Lately, the Sun in Dorchester has been beaming a lot more strongly, even after midnight.
SunMusic , an internet radio station based in Dorchester Center, is now accessible 24 hours a day on computer, tablet, phone, and Apple and Android mobile apps. Owner Tessil J. Collins, a longtime Dot resident, has dubbed the station “Your Urban Adult Album Alternative.”
SunMusic has actually been around as an on-demand service since the early 2000s, but a recent $10,000 micro-loan from the socially conscious entity Accion USA enabled Collins to stream 24/7 and boost listener interactivity through its website (sun-music.net).
Collins is able to devote himself more fully to the station since recently retiring from a 27-year career as a teacher and administrator in the Boston public schools and at Wheelock College, where he taught communications arts, radio and television production, technology literacy, and English.
According to Collins, his service “features music from new, established and independent performers beyond the narrow playlists of major music outlets.”
The station programs in four rotating blocks: Hip Urban Soul (adult contemporary pop without the hardcore lyrics); That Jazz (which includes World Music); The Sound of the Sun (classic R and B); and Sun Music (mixture of the three foregoing). There’s a fifth Sunday-morning-only block, Inspiration (largely Gospel).
Each month the Sun-Music website reposts SoulTracks’ reviews of newly released CDs. The Sun Music Top 40 Chart lists and playlists invite viewers to purchase new and popular music from iTunes and Amazon.com. Currently these ads and sponsorships fund the station, but Collins hopes to add in-stream ads in the near future.
The website’s news notes currently do not cover Dorchester, Boston or world affairs; they are mostly of the black info-tainment variety.
Collins characterizes the news as appealing to “anyone anywhere.” However, since it’s an internet station with fans listening from as far away as Russia and India, there’s no reason it should have a Boston slant except that a recent Bay State Banner article suggested that SunMusic was the successor of WILD.
Collins, who first developed an interest in radio at Boston Latin, was a weekend deejay on WILD, where he later worked as production director and advertising sales executive.
In June, 2011, Baltimore-based Radio One, which owns WILD 1090, switched its black music and talk format to China Radio International, featuring mostly English-language news, music, language lessons and human interest stories from China live from Beijing. It was the second US station to turn its entire broadcast day schedule over to China’s state-owned radio network. Subsequently, Collins made two attempts to buy the iconic station, but couldn’t secure funding. It was then that Collins realized that he might have more success catering to the black listening community over the internet instead of over the air.
According to webstatsdomain.com, Sun-music.net is ranked 2,252,549 in the world (among the 30 million domains).
Collins shares his Adams Village home with his wife, local arts legend Candelaria Silva-Collins (director of Arts Roxbury and Hibernian Hall in its glory days). She recently blogged this about her spouse:
“I’m very proud of my husband,” she wrote. “I often listen to it on my computer while sending email and using the internet. I find it a great background for working (and I always enjoy my husband intoning, “You’re listening to That Jazz at Sun hyphen music dot net.”)