Things were taking their toll on me. Work was keeping me busier than ever with complicated (and sometimes bizarre) projects. My web site wasn't getting much attention. To top it off, I was getting tired of the AOL area, and that was only after a few months. Not only was there content in the area that needed to be updated, but message boards had to be monitored, and emails needed to be answered (a lot of them). If I knew there was going to be this much to it, I might have reconsidered their offer. I got a phone call that summer from one of the guys at AOL who noticed that things had kind of gone downhill (to put it mildly) in the area. So, I told him that it was much more than I anticipated. They then went about finding a new maintainer. This left me free to concentrate on my day job, and give my web site a bit more attention than it was getting.
I kept my unofficial Rockline site going. I still liked the show, and the site helped me learn more about HTML and other web-related technologies. Occasionally, I'd get an email from an AOL user about something, and I'd ask them why they didn't use the Rockline area on AOL. Their reply? They liked mine better. That gave me a little incentive to keep things going.
The AOL area closed sometime in 1997, which meant everyone, including the lawyers, was looking at my site again. I improved its appearance, expanded it, created a database of past guests, and added a message board where visitors could trade tapes with each other. Trade being the keyword here, sales were explicitly prohibited (lest someone might violate copyright laws, I was actually quite concerned about that).
Oh, I wasn't kidding about the lawyers. When Rockline was acquired by AMFM, a then-subsidiary of Chancellor Media, I got this email from Howard Gillman, who was still the producer:
There has been quite a lot of conversation about you from Chancellor legal and execs. I think I have successfully convinced them to leave you alone. Your website is terrific. Much better than it used to be. Looks great. If you experience any problems with them, let me know. Hope all is well with you.
Music was changing. Actually, it had been changing ever since Nirvana released "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The show expanded to two nights in January 1999. Monday nights were for current artists, and Wednesday nights for classic rock acts. This made things a little more difficult on me, as I had to keep up with two shows per week instead of one. By this time, I recognized only about half the guest names coming on the Monday show. I was still interested in new music (as I am today) but I had no idea who Mushroomhead, Mudvayne, and Glassjaw were. At some point, I had no local station that carried the Monday show. However, there were people on the Internet willing to pitch in for the nights that I couldn't hear it. In the years 2000 and 2001, I even got a little help from the new staff at Rockline. They had no official site yet, but they would pass on guest lists and affiliate info to me, and I'd post it on the site. The staff, including Bob Coburn, loved the