WESTFIELD, NJ – Rob Galgano is living his dream. Passionate about music since childhood, Galgano now broadcasts an Internet radio show from his Westfield home, allowing him to share a lifelong love of music with the world, but finally on his own terms.
Drawing from a library of more than 65,000 songs with new tracks added every week, Galgano’s “All Over the Place” (AOTP) on Live365.com has garnered 15 Favorite Station selections and more than 160 Facebook followers.
“I’ve known I wanted to do this since I was a little kid,’’ said Galgano, now 48. “Growing up in the New York City area in the 1970s, my first exposure to music was AM radio. Then as I got older, I started collecting records as well.”
After high school, Galgano took a more practical career path, studying computers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. where he was drawn to the school’s radio station, WRPI.
“I signed on to DJ there in 1982,” he said. “As far as college radio stations go, it was quite unique in that it was 10,000 watts, which means there was a 50-75 miles broadcast radius. When you are young, you think you know everything. I thought I did when it came to music until I started meeting more people and opening myself up to more obscure music. I developed a real appreciation for all kinds of music at that point.’’
After college, Galgano took a job as a computer engineer in Boston. While it paid the bills, music remained an important part of his life.
“Boston had a great music scene,” he said. “By then I had about 1,000 albums, as well as some CDs. Living in Boston exposed me to a whole different world with its vibrant music scene and lots of different radio stations. I spent most of this time accumulating music, going to clubs and just immersing myself in the local music scene. The city at that time also was full of used record stores, so for me it was all about building my music library.’’
Galgano also gained more on air experience, this time on public radio station WICN in Worcester, Mass., where he volunteered for the Sunday morning 3 to 7 a.m. shift.
In early 1990s, Galgano’s computer career took him to Iowa.
“There was a nice little music scene in Iowa City, but certainly not on the same scope of a city such as Boston,” he said. At this time, Galgano began writing and editing his own music-themed “fanzine,’’ a non-official publication produced by fans of a particular cultural phenomenon.
“The fanzine gave me the opportunity to pursue my love of music, but in a different way,” he said. ”It was carried in Tower Records and other record stores, and allowed me to interview a lot of bands and really stay involved in the music scene.’’
After getting married and having a child, Galgano eventually moved back to New Jersey. He enjoyed a teaching career here and DJ’d at two Internet radio stations: Homegrown Radio NJ and Hear New Brunswick. And then it all clicked. “I always was looking for that next big thing, and now I knew what I wanted to do: Internet radio,” he said.
Requiring little more than the Internet, a broadband connection, some broadcasting software and a music library, Internet radio gave Galgano what he had been wanting: Freedom.
“It was time to do this myself,” he said. “In 2003 I discovered Live365, a service that allows a user to broadcast from his or her home. (Live365) takes care of the technical issues and the royalties; you load up MP3s, and people listen. For the first time, it allowed me to do radio the way I wanted it to be done, instead of conforming to someone else’s idea of what good radio is. Now I’m finally doing something I’ve always loved.’’
Galgano’s favorite musical genres include indie pop, new wave and alternative rock, but he points out that anything is fair game on the AOTP playlist, which is filled with music ranging from the 1960s to today.
“There are three basic formats that I work with,” he explained. “During the day I play ‘the great songs,’ which is what I consider to be good music. I think people are tired of hearing the same thing. With the Internet, it’s possible for anyone to reach out and find music, but it also can be intimidating because there is so much music out there. I like to think of AOTP as a guide. We play songs you like, songs you know and songs you should know. Then there’s what I call ‘The Decade,’ which is music from the last few years; all new and all fresh. Overnight, anything goes – you will hear music from my whole library of songs.’’
Galgano said a lot of listeners are people he knows, and a lot of fans also interact through his Facebook page. He said AOTP also has developed an international following with listeners tuning in from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, France, Pakistan and Japan.
Among Galgano’s future goals: taking his show on the road, and broadcasting from local fairs and festivals. “The great thing about Live365 is that it’s completely mobile,” he said. “I can go anywhere and do this; as long as I have an Internet connection, I have a show. It makes it easy to really put myself out into the community and get more people interested in what I am doing.”
So what does Galgano see for the future of terrestrial radio? “I don’t see it going away any time soon,’’ he said. “There are people who like commercial music as well as the talk stations, so there always will be an audience for that. But by the same token, there are many millions of people who are tuned in to the Internet radio community. For those interested in something that’s a little bit different, Internet radio might be the answer. And listeners can take it anywhere there is a wireless connection, which makes the possibilities limitless. I’m always trying to make AOTP more listenable; you can hear anything at any time, and never know what you are going to hear next. I don’t want to ever limit myself. I’m a one-man operation right now, so I am not sure exactly where this is going to go, but for now I’m not ready to compromise.”