Founded in 1987 Streamline Publishing began as founder Eric Rhoads found himself frustrated with the quality of publications in the radio industry. Rhoads had been an advertiser of several publications, one which was called the PULSE of BROADCASTING. Dissatisfied with the advertising results Rhoads met with the owners in NY and left the meeting with an agreement to own the magazine. Rhoads, who knew nothing about the publishing industry hired a publisher and an editorial team to run the magazine. He invested and lost in excess of a million dollars in the publications first year and faced a near bankruptcy. Operating on fumes Rhoads terminated most his staff and decided to be the publisher himself to learn the business. Though this process Rhoads created operating and publishing systems, which allowed him to produce high quality magazines at a much lower cost, a task experts said could not be done. Rhoads then replicated that system into other publications, books, conferences, videos and now online products.
1987 - Present
1999 - 2002
RadioCentral Networks, Inc.
In 1999 Rhoads saw the internet as his next opportunity. Inspired by his friend Mark Cuban, who had found huge success with his online project Broadcast.com, which he sold to Yahoo for $6.3 Billion Rhoads developed a concept for one of the first online music radio formats. Rhoads pitched the company to Pacrim Ventures in Palo Alto, which in turn made introductions to Media Venture Partners (now Allegis Ventures) and raised $18 million over the life of the business.
Radio Central Networks created custom branded radio formats and was the first in the world to do so. Partnerships included Earthlink Radio, About.com Radio, A&E Radio, and others. The company also developed several patents for its interactive audio platform and through partnerships developed the first CD quality online audio.
1986 - 1992
Following the sale of his radio stations Rhoads took an early retirement and was immediately bored. While visiting the Utah state fair he saw a karaoke booth in the shape of a giant radio. The next day Rhoads had forged an alliance with its builder to place these units on flatbed trailers and Rhoads sold these units, which he called GIANT BOOM BOXES to radio stations. The company soared and in two years sold units to a radio station in every city in America and over 50 foreign countries. He then invented additional promotional products including GIANT JUKE BOX, THE MONEY MACHINE and more.
1980 - 1986
Rhoads had been consulting radio stations and took on a client in Provo, Utah with the promise that his consulting company would also get to program a new FM being put on the air in Salt Lake. When the owners neared the launch of the station they told Rhoads that they were not going to have him program it, in spite of the success he had brought to their AM station. In a meeting to save the business Rhoads told the owners he was so confident he could make the station successful that he offered to buy it. The owners called his bluff. Suddenly Rhoads had to raise over a million dollars. Rhoads was 25 years old at the time.
About two years earlier Rhoads had learned of an FM license, which was available in New Orleans. When he began the legal process to acquire the license from the FCC he learned that many others had tried and failed to get the license. He later learned that the politics in the small city of license south of New Orleans had involved alleged threats to suitors trying to get the property. Rhoads personally experienced threats from individuals who had a track record of alleged murder and intimidation. In spite of these threats and being tailed by local police authorities from this town, whose city officials owned the competitive radio station, Rhoads continued until his attorney advised him to walk away from an impossible situation. Rhoads then told his FCC attorney that he wanted to solicit the FCC Chairman to waive the strict rules required to get a license. He was told it was not possible and had never been done. At his assistance the attorney presented a letter from Rhoads outlining his case and the FCC waived the rules for the first time in history. Rhoads was granted the license for the station, which was a class C FM (the highest possible signal) in New Orleans. Rhoads then put the station on the air about the same time he took control of the radio stations in Utah.
Rhoads operated the radio stations and sold the entire operation at a substantial profit in 1986. Rhoads was 31 when he sold the stations.
1977 - 1980
In the midst of a successful career as a radio programmer Rhoads found that he was getting job offers from many radio stations. He wanted to take them all but could not, so he approached his mentor and former boss Jerry Clifton and suggested the two start a consulting company. The company was formed and the two radio programmers built the company to having 25 stations, which they operated simultaneously as programming consultants.
1969 - 1977
Various Radio Station Employment
Rhoads started his radio industry career by accident at the age of 14. While participating in a public service project in his home town Rhoads met a local radio dee jay who invited him to visit him while broadcasting at a local radio station. Rhoads took him up on the offer and for the first time in his life knew what he wanted to do for a living. Rhoads insisted the radio station hire him, which they did. He then went on to several stations as a dee jay before moving into music research and directing programing. After 10 years on the air Rhoads realized he wanted to move into the business side of the industry, which is where he felt the money was.
Worked at various radio stations as a program director and on air personality, including:
- WITB Fort Wayne, IN
- WLYB Fort Wayne, IN
- WYYY Kalamazoo, MI
- WHYI( Y100) Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL (inaugural air staff)
- WMJX (96X) Miami, FL
- WQAM Miami, FL
- KIOY Fresno, CA
Chairman and CEO of Streamline Publishing, Inc., which publishes digital and print magazines, newsletters, conferences, books and videos. Columnist for Radio Ink, Fine Art Connoisseur, Artist Advocate, and Dealer as well as being a blogger in radio, advertising, artist marketing and gallery marketing. Author of book Blast from the Past: A Pictorial History of Radio's First 75 Years, frequent speaker on radio broadcasting, fine art collecting, marketing, managing and small businesses.
Interested in innovation, marketing, management. Hobbies include oil painting on location and portraiture. A life long student of business, art, and marketing.
Tech Ink is a monthly radio industry technical publication affiliated with RADIO INK.
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