Your telephone is now a radio that can connect you to about 5,000 stations all over the globe.
And it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a smartphone, dumb phone, or a landline. You don’t even have to download an app.
Baruch Herzfeld, activist and entrepreneur, has created Zeno Radio, an innovative service that allows users to listen to live and archived news, sports, talk, and music stations from countries around the world. There’s no monthly bill; no special connections required. In fact, if you have an unlimited calling plan, you can listen all day — for free. All you have to do is dial a phone number, and you’re connected.
Herzfeld developed the concept when he was working in the pre-paid calling card phone business. Many people who purchased these calling cards were immigrants, and Herzfeld thought it would be nice if they could listen to radio stations from their countries while they waited on hold. He figured out a way to make this happen.
“It became popular very quickly,” says Herzfeld. So popular, he decided to hang up on the calling card business and say hello to the company he would call Zeno.
That was in 2012. Today, there are about 700,000 listeners. Herzfeld says these figures will continue to grow.
“More than 40 percent of New Yorkers are foreign-born,” he says. “They are happy to be here, but they also long to stay connected to the countries they left behind.” Zeno Radio has built the bridge.
The service is free to broadcasters, too. Zeno Radio provides them with a complimentary banner advertisement to promote their stations, and also supports them on its Facebook page.
“We’re essentially a free marketing tool for radio stations,” says Herzfeld, offering a great way to help them build an audience.
Herzfeld is a firm believer in giving back to the community. The company sponsored an empowerment summit at the Nassau Coliseum, and Herzfeld recently gave out awards at Caribbean Life’s second annual “40 Under 40” awards ceremony this November, one of his staff members was also an honoree. The company is sponsoring a scholarship for a student at the University of the West Indies. The student must major in communications or technology. He has been written about in New York Magazine, and has earned community recognition for his own activism, so it is no surprise that he would eventually like to use his radio connections to influence politics. At home, he has been instrumental in promoting bike lanes in Brooklyn.
In Haiti, he is working on setting up an office to provide assistance to people there.
“One of our big missions will be to help send resources to the Caribbean,” he says.
But for now the goal is to entertain people, and from the feedback he has gotten, listeners are very happy. It has been especially rewarding to those who work the night shift. When the rest of the world is sleeping, Zeno Radio is out there, offering a voice from home, at a time when it’s convenient for night workers to hear it.
“We want to bring our expatriate listeners as close as possible to their home culture, to make them feel as if they had never left,” says Herzfeld.
The company continues to add countries to its growing network. We can listen to radio stations in faraway places that include Egypt, Italy, Morocco, India, China, and Ecuador. Those who live in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and Australia can enjoy Zeno Radio, too.
Check out some of Zeno Radio’s most popular connections:
• ENFX Radio in Trinidad — Dial: 1 (401) 283–6934
• Caribbean Radio — Dial: 1-712-432-9556 (You will be prompted to push a button to select stations in Trinidad and Anguilla).
• Jamaican stations in the U.S. and Jamaica — Dial: 1 (712) 432–9808 (You will be prompted to push a button to make your selection).
• HOT 102 FM, Jamaica — Dial: 1 (712) 432–8670
• Tambourine Radio, Jamaican station in the U.S. featuring Ragashanti — Dial: 1 (712) 775-6815
• Newstalk93FM in Jamaica — Dial: 1 (401) 347–0902
• WACK Radio 90.1FM in Trinidad — Dial: 1 (712) 432–6930
• NCU 91 FM in Jamaica – Dial: 1 (518) 412-1090
•ABS Radio in Antigua – Dial: 1 (518) 400-6091
•Kool 103 FM in Anguilla — Dial: 1 (712) 432–9574
• Prosperity FM in Cayman – Dial: 1 (231) 423-1262
• WVIP 93.5 F Groovin’ Radio, Jamaican station based in the US – Dial: 1 (712) 432–8605.
Zeno Radio [421 Seventh Ave., corner of 33rd Street in Manhattan, Contact the Caribbean Rep in the office at 212-822-3460, www.zenoradio.com].