WoW Radio (also known as WCRadio and Warcraft Radio) was an independent group of players that came together from 2004 - 2010 to produce and promote live radio shoutcasts that aired throughout the week. The shows were about 80% talk and 20% music, with most of the music being split between preshows and royalty free music played when there were no shows or archives playing on the stream. The stream utilized Shoutcast, a popular internet radio streaming platform.
WoW Radio's exhibitions were acknowledged and publicized by Blizzard, often featured on the original, official WorldofWarcraft.com Website more than ten times between 2004 - 2006. WoW Radio was invited to attend BlizzCon 2005 and broadcast the only live video feed covering everything on the show floor. In future years, WoW Radio broadcasted the only endorsed live audio feed from the show floor in 2007, 2008, 2009.
The station began as one show, Saturday Nights with Athalus, on October 11th, 2004. Athalus recognized that World of Warcraft would be a significant cultural event and had previously produced Shoutcast programming for another game. In May 2004, Athalus began participating in the original Closed Beta. After several months of becoming familiar with the game, Athalus began WoW Radio's first official stream.
The first two years led to the creation of many succesful shows including Slanik's Vendor Trash, Totalbiscuit's Blue Plz, KikiJiki and Totalbiscuit's EPIC, Emperor's The Emperor's Court, Leto's Ancient of Lore and many others. WoW Radio was an early pioneer of the concept of streaming live commentary while playing video games, a format which has evolved in the following years to include video through platforms such as Twitch and YouTube. WoW Radio was also an earlier pioneer of live recording of podcasts.
In May 2005, a successful meeting between Athalus and Blizzard's representation at the San Diego Comic Con resulted in an invitation to host live video coverage from the floor of the first Blizzcon. Many interviews were held at Blizzcon, including with Grubby, Richard Knaak, Frank Pearce, and Tristan Pope. While successful, the coverage was not without issues. Millions of hits were made against the WoW Radio website, but only a limited number of concurrent viewers could be supported on early internet video streams. These limitations led Blizzard to bring on DirecTV for future video programming at Blizzcon events with their Virtual Ticket.
After serveal months of hosting shows after Blizzcon 2005, Athalus decided to begin a career in Game Development and left the station on the March 18th, 2006 after his final goodbye show. Athalus went on to work as a Game Designer on MMORPGs at Sony Online Entertainment. At that time, Athalus transferred ownership of the station to TotalBiscuit.
With the appointment of Totalbiscuit as Station Owner, Totalbiscuit promoted Slanik to fill the role of station manager. The station began a phase of rapid growth, expaning their show line up to the largest it had been in the past. During this period shows like "The Happy Hour Tavern", "Octale and Hordak vs The World", "The Weekend Report", "The WoW Insider Show", "TurpsterTime", "Playtime with Moiren", "Shadow council" and "Endgame" to name just a few, were created and aired on a weekly basis.
As the station expanded they were producing up to 10 different discussion shows each week as well as community created content, such as the WoW Idol contest which involved community members producing original or parody songs based on World of Warcraft. During this period the station also experimented with hosting shows based on other popular MMORPGs, hosting "At the Side of the Prancing Pony" a show based on the MMO Lord of the Rings Online.
During this period the station managed to secure interviews with many prominant WoW Community Memebrs, creators, and Game Developers including Nihilum, Richard A. Knaak, Rufus Cubed (Terran Gregory & Ezra Ferguson), Death and Taxes, Method, Kungen, Oxhorn, and Mike Morheim
On January 3rd, 2010 the station announced that they would be broadcasting their final shows in the following month. Individual hosts would move on to their own websites, or in groups. Totalbiscuit had since created his own website called The Cynical Brit. "The Donut Shop", "MaxSpeed", "Essence of RP", "But Wait! There’s Lore!" and more was moved to "Original Media for Gamers", or "OMFG". "Octale and Hordak" have created Versus the World Productions, or VtW Productions. Duncor, Speedy40, and Railvas moved to a site they co-founded, Just Cool Enough. Which is now partnered with Alpha Geek Radio, founded by members of WoWRadio's Casual Hardcore.
