SomaFM is an independent Internet-only streaming group of radio channels, supported entirely with donations from listeners. SomaFM originally started broadcasting out of founder Rusty Hodge’s basement garage in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, as a micro-power radio station broadcast at the Burning Man festival in 1999. The response to the project was sufficiently positive that Rusty Hodge launched it as a full-time internet radio station in February 2000.
SomaFM takes its name from Soma, the “perfect pleasure drug” from Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel Brave New World, and the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco, known colloquially as SoMa. SomaFM’s twelve channels reached a peak listenership of 10,000 concurrent listeners by 2002, and now reports nearly 6 million “listener hours” every month.
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