Like a lot of retirees, Tom Dooley was looking for something to do with all the free time he had on his hands.
A former TV and radio producer in Florida and Washington, D.C., Dooley, who now lives in Rehoboth Beach, surveyed the media landscape and found he wasn’t getting the news he and other visitors would want, such as traffic info, beach conditions and event and business information.
Seeing that local radio stations in the Cape Region were more talk-oriented, Dooley had the idea to have a radio station that would not only deliver up-to-date traffic and beach information, but also play Top 40, rock, pop, country and summertime music.
Needing a way to deliver that sort of content, Dooley examined his options, deciding that starting his own terrestrial radio station was cost-prohibitive and too much of a hassle to get licensed. He hit upon the idea of streaming Internet radio, which can be listened to on smartphones, computers and tablets. Dooley said he got his final bit of inspiration from his granddaughter, a freshman at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md.
“She said, ‘I grew up on this,’” Dooley said. Telling him how she uses internet radio to listen to music, she was enthusiastic about his idea for a internet station that also offered traffic updates.
“It was an opportunity for me to keep myself busy, while also giving the community something it really needs,” Dooley said. “It’s the kind of thing that can really grow.”
Dooley, 70, plans to launch the station, which will be streamed through boardwalkbroadcasting.com, Friday, Aug. 1. He said an app for the station will be available for iPads and smartphones after the website launch.
He said traffic updates would come every 15 minutes, with staff monitoring Department of Transportation traffic cameras. Dooley said the station would not have heavy news blocks, with the focus more on traffic, weather and water conditions.
“It can be a good niche for tourists coming to town,” Dooley said. “The audience is right on the Boardwalk. That’s what we’re going after.”
Dooley spent over 40 years in the broadcasting business, directing or producing at television stations such as WJZ in Baltimore, WTOP in Washington, D.C. and WLCY in Tampa and in syndicated production at Westinghouse Broadcasting in Baltimore. His daughter, Heather, suggested her dad move to Rehoboth because it was close to her and had lower taxes.