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Brad Shepard continues broadcasting online

Date: 2/13/2015

EAST LONGMEADOW – A veteran of radio has continued his broadcasting career in a new area: podcasting.

Working with the publisher of Talkers magazine, Michael Harrison, Brad Shepard has established Pioneer Valley Radio (, the home for Shepard’s new programming.

In speaking with Reminder Publications, Shepard said he is “very, very lucky” to have this opportunity.

After 11 years as the host of the morning show on WHYN-AM, Shepard was replaced in June 2014. Although hiring and firing in radio is not unusual, Shepard said, the radio industry has changed in the last decade.

Looking at his options, he then began discussing a podcasting venture in July but couldn’t launch it until he was a “free agent.”

Harrison said the key to the endeavor is Shepard, “a well known personality, and a talented broadcaster.”

He added, “It’s a shame he’s not on the air.”

Right now the programming Shepard creates is constantly available on the website, but he said one goal would be doing the show live and streaming on the Internet.

Shepard has five shows currently on the site – three in which he and Harrison discuss what they plan to do and two others, one with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and the other with Jennifer Connolly, president of Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts.

Harrison said programs would reflect “a conscious effort to be fair and non-partisan.”  He added the motivation is not one governed by creating revenue as much as it is “the sheer joy of good community broadcasting.”

The experience has been freeing for Shepard who explained the demands of the morning show format could diminish the talk format. The time on air is filled with required programming elements such as weather and traffic, which he said most people now get from their smartphones or computers.

With his podcasts, Shepard said he could take his time and talk with people.

“It’s what I think is interesting, It’s what I think the audience will find interesting,” he explained. There are no limits on subject matter, Shepard added, as the Federal Communication Commission does not govern podcasts.

Harrison added there would be no restrictions of time with the podcasts.

In the future, other people may be invited to produce podcasts through Pioneer Valley Radio, Shepard said. Harrison confirmed that statement and added, “The only thing that will be in common is that it will be local.”

Shepard said the podcasts allow him to undertake “niche programming” such as covering arts, entertainment, music and local theater, among other topics.

“I’m really looking forward to that,” he said.

Harrison said podcasting is “such a liberating technology.”

Shepard noted there is nothing like Pioneer Valley Radio in the Western Massachusetts market.

“Along came Michael Harrison, that was a Godsend,” Shepard said. “He needed the right person in the community to build around … I’m very, very lucky.”

He doesn’t see podcasting as direct competition to traditional radio.

“There’s room for everyone,” Shepard said.

Harrison confirmed the podcasting effort is not a reaction to the status of local radio. “I’m not doing this because I think radio is bad,” he stressed.

The podcasts will be financed through advertising, although Shepard said the listeners will not be “bombarded” by commercials. Rates for charter sponsorships will be “shockingly low,” he added.

The rate of the commercials will be less than standard radio as there is little overhead and infrastructure compared to traditional media. The website is the radio station, Shepard said, or rather “the media station,” a term Harrison uses to describe podcasting.

Shepard can produce the show in a studio he has built in his home, although he noted that with today’s digital recording technology a program can be recorded almost anywhere.

“This puts me in something so brand new,” Shepard said.