Wednesday, December 21, 2016




The video below is a public service message about drinking and driving. The lesson of this video is:

When you think you are ready to drive, 
you might actually be above the legal level of intoxication.


This video is me on December 31, 1985 being “drunk on the air.” I was working at ths time at KTOQ, a Country music station in Rapid City, South Dakota. KTOQ was owned, in part, by NPR News anchor Tom Brokaw.

“Drunk on the air” is a frequent public service program used to demonstrate the danger of driving while impaired. KTOQ got a local liquor distributor to sponsor the event. City cops and state troopers were on hand to measure my blood alcohol content and have me perform various sobriety tests. I insisted on a large bottle of good scotch. After four hours, I have consumed 8.5 tall glasses of hootch.

KEVN-TV, then the local NBC affiliate, covered “drunk on the air” with a live broadcast during the 6:00pm news. Then the unexpected happened.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


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.

Mike Henry
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.

Boone Henry

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.


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?

The WeedSteamer
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.

Monday, December 19, 2016


SPARK! will be taking a holiday break starting this Wednesday. New posts will resume on Monday, January 2, 2017. Please join us tomorrow for a special report about consultant Mike Henry’s WeedStream project in Denver.


If everything goes as planned, listeners in Los Angeles and Minneapolis-St, Paul will soon be able to receive stronger more robust signals of American Public Media (APM) stations. APM is installing MaxxCasting technology, a system that boosts transmission through buildings, tunnels, and small hills. It also mediates interfering signals and multipath issues found “urban office canyons.”

The MaxxCasting System combines radio signals and cellular technology to enable FM stations using boosters to enhance their signals. It creates mini boosters on cell towers that are low to the ground.  

MaxxCasting technology was developed by GeoBroadcast Solutions, LLC [link], in association with Harris Broadcasting.

How effective is MaxxCasting? GeoBroadcast claims it will bring more listeners and money for commercial stations.  The GeoBroadcast chart on the right shows the possible benefits of MaxxCasting: 11% growth in market share and 12% more potential listeners. GeoBroadcast does not provide a list of stations using the MaxxCasting System for proprietary and competitive reasons.

KEN SAYS: One of the reasons for APM’s success over four decades is the attention it has paid to the basics of broadcasting. This starts with having the best possible signals. In Minnesota, APM station signals cover almost every inch of the state. In Los Angeles APM’s KPCC gets maximum penetration by transmitting the 600-watt signal in mono. We recently reported [link] on KPCC’s new boosters to get steady coverage for listeners in West LA.


I was pleased to read Tyler Falk’s report in Current [link] that WAMU has extended the deadline to February to accommodate a potential buyer for Bluegrass Country’sHD channel and streaming audio service.

The Bluegrass Country Foundation, a community group, announced the pending deal on their website [link]:

UPDATE (4pm December 8, 2016) 

WAMU Management and members of the Bluegrass Country Foundation Board of Directors have been working diligently on ways to make the transfer of programming work. Initially, the deadline was January 1, 2017. Once we started working on the engineering, programming and legal details, we quickly realized it would be almost impossible to meet that January 1 deadline.

This afternoon, Jeff Ludin of the Bluegrass Country Foundation and members of WAMU Management held a teleconference and agreed to set a new deadline of Monday, February 6, 2017 so all the necessary details can be ironed out.

Hopefully, we can then realize the transfer of programming. Until then, programming on WAMU’s Bluegrass Country will continue. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Keep your fingers crossed as we continue to work on your behalf. — Katy Daley, Program Director and Morning Host, WAMU’s Bluegrass Country

Bluegrass Country Foundation still needs to raise more money and complete the agreement with WAMU. The foundation says it needs another $50,000. Negotiations with the third-party owner of a translator at 105.5 FM (where most people now hear Bluegrass Country) are also continuing.

The new deadline to culminate the agreement is February 6th, 2017.

In previous reports [link] we have cautioned that the acquisition of Bluegrass Country’s HD channel, streaming audio and intellectual property is very risky, particularly if it won’t continue to be heard on 105.5 FM. We wish the buyers well and hope Bluegrass Country continues to serve DC area listeners for many years.