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All Florida, All The Time: Online Radio Station Brings State Music Archive To Life

Florida Folk Fest performer
Eric La Spada via Flickr

The more than 34,000 songs in the Florida state archive make up “the sound of Florida.” Now, that music recorded in the Sunshine State throughout history is in permanent rotation on a new online radio station called Florida Memory Radio.

“Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” by The Walden Family is one of roughly 10,000 songs already digitized and playing on the State Department’s radio station.

Florida Memory Program Director Jody Norman says, “Every day we add to the radio station.”

The ever-expanding music collection includes selections from blues, gospel, folk and world music.

“For the most part, they’re Florida artists who are just performing examples of music from their particular cultures, so there’s Caribbean, Latin, Greek, Middle Eastern, Ukrainian, Japanese and Southeast Asian,” Norman says.

The oldest songs in the Florida archive are from the 1930s. The newest were recorded at this year’s Florida Folk Festival. And the goal, Norman says, is to get all of them into rotation on the online Florida Memory Radio station.

“It’s really an exciting endeavor, something different. I don’t know of any other archives in the state that’s doing anything like this,” she says. “It’s free, it’s entertaining, it’s always available. It’s a 24-hour service.”

Florida Memory Radio is funded through federal library services grants.

It’s online at radio.floridamemory.com. And Norman says iPhone and Android mobile radio apps are in the works.