B. Eric Rhoads
Eric Rhoads started his radio career in 1969 at the age of 14, working as a DJ in Fort Wayne, IN, and Kalamazoo, MI (WITB and WYYY respectively). His "big break" came when he joined the inaugural staff of Heftel Broadcasting's Y-100 (WLQY and later WHYI) in Miami. At 17, Rhoads was at that time believed to be the youngest full-time major-market radio talent in America. He went on to Bartel's WMYQ/Miami, which became 96X, where he was music director, and then briefly went to work with Tom Birch at WQAM/Miami. (Birch and Rhoads were air talent together at Y100). Rhoads' first programming gig was in Fresno, CA, where he beat legendary programmer Bill Drake with K104 (KIOY). Soon thereafter Rhoads and programmer Jerry Clifton formed New World Communications, a program consulting firm where Rhoads and Clifton programmed about 25 stations together.
Rhoads owned his first radio stations at age 25: KLRZ/Salt Lake City, KEYY/Provo, UT, and KHAA/New Orleans. He sold the properties in 1986. He then founded Streamline Communications Corp., which manufactured The Giant Boom Box, remote radio studios for stations around the blobe.
In 1987 Rhoads advertised in a little-known publication called The Pulse of Broadcasting. Unsatisified with his advertising results, he met with then-Publisher Tom Shovan, only to learn the publication was not fulfilling its advertised circulation. Feeling the publication needed a boost, Rhoads met with owner Robert FX Sillerman the same day and left the meeting with an agreement to own the magazine. He then founded Streamline Publishing Inc., and changed the name of the magazine to The Pulse of Radio -- only to find the magazine's reputation issues could not be overcome. So, at the suggestion of mentor Dwight Case, he changed the publication's name to Radio Ink.
In 1997 Rhoads published his first book, Blast From the Past: A 75 Year Photo History of Radio. Rhoads was featured on CBS, USA Today, The New York Times, and hundreds of media outlets. Rhoads is also a published author in the Columbia University Media Studies Journal, and he was the featured subject of an episode of the NBC sitcom NewsRadio.
Streamline expanded its scope beyond Radio Ink by launching Streamline Press, which publishes radio-industry books and DVDs. As the Internet radio industry was just beginning, in 1999 Rhoads founded e-Radio magazine, the first publication dedicated to radio and the Internet. The scope of the publication was refocused in May 2000 and the publication was renamed Streaming Magazine, which was later broadened to the title Digital Media.
In 2004, the company launched its first non-industry-related title, Plein Air Magazine, targeted to artists and in 2006 launched a consumer art title called Fine Art Connoisseur, which targets affluent art collectors. Today Streamline also publishes web sites, and conferences including Forecast, held annually at the Harvard Club in New York; the Radio Ink Hispanic Radio Conference ; Convergence (formerly the Radio Ink Internet Conference), held in San Jose; and Roy Williams Live, held in Austin, TX.
In November of 1999 Rhoads caught the dot-com bug and founded RadioCentral Networks Inc., a network of custom radio stations for the web's leading destination sites. Rhoads raised $18 million and created custom radio for many leading brands, including Earthlink, Lycos, About.com, A&E Television, and others. In 2002 the company was the second most-listened-to online radio network, behind AOL. Rhoads maintained his involvement with Streamline throughout his tenure at RadioCentral. He was also an initial investor in SuperRadio Networks, which was sold in 2004.
Rhoads presently sits on the board of directors of the Bayliss Scholarship Foundation, and has also held board seats with the Broadcast Education Association, the WAY-FM Media Group (a non-profit religious broadcast group), and the National Association of College Broadcasters, and is on the steering committee of the Museum of Broadcast Communications/Radio Hall of Fame. In 2007 the Broadcast Foundation awarded Rhoads its coveted Broadcast Pioneer Award, and in 2006 he was given special recognition by the Katz women's conference for his efforts in breaking the glass ceiling in the radio industry.
Rhoads and his wife and triplet children live in Lafayette, CA (San Francisco Bay area). Rhoads is a collector of antique radios and microphones and an accomplished photographer and landscape and portrait oil painter. His photographs and paintings have been represented in art galleries in Seattle, Estes Park, Palm Beach, New York, and Santa Fe.