BlowUpRadio has been a driving force on the original music scene for over 15 years now. Headed by Larry “Lazlo” Seltzer, BlowUpRadio has helped elevate many local musicians while providing a well-rounded selection of music from artists of many genres. Just days after BlowUpRadio.com celebrated its 15th anniversary, the Copyright Royalty Board handed down their decision on internet royalties for 2016-2020. The new rates were a steep increase, and a provision for small, hobbyist broadcasters like BlowUpRadio.com, was removed from the new decision. These circumstances led to Live365, the host of BlowUpRadio.com’s internet radio station, to announce that they were closing on Jan. 31.
“It comes with great regret that after recently celebrating our 15th anniversary of being ‘Where NJ Rock Lives’, that we are being forced to shut down the internet radio station component of our site,” said Lazlo, founder of BlowUpRadio.com. “Rest assured that even though this is the end of our internet radio stream, I am already hard at work on the next phase of how BlowUpRadio.com will continue to promote New Jersey’s indie music scene.”
Lazlo’s dedication to the scene has always been strong, and his resolve to come out of this with something better is undeniably positive. “Rather than go out with a whimper, or maudlin retrospective, we decided to have a two-day party. I’ve had 15 amazing years doing BlowUpRadio.com, and met a lot of incredible local musicians. A handful of the thousands of players I have played on BlowUpRadio.com over the years will be here during our live broadcast to perform live on the air.”
So with that outlook in mind, Lazlo will be going out with a loud and joyful noise. That sound will be provided by a proverbial “who’s who” of Jersey bands and performers. The list includes 1L & Chris Rockwell, Catherine Wacha, Deena & Jon (Cucumbers), Diego Allessandro, Fun While You Wait, Jersey Drive, Jonathan Andrew, Mike Oregano, Renee Maskin, Sean Faust, Shotgun Bill, Staten & Shabazz Talib, The Wailing Kids, Tommy Strazza, with more acts to be announced before show time.
Lazlo’s history is extremely varied when it comes to New Jersey music. But he got into radio by a fate molding decision during his freshman year of college. “I was going to an awful college in Philadelphia, which I will not mention by name, but my roommate worked at the college radio station, and I filled in for him once and the next thing I knew I was an addict.” An addict indeed. He soon transferred to Middlesex County College to figure out what he wanted to major in for his degree.
“My parents tried to persuade me away from radio as a primary, but it was becoming my passion in life.” He continued to do a radio show at MCC, playing many New Jersey artists and going to, even more, local concerts. Soon he would transfer to Monmouth University, where he would officially make Radio Communications his major and was the host of the Local Music Scene on WMCX.
While at Monmouth University, Larry took an internship with WDHA which eventually turned into a part-time DJ-ing job, a time he looks back on fondly. “For the most part, my time with WDHA was a lot of fun. After five-plus years, though, it’s just like, ‘What do you mean I have to play ‘Free Bird’ again? Ahhhh!’ Not that ‘Free Bird’ is a bad song, but when you hear it every time you’re on the air…I was just getting burnt out there. It wasn’t fun anymore. I missed doing the local music scene, and I wanted to get back to a freer format/indie station.”
Lazlo had long talked of doing an internet station based around New Jersey bands but didn’t have the technical knowhow to pull it off. Then he saw an email post about live365.com. “It was great. They host internet radio shows for free and give you instructions on how to load the MP3s. Suddenly Live365 gave me the opportunity to carry out my dream.” And so it came to pass that on Dec. 15, 2000, BlowUpRadio.com, named as such for his feelings at the time about mainstream radio, was born.
“I didn’t want to literally blow up radio stations, just the conformity of playing the same songs and traditional artists over and over again. I also wanted to figuratively blow up the lines between the different formats. My only criteria are the artist has to be from the great state of New Jersey. I don’t care if you do rap or easy listening. I think there can be ways to play these different styles on the same station, and people can enjoy it all. Radio narrows its format to such strict criteria that it’s unlikely you would ever hear Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra and Wyclef Jean side by side, and that’s just picking three well-known musicians from New Jersey that have different styles of music.”
But BlowUpRadio.com isn’t really about commercial artists.
“I do play some major label artists from New Jersey, but most of my playlist comes from the unsigned bands. Bands you may be hearing for the first time here. That’s what’s exciting, is that I could be playing the next big thing before some major label decides to sign them and make them stars. There’s lots of potential in the New Jersey music scene.”
But it looks like all of that may be changing at the end of the month. With the previously mentioned raises for royalty fees, it’s not a feasible venture to continue in its present format. Personally, I find this a horrible outcome and hope that Lazlo figures out a way to continue doing what he has been doing these last 15 years.
But as of this writing, the station will go silent as of Feb. 1, 2016, and stay that way until Lazlo figures out his next move. So on that note, tune in on Jan. 30 and 31 and join BlowUpRadio.com for their final broadcast on their internet radio station. Dubbed “Blowing Up The Radio,” the two-day broadcast will feature numerous in-studio guests as previously mentioned, as well as playing songs from some of the many New Jersey bands that BlowUpRadio.com has been playing over the last 15 years.
For more information on BlowUpRadio, Lazlo and his history, head over to blowupradio.com and join the celebratory end of one of New Jersey’s finest online music programs.