By DINITIA SMITH
"Remember, be kind to your mailman," said Jane Harris, a disc jockey.
Then she softened her voice until it was a little insinuating: "He
only wants to deliver the mail."
It is a message that many of her listeners need to hear. Ms. Harris is
a D.J. on DogCatRadio.com, a new Internet radio station for pets. Now
dogs, cats, hamsters and parrots can keep the anxiety, the loneliness,
the restlessness at bay while their owners are out. It is radio just
for them, live 17 hours a day, 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific time, and
podcast for the rest of the 24 hours.
Those who listen to DogCatRadio will find that there is generally an
animal motif to the playlist, like "Hound Dog": "You ain't nothin'
but a hound dogcryin' all the time."
This Elvis song is a frequent request from listeners (presumably the
owners), as are the Baha Men, singing: "Who let the dogs out (woof,
woof, woof, woof)."
And Dionne Warwick is also popular, especially her soothing song
"That's What Friends Are For": "Keep smiling, keep shining,/Knowing
you can always count on me."
Since many pets are apparently bilingual, DogCatRadio also has a
"Spanish Hour," 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time daily, with Hispanic
commentary and music, like Luis Miguel's "No S=E9 T=FA":
DogCatRadio.com was started last June by Adrian Martinez, who is also
president of Marusa records, an independent record label in Los
Angeles. He runs the station out of a customized RV parked in his
office lot in the Eagle Rock section of Los Angeles.
Mr. Martinez, 34, who owns six dogs and two cats, said he founded the
station because "my cat, Snickers, asked me to do it." One day,
Snickers was pacing the floor restlessly and meowing. "I said, 'What
do you want?' " Mr. Martinez recalled in a telephone interview from
Los Angeles. "I turned up the music, and she was fine." He discovered
that Snickers likes 80's rock, particularly the Eddie Money version
of the song "Take Me Home Tonight:" "I feel a hunger /It's a hunger
that tries to keep a man awake at night."
Mr. Martinez added, "I wanted to do something for the pet community."
The first week that DogCatRadio was broadcast, the local CBS
television station showed a feature about it. As a result, so many
people tuned in, 130,000 in one day, that the server crashed, Mr.
Martinez said. "We had to get a bigger server to accommodate more
listeners." Now, he said, "We average close to 8,000 hits a week. We
have a meter that tracks it."