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Pinellas County
Changing the face of radio
Internet station focuses on growth
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Photo courtesy of ERIK REMMEL
Life Improvement Media Group founder Erik Remmel, right, interviews Life Improvement Radio guest and local artist Nathan Beard.
Up until five years ago, Erik Remmel ran a family-owned health and wellness facility in St. Petersburg.

But as he got creative with marketing his own company – handing out CDs of podcasts tackling frequently asked questions on health topics, designing his own flyers and ads – he realized he had a knack for media and promotions.

So he got out of the family business and launched Life Improvement Media Group.

There are two facets to the interactive media company, Remmel said. The first offers other businesses all of the promotional techniques, technologies and resources needed to succeed.

“We have all the pieces of the puzzle for anything anyone might want to do,” he said.

The second facet – his real passion – is Life Improvement Radio, a free Internet radio station with two platforms: a slate of daytime, PG-rated, educational-based shows and Life Improvement Radio After Dark, which features music- and entertainment-based nighttime programming where “anything goes.”

When LIR first started five years ago, it was the only Internet station in Pinellas County, Remmel said. And at the time, people had a much different perception of the online format.

“People have really been down on Internet radio,” said Remmel, who has also hosted several shows on the station, including “Your Media Guys.” “It was like the wicked stepchild of radio.”

But in just a few years, technology has improved so much that “it’s really changed the marketplace,” he said. “Traditional radio stations are drying up.” Many mainstream stations, such as 102.5 The Bone and 98.7 The Fan, have changed over to a talk format, and more Internet stations are popping up as the technology is refined.

Currently, there are around 40 shows offered on LIR’s daytime format, and 20 nighttime programs. But these numbers fluctuate, Remmel said. He launches new shows each month. And his daytime shows get between 4 million and 5 million listeners each year. His After Dark programming, which launched last April, so far has about 1 million listeners, and he expects this number to grow significantly in its second year.

Velva Lee Heraty recently launched a show, “Let’s Talk Life,” with LIR on Saturdays from 10 to 11 a.m.

“I was just so impressed with Erik and his show,” she said.

She’d considered starting a show with another local Internet station, but was turned off by how unorganized and unprofessional it was.

“They were way, way in over their heads,” she said.

So she jumped at the chance when Remmel offered her a show on LIR.

“He had the right platform, the right attitude and the technical skills,” she said. “It’s been an absolute blessing working with Life Improvement Radio. … It’s wonderful to be part of a community of creative people and innovators.”

Now Remmel’s focus is on growing the station. He’s started an online crowd funding campaign at igg.me/p/705216. He’s hoping to raise $26,000 to move the station into a larger studio that will allow him to focus on his commitment to the community. Not only will he be able to better serve his listening audience, but local businesses, musicians and artists as well.

“We’re the best-kept secret in St. Pete,” Remmel said.

To listen live or find podcasts of past shows, go to lifeimprovementradio.com.
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