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New online radio station captures the vibe of Maine's coast

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If one were to distill the feeling and vibe of coastal Maine and turn it into a radio station, what would it sound like? Maine radio veteran Race Ashlyn asked that question before creating Coastal Maine Radio a new online station designed to reflect the eclecticism of the coast and the people who spend time there. 

Originally from Waterville, Ashlyn says he has always had a fascination with the coast. 'I've always loved it. Even as a teenager, I would load up the car with friends and we'd drive to Pemaquid or Camden there's a vibe that you can only get on the coast,' Ashlyn told me in an interview last week.   

The playlist of Ashlyn's new online station reverberates with the unique beauty and intangible vibe of coastal Maine. 'Every song has been hand-picked by me,' he said. 'I spend a lot of time putting the music together. For me, it all has to gel' and remain true to the vibe of the coast. The vibe is very important. Actually, the name of the station was almost 'The Vibe.'  

A sample half hour from last Friday evening featured music from Avett Brothers, Eric Clapton, The Wallflowers, Grateful Dead, Talking Heads, Simon and Garfunkel and Widespread Panic.  There was a slightly mellower vibe on Saturday morning with songs from James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, America, Blues Traveler and Cat Stevens. 

'It's perfect seaside, hangin' out music.' Ashlyn said. 'A lot of the playlist reflects my taste. You'll hear singer-songwriter material real people playing real instruments. It's almost a lost art but one that seems to be gaining new ground with the success of Mumford & Sons, Avett Brothers and others. You'll hear music that captures the beauty and ferocity of the ocean. Also, I love jam-bands, so you're bound to hear Phish at some point.'

Every Friday at 4 p.m., Coastal Maine Radio presents a heaping portion of live Phish on 'Phishin' on Friday.'  Featuring entire sets from one of the band's live shows, recent broadcasts included Trey Anastasio recorded live at the State Theatre in Portland on Jan. 20 and Phish's three-set New Year's Eve performance from Madison Square Garden in New York City.  

Ashlyn says he had thought about creating an online radio station for several years, but with a growing family and a life immersed in terrestrial radio, free time has been a precious commodity. At various times over the last two decades, Ashlyn was heard on the air on Maine's WTVL, WMME, WKZS, WMGX, WTOS, WFZX in addition to spending several years programming stations in the Florida Keys.

'At the moment, this is a side project but one that's important to me and to listeners too,' he said. 'The people who like it, really like it.' Ashlyn says his long-term goal is to grow Coastal Maine Radio and localize it. 'I'd love to see more local Maine music on the station,' he explained. 'Maine has some incredible talent, and it would be fun to showcase that. I can see us airing shows from great Maine artists, and I'd like to involve local businesses. It would be great to have some sponsors on the station.' 

Ashlyn says that, in just a few short months, his labor of love has drawn regular listeners from around the world. 'In the last week, we've had listeners in New Zealand, Italy, Germany, Jamaica, Spain, Portugal,  Switzerland, Indonesia they'll listen for 12 hours at a time,' he told me. 'We have many regular listeners in Jamaica. Maybe it's because we play a lot of Bob Marley,' he said, laughing. 

With new music being added to the diverse playlist daily, part of the fun of listening is not knowing what you'll hear next. Log on and soak up the vibe of Maine's coast at www.CoastalMaineRadio.com.  

'The Big Morning Show with Mike Dow' can be heard each morning on Big 104 FM The Biggest Hits of the '60s, '70s & '80s - airing on 104.3,104.7and 107.7.

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