On January 31, 2010 WoW Radio ended its 5 year live broadcasting with a send off by TotalBiscuit and Athalus, the two owners during the stations run. The host of the shows had split into three new networks.
- TotalBiscuit, and his Gaming the System co-host, SWAG, had gone to TotalBiscuit's new site with Blue Plz and The Game Station , later to be hosted by Polaris named The Co-Optional Podcast.
- Gnomewise created Alpha Geek Radio - an association of independent Internet Radio hosts and Podcasters, dedicated to advancing the cause of Geek Culture.
- Octale, Hordak, Docdead, and Natural20, had joined together to create Versus The World Productions (VTW).
- Octale, Hordak, and Natural20 have since moved on to other projects. Docdead, along with Ken, now produce Show X. Originally this was uploaded to VTWProductions, however now seems to be streamed over Twitch and uploaded to Youtube.
- Duncor, Railvas, and Speedyf40 had come together to create Just Cool Enough (JCE). On 10th October 2018, it was announced that JCE will come to a close by the end of the year after one last show.
- The rest of the shows from WoW Radio, including The Donut Shop (previously known as Happy Hour Tavern), MaxSpeed, But Wait! There's Lore!, and Essence of RP, along with a few old hosts, including Slanik, Turpster, Leto, The Donut Boys, Speedyf40, and WoW Radio founder, Athalus, and new hosts had created OMFG.
- (OMFG, as a podcast and livecast station including all shows under the OMFG label, has ceased to exist. Instead, the URL redirects browsers to the omfgBlondie Youtube channel).
- The Emperor's Court initially joined the above hosts to OMFG, eventually moving to VTW Productions before finally moving to RivalCast Media until the show's hiatus in 2014. In Nov 2015 TEC returned to the airwaves, hosted on Alpha Geek Radio, before another hiatus.
- TotalBiscuit, after moving to his new channel CynicalBrit to Youtube, did a regular series including his renowned shows called 'WTF Is...?', 'Content Patch' and his Hearthstone commentaries. He passed away on May 24, 2018 due to liver failure resulting from terminal bowel cancer.
WoW Radio has conducted a large number of interviews with various persons and organizations of note within the WoW community. The following is a selection.
- Premonition US First Kill of Yogg-Saron + 0.
- The Four Horsemen (Representatives from Nihilum, DnT, Forte and Method in a round-table debate)
- Caydiem (Blizzard Community Manager)
- Myndflame Entertainment (Authors of the hugely successful Zinwrath and Illegal Danish)
- Rufus Cubed (Authors of Return, Terran also worked on the WoW Southpark episode)
- Tristan Pope (Author of Machinima 101, Not another love story, Switchers, now works for Blizzard)
- Oxhorn (Author of a million and one popular machinima including Inventing Swearwords)
- Nihilum (World's #1 guild)
- Death and Taxes (America's self-called #1 guild)
- Curse (Uber-guild and assocites of Curse-Gaming)
- Method (EU Alliance uber-guild, world second Vashj kill)
- Vis Maior (High ranking raid guild, downed numerous Sunwell bosses first on the PTR)
- Fangtooth (Ex-Community manager)
- Brewguy (Winner of WoW Idol 2005)
- Richard A. Knaak (Award-winning author of Warcraft and Diablo novels)
- Cide (Author of the wildly popular CTRaid boss-mod)
- CKKnight (Author of Fubar, Cartographer, a developer of Ace 2)
- Rob Pardo (Vice president of Game-design, Blizzard Entertainment)
- Spiritwolf (Popular comic author and forum personality)
- Ghostwalka (Eminent lore-buff)
- Sean Beeson (Composer)
- Cranius (Creator of the popular Big Blue Dress musical machinima)
- Baka-Savants (Creators of Chronicles of the Annoying Quest)
WoW Radio 24/7
WoW Radio announced that it would be going '24/7' at the start of 2007. In preparation for the project, the station upgraded its streaming facilities significantly, upgrading its quality to 128kb/s Stereo, at 44khz bitrate, whereas previously it broadcasted in 56kb/s 44khz Mono format. WoW Radio's 24/7 project was known to involve scheduled reruns of archived shows, organized into blocks. It was also known that it intends to include several DJ sets, and included a large selection of royalty-free music from such sources as OCRemix.
