Mike Carlin has been fascinated by radio since he was a boy.
Growing up, he and a couple of friends would ride their bikes from Dublin, Calif., where they lived, to Livermore to spend time at what was then KYTE.
“That was probably 15 or 20 miles,” said Carlin, now 58, of Kennewick.
After attending broadcast school in the Seattle area, Carlin worked for nearly 30 years as a disc jockey and news director in commercial radio — at stations from Spokane to Montana, Wyoming and Georgia, he said.
Looking for a change after a divorce, he moved to the Tri-Cities about 11 years ago. And he’s found a way to keep radio a part of his life here.
Carlin runs Country Gold Network from his home. It’s an Internet radio station — one of a growing number around the U.S. and beyond.
Carlin’s operation takes its name from a string of country stations that broadcast in the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia area years ago. He plays classic country from the 1940s through the 1990s, along with current and indie country from Nashville and Texas country and “red-dirt” music, which is edgier country fare.
Carlin gets some help — he has a webmaster, and he works with promoters to book artist interviews and find new music to play.
But he’s essentially a one-man band.
Dillon Steen, a music promoter in Texas, said Carlin is willing to take chances on new artists, running interviews and playing their music.
“He’s made an impact in a lot of young up-and-coming artists’ careers by helping them get their music out,” Steen told the Herald.
Jay Karl Jensen, a syndicated radio show host and music promoter, added that Carlin clearly has a deep interest in music, and he’s not afraid to take risks and play tunes by lesser-known artists he believes in.
With the Texas music he plays, for example, “he’s sharing it with his audience, giving them something brand new,” Jensen said.
“That’s really what Internet radio is about — sharing what people aren’t hearing and drawing them into it,” he said.
Jensen’s show, Your Country Revue, airs weekly on Country Gold Network.
Carlin suspects many of his listeners come from the Texas area. But he’s hoping to build up the local listener base, he said.
He’s also open to taking on an intern looking to learn the ropes of radio, he said.
It’s also on Facebook.