been possible without the support of an existing radio station. The Wolf’s launch was aided by a Tasmanian based internet and later broadcast radio station who offered to support The Wolf’s development by housing our computer server in their own IT setup. This provided The Wolf with continuous high speed internet, power to the server and technical assistance where possible.

The Change:

This relationship served The Wolf well for four years until the Tasmanian radio station announced earlier this year that they would be moving premises. This radio station informed Big Stu & MJ that they would not be able to continue the support. This was not an issue and The Wolf has been grateful for the opportunity this relationship provided. It was time for this wolf to leave the pack.

Our server is on the move! Except it wasn’t to its intended destination.

An agreement was made to have The Wolf’s server shipped to Sydney where Big Stu & MJ were now capable to house the server and excited about a new phase for The Wolf with new capabilities with the server being on site rather than accessed remotely.

During the server’s move to Sydney, the Tasmanian station offered to stream recordings of The Wolf as a emergency tape like setup. This did not eventuate.

This adds to a growing list of broken promises by the Tasmanian station including broadcasting on an FM frequency in the state.

The Downfall:

Before too long, the server was turned off without a warning. Big Stu & MJ scrambled to create their own emergency tape files to loop on one of our streams (Known as ‘High Quality’, it is the stream that also feeds our Android app).

When Big Stu & MJ reached out for a quote on shipping, the owner-operator of the Tasmanian station turned the server back on instead, presumably in their new premises although its location was not disclosed.

Unfortunately, for unexplained reasons communication with the owner-operator has grinded to a halt and left our station in limbo.

Big Stu & MJ are still waiting for a quote to be given to have the server shipped to Sydney and the server itself is now either disconnected from power or at least disconnected from the internet. The remote connections for Big Stu & MJ to work on the server have not come back online and neither has the station’s stream leaving the server as a giant paper weight on someone else’s desk.

A number of attempts to communicate with the owner-operator across a number of platforms have been made but for the majority of time, have not received a response. On the occasions when contact is made, we’ve been informed that a quote has not yet been sourced and that the server is running and “looks fine [to them]”. Requests for them to check if the internet is connected and the remote control software running have gone ignored.

The timing of this relationship breakdown couldn’t not be worse. While this has been going on, Big Stu & MJ have been in discussion with new media partners on a potential return of Planet Country and tie ins for The Wolf. Our website was also flagged for spam with our contact form getting hit hard leading our hosting provider to take down our the website for a month. Furthermore, MJ is in the thick of examinations in his second radio course which has slowed down a lot of the work to get The Wolf howling again.

The Plan:

After all the achievements of Planet Country and The Wolf in the past seven years, Big Stu & MJ have not given up hope for the future and are working tirelessly to restore The Wolf to its full capacity. The Wolf needs to return to continue contributing to The Music Network’s country charts, providing a platform for Australian artists to promote their music and challenging the industry’s perception of country music and what it should sound like today. All while providing a commercial broadcast radio level of entertainment for fans of modern country music.

Our emergency tape files are back streaming on one of our two streams again while we continue to reach out to the Tasmanian station in the hopes of getting our equipment back.

A backup server is being built by Big Stu & MJ too. This work involves reprogramming music and station branding, building new clocks and reconfiguring audio streaming software. The race is on to get the Tasmanian server back and simultaneously put a new server online.

We ask that you bare with us during this difficult process and keep The Wolf in mind when you wish to listen to country music. The Wolf will be back bigger and better than ever.

The Future:

While this time will be seen as a setback, we are seeing it as an opportunity to enter a new phase for The Wolf, Planet Country and Big Stu & MJ. Discussions are on going with a Sydney based media partner that can support our radio endeavors moving forward. A new server build means a chance to hit the refresh button and implement new strategies.

We also welcome your support if you are interested in being a part of The Wolf’s next phase. Reach out to Big Stu & MJ through The Wolf’s social media pages to discuss how you want to or can be a part of the station.



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