As of November 2007 the system went into public beta.
This system was successfully launched on December 1st 2007, coupled with a major fix to the website to cope with excessive traffic. As a direct result of this service and the fixes to the site, daily traffic has increased by approximately 90%.
As of December 1st 2007, WoW Radio's servers could handle 10,000 simultaneous live listeners.
- See WoW Radio/Shows for a full list of past WoW Radio shows.
Issues of negativity and past controversy
It has been highlighted on a number of occasions that WoW Radio could be highly negative and critical regarding the World of Warcraft computer game. This in-itself was not necessarily a flaw and helped the station to achieve an independent style in their content, coming across more as fans of the game, rather than a corporate message medium. It had been known however for certain shows (in particular "Blue Plz" and "Epic", both hosted by TotalBiscuit, with "Epic" now having been retired) to have a particularly negative tone in places, both about general gameplay, and Blizzard in particular. It should be noted that many value this particular point of view since there are few fansites willing to openly criticize Blizzard and its policies out of fear of alienating them. WoW Radio had long survived without the aid of Blizzard entertainment and it can only be presumed therefore, has no such qualms. Some would argue that because of this independent stance, WoW Radio was one of the most valuable source for WoW-related media and information online.
WoW Radio has had altercations with Blizzard entertainment in the past, not least after an exposé of their treatment at BlizzCon in 2005. Hosts pointed out specifically the number of roadblocks that had been thrown in the way of their efforts to broadcast the event, despite being invited to do so, and the uneven treatment that they had received in comparison to other organizations attending the event.
Project Golddigger and Chronicles of the Goldfarmer
Later on, WoW Radio came under fire from Blizzard EU for the efforts of "Project Golddigger" and the "Chronicles of the Goldfarmer" movies in which TotalBiscuit was banned from the European forums and retaliated with a viral signature campaign to promote the movies, which spread like wildfire throughout the EU forum community. A large number of WoW Radio fans and staff were banned during this incident. There are varying opinions on the incident: it could be argued that the bans were justified as players were acting in defiance of the community manager's authority. Others point to the opinion that most of these players did not in fact breach the Codes of Conduct of Blizzard Europe's forum community, some going as far as to say that TotalBiscuit himself did not fall afoul of these regulations and that the ban was nothing more than an effort to silence a voice of dissent within the community who was rapidly gaining a following.
What is clear however is that WoW Radio benefited significantly from the publicity of this event, some going as far as to call it a carefully orchestrated publicity stunt by station owner TotalBiscuit. As a result however, WoW Radio can no longer promote on the European forums, with those attempting to do so receiving bans without prior warning or justification. While it is clear that no-one is in possession of the full facts surrounding this debacle, some suggest that there is far more to this incident that meets the eye and go as far as to suggest that someone within Blizzard Europe is holding a grudge.
This problem was only made worse when the EU Forums were spammed with multiple topics per forum advertising the site, against the wishes of WoW Radio themselves who were running a controlled, voluntary realm forum promotional campaign. Whatever Blizzard EU's issues with WoW Radio, no doubt compounded by the person who spammed the forums, resulted in many more 7 day suspensions.
Resolution of the conflict with Blizzard EU
As of fall 2007, station owner TotalBiscuit announced that after talking to community managers from Blizzard Europe, the past issues had been reconciled and WoW Radio had since been supported on the EU forums and community watch segment of the website.
Relaunch of Warcraft Radio
On July 24th 2019, Athalus announced on the 'Countdown to Classic' podcast that Warcraft Radio would be relaunching on August 18th 2019 with many of the original show hosts and team members. As of 15th August, five shows have been confirmed so far;
- Happy Hour Tavern, hosted by Kyle, Dustin and TheErik,
- Cutting Edge, hosted by Kexman
- Vendor Trash, hosted by Slanik,
- You Think You Do But You Don't, hosted by Kexman, Farseer and Dunkirk
- Classic Completionist, hosted by Kikijiki