What is on your entertainment menu for tonight? If you are in the Denver area your choices would include going to Vinyl Night at the Denver Kush Club where they are passing out free “joint cards.” Such is life in Colorado where recreational use of marijuana is legal.
Several other states now have legal recreational pot, but no state has gone as mainstream than Colorado. One of the leading entrepreneurs is Mike Henry, best known as the “music discovery” strategist and consultant for commercial and noncommercial Triple A music stations nationwide.
Henry and business partner Dino Ianni, a fellow radio guy, opened WeedStreeam [link] in 2014. They call WeedStream “the world’s first entertainment and multi-platform company targeting the legalized cannabis community.” In addition to being a for-profit business, WeedStream is a tireless advocate of legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana as a positive influence on society.
One of WeedStream’s most important components is WeedStream Radio, a 24/7 curated streaming music and information. Listeners click on the WeedStream icon to open the custom WeedStream player. The audio feed is provided by The Stream Guys. WeedStream is available via iHeartRadio, TuneIn, iTunes Radio and other providers.
Listen to WeedStream Radio at [link].
WeedStream Radio’s music format (sample playlist on the right) is mainly comprised of current indie rock and plenty of stoner favorites from all eras. Listeners hear ways to interact with the station including invitations to become a WeedStream “Bud.”
WeedStream Radio plays over 130 currents. Most the tracks are from 2000 to now. Henry calls WeedStream Radio “a new music discovery machine.”
|Mike Henry & His Kids In the WeedSteamer|
Beyond entertainment and advocacy, WeedStream is a family business.
All four of Henry’s adult children work for WeedStream in one way or another. Ianni’s son, Dino, Jr., works in sales.
In a recent interview, Henry described the family’s involvement:
MIKE HENRY: My 28 year old daughter Michelle is our Marketing Director.
My 26-year old daughter Rachel is WeedStream Radio’s “voice,” plus she hosts live events and is an on-camera talent. My 25 year old son Matt joins the Stream Team when school and work allow.
My 24 year old son Boone is the jack-of-all-trades, serving as WeedStream Radio’s music director and assistant PD. Boone is also our promotions director.
WeedStream is truly a budding family business. It’s so rewarding for me to work with my kids every day on WeedStream and I’m proud of what they’ve learned and contributed to the project.
MORE FROM OUR INTERVIEW WITH MIKE HENRY:
KEN: Possession of marijuana is still illegal under federal law and in most states. Has there been any blow back from Paragon’s clients or suppliers about your association with legal weed?
MIKE HENRY: No, I’ve not experienced any negative feedback from clients. Most think it’s a hoot. Running WeedStream Radio as an independent internet-only stream gives me even more hands-on and day-to-day experience to benefit my clients.
We are running a radio station just like my clients, so it really helps me help my clients more. Several clients have volunteered to voice commercials on WeedStream, which they seem to love to do and I appreciate.
KEN: Weedstream is a for-profit business. Are you making a profit?
|Recent Denver Holiday Event|
MIKE HENRY: It is for-profit but we are still a non-profit in terms of our bottom line results. I am investing in WeedStream as a long-term asset. We continue to adjust our business model to achieve sustainability. We have been finding more and more sponsors and partners every month.
KEN: Tell us more about WeedStream Radio:
MIKE HENRY: The station is a pure music play. Our promise to consumers is to be a great indie rock radio station. We play the coolest music on the planet and weed songs to complete the vibe of the cannabis culture.
KEN: How much online traffic does WeedStream Radio generate?
MIKE HENRY: Listening levels vary day to day, but it spikes on certain days on the calendar and when we are running promotions. On April 20th of this year (a/k/a “4/20” day), iHeartRadio used WeedStream as their featured radio station of the day, and we had 700,000 starts in one day.
Our average time spent listening is upwards of 45 minutes. When people tune in, they tend to listen for a long time. We have listeners from over 150 countries. WeedStream is a lifestyle format, not a demographic target.
KEN: WeedStream gives back to the community. How do you put your mission into action?
MIKE HENRY: We are an active supporter and participant in local organizations that advocate for medical users and patients. Military vets helped us renovate the Airstream trailer that became the WeedStreamer. The WeedStreamer helped raise money for Art of War, a local non-profit that supports soldiers with PTSD.
[The WeedSteamer is a silver 1974 Airstream trailer where guests sample new products selected by “budtenders.”]
We support the Cannabis Patients Alliance. We promoted a fundraiser for Realm With Care, an organization that is pioneering research into the healing ingredient in cannabis that have helped hundreds of young children avoid epileptic seizures. Families are moving to Colorado so their children can legally consume marijuana that stops their seizures.
Like the public radio stations I consult, WeedStream uses music and entertainment to get the community talking about our message and mission. Like the stations, we focus on the local scene and build from there.
KEN: Has the WeedStreamer ever be followed by the police?
MIKE HENRY: Yes, but nothing came of it because what are doing is legal, by the book, in Colorado.