“Every single day I get emails from people who still tune in.” Ed Duke shuttered his long-running web radio station Thrash Unlimited recently. “Technically, it’s still on the air,” he says by phone, “on [Internet provider] Live 365, but for subscribers only.” But, according to Duke, no new music will be uploaded, even though ratings show that Thrash Unlimited is huge in Europe. “That’s the way to go out, when things are at their best.”
Duke, 49, still lives in the Lemon Grove house where he started the web radio station with a fellow thrasher named Karoshiga back in 2007. Thrash Unlimited (live365.com/stations/edtrax) came to be partly as a result of the fan response to the original Thrash Unlimited online forums and partly from Duke’s desire to become a radio deejay.
“It was never about money, at first. It was about a dream that some of us have as teenagers — wanting to have your own radio station so that you can pick all the records. Man,” he says, “it doesn’t work out that way.” In the end, Duke says, it was about money. “After six years, we were just breaking even. Most months, I went in the hole.”
For supplemental income, Duke worked at the Goodwill store on Home Avenue. Now, he is a freelance computer tech and designer of CD and book covers. “Photography, too.” He’d like to branch out into different areas of the music industry, such as management. A blues guitar player, he says, is his first such client. “I’d also like to set up a recording studio and do some engineering.”
And why not? Duke claims that he and Thrash Unlimited are responsible for getting bands signed to record labels. “Diamond Plate, from Illinois, and Bonded by Blood, from Los Angeles. And, I got my name on the backs of at least 40 to 50 CDs. Thanks to Ed...stuff like that,” Duke says.
“Part of why we created Thrash Unlimited,” Duke told the Reader in 2007, “was for our desire to start an online community of like-minded thrash individuals.”
Fans responded: in its day, Duke says, Thrash Unlimited could be heard in over 80 countries, this according to listener metrics tabulated by Live 365. “I shit you not,” Ed Duke says. “I didn’t even know there were 80 different countries.”