Published on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 15:25
The radio-themed message boards of RadioDiscussions.com, formerly known as the Chicago-based Radio-Info.com, has shut down. Users visiting the site today see a message letting them know that it has closed up its virtual doors. Inability to monetize the website appears to be the reason behind its sudden demise.
Those going to RadioDiscussions.com now only see the following message:
"Effective immediately RadioDiscussions and RadioDiscussions.com is ceasing operation.
We appreciate all of your support over the years."
Direct links to the various boards the website housed are now dead.
RadioDiscussions.com was originally started in 1999 by Doug Fleming, Lance Venta, and Tanim Hussain. Back then, it was known as Radio-Info.com. The three young men merged together some regional radio message boards that had been started a few years prior, and made a website full of radio message boards for the entire country. For the most part, Venta and Hussain oversaw the message boards (with the help of a system administrator and numerous volunteer moderators), while Fleming oversaw the business operations of the website, hoping to one day make it both bigger and profitable. In July 2005, Doug Fleming passed away at the age of only 28. Ownership of the domain names was held by Fleming and was then given to his parents Rick & Diana Fleming after his death.
The Fleming family was able to assume full, legal ownership of the website and less than a year after Doug Fleming's passing, decided to take the website in a different direction. Diana Fleming took over the running of the website, and in April 2006, fired Venta, Hussain, and most of the moderators. (Venta went on to form a competing website, RadioInsight.com.) As a tribute to her late son and to continue to push forward some of the concepts that Doug Fleming had planned for it, Diana Fleming decided to make the website less of a niche haven for "radio geeks," and more of a respectable, commercial, radio industry resource. She hired a handful of writers from other publications (Billboard, Radio & Records, etc.) to contribute news items and columns, found advertisers, and greatly increased the website's popularity.
Last year, Rick & Diana Fleming, the owners of In3media, Inc., the parent company of Radio-Info.com, decided it was time for them to retire. They reached out to Talk Media, Inc., the parent company of Springfield, MA-based Talkers magazine, who agreed to a corporate merger in August 2012
. While Talkers is wholly corporately owned and operated by Talk Media, Inc., Radio-Info.com was owned and operated by a new corporate entity: Radio Info, Inc. The Flemings became minority owners in the new company, but not directly responsible for Radio-Info.com's operations anymore.
At that point, Radio-Info.com was no longer based out of its Chicago headquarters at 65 E. Wacker Place, but instead operated out of Talk Media, Inc.'s headquarters out east.
However, Talkers/Talk Media Inc. wanted nothing to do with the message boards. The Flemings' In3media, Inc. maintained ownership and operations of the boards, which were renamed as RadioDiscussions.com. For a few months, the new RadioInfo.com website (now with no hyphen) had a "Discussions" link on its home page that would take users to those boards, but ended the link early this year.
In May of this year, the Flemings sold ownership and operations
of the Chicago-based RadioDiscussions.com boards to Streamline Digital Inc., a division of Streamline Publishing Inc. The company, based out of Palm Beach County, FL, is operated by Eric Rhoads, and also owns Radio Ink Magazine/RadioInk.com, as well as the Radio & Television Business Report (better known as RBR-TVBR).
Over the last few years, the Radio-Info/RadioDiscussions message boards fared better than most message boards. They were heavily moderated and required users to register before posting. While it still occasionally had false information and rumors posted -- a frequent plague of message boards -- its moderation helped eliminate most of the typical Internet troll behavior patterns that are so commonly found on boards.
Some of the major market radio message boards on that website were exceptionally busy. The Chicago board was a quieter one (thanks largely to the popularity of this very website), but overall, the boards as a whole had a decent amount of web traffic nationwide and worldwide.
Just a few months ago, Streamline Digital spent money to give the message boards a major upgrade. It comes as a surprise that the boards would be taken down so soon after their purchase and upgrades.
Radio Ink Executive Vice President/General Manager T.J. Lambert said today: "This was an economic decision. Our intention was to offer Radio Discussions as an option to our advertisers but we found there was no interest and though we respect what Doug Fleming originally built it simply does not make sense to pour cash into something with no prospect of revenue."