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Published: 2007/12/21

Rust Radio

This month’s Fan Site is devoted to Neil Young. Here are Roel van Dijk’s comments on his Rust Radio site.

  • Getting Into Neil Young =
Back in 1998, I was introduced to Neil Young’s music by my girlfriend’s
mother, who played me Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After The Gold
Rush. Although I had been into electronic music at the time, I was hooked
immediately. Neil Young is a living legend that has experimented with a lot
of different musical styles and just never stops touring.
After collecting all the albums, and finding my way to the the Neil Young
mailing list called the ‘Rust List’ in 1999, I got into the world of
"trading". Many members on the Rust List (called "Rusties") would offer
recordings of Neil Young shows at the time. I tried to get some of these,
and got a note from a Dutch Rustie who lived really close by. He offered me a
bunch of his tapes, so we decided to meet up in town. This guy, Joost, has
been a close Neil-buddy ever since. I listened to the tapes he gave me,
which ranged from 1970 to 1999, and I was amazed with Neil Young even more.
  • Collecting Shows =
His ‘donation’ of tapes started my collection of live Neil Young shows. I
started collecting shows from every era of Neil Young’s career, and I never
ceased to be amazed by yet another show. In a few months, I traded these
shows with people all over the world, and collected quite a few of these
recordings. This also made me realize that I should go and see Neil Young
perform live the next time he came to my country. This would happen in 2001
and I was blown away. Experiencing a live performance by this man was just
mind-blowing, and especially because this show was with Crazy Horse. The
power, the energy, the strength, amazing.
  • How Rust Radio became to be =
During the year after my first Neil Young show, I was looking into a way to
share all the music I had collected with other people. All these hundreds of
shows, and I would only listen to them once or twice and them archive them.
There must be a way to make better use of them.. I was studying at a
university in Amsterdam at the time, and they had a this awesome Internet
connection. I was in the process of wrapping up my studies, and had a
private computer that only I used. This is when I came up with the idea of
broadcasting music over the Internet. So during these last months of 2002 I
did some research and installed a ShoutCast server on this machine. I
brought a set of MP3 files of Neil Young shows and albums to university and
broadcast these over the Internet during the weekend. The first public
announcement that I could find is here.
Right from the start the radio got great response from Rusties, and I was
sure I would do more of these weekends. People from all over the world had
tuned in, and that made it all worth it for me. I think somebody said I
should have a name for this radio stream, and I came up with "Rust Radio".
However, soon after this the University apparently noticed that somebody on
the network was using too much bandwidth during weekends, and they closed
off the incoming connections. This meant that the radio was not working
anymore! Luckily, a friend of mine at university got me in touch with one of
his friends that had a server in a ISP’s server room. He told me I could use
as much bandwidth as I wanted, for free! This saved the radio.
  • Evolving The Radio =
As of that moment, I tried to make the radio happen every weekend. But since
I had not automated the broadcast, I had to do the show-selection and
configuration entirely by hand. This was a time-consuming task, and soon I
got fed up with it. This eventually led to fewer shows per month, and
finally I just quit the broadcast early 2004. Luckily, later that year I
would pick it up again and the radio has been online for almost every
weekend since.
Somewhere in 2005 I automated the entire broadcast process, so I could more
easily start and stop the stream. Also show selection was easier when I put
all the shows information into a database, and could select by the click of
a mouse button.
  • A New Website =
Although I had the ‘’ domain for a while, I had never created a
proper website for it. I had created a BitTorrent tracker for it, to spread
recordings of Neil Young shows among Rusties, but never created a proper
website for the radio. All the different web pages I created about Neil
Young were scattered all over the domain. So, by early 2007, I decided it
was time to put some effort into that. On February 22nd, I launched the new website, which now not only hosts information about the radio
stream, but also full statistics of every Rust Radio weekend, a list of
links to Neil Young ‘torrents’, and tour and setlist information about the
recent tours.
  • Final Words =
Rust Radio is a big part of my life now. Whenever Neil Young tours, I try to
play shows from that tour, and it’ll draw more and more listeners from all
over the world. People send me short notes on how they enjoy the broadcast,
and that makes it all worth it for me. Thanks for listening, and see you
next weekend!
Roel van Dijk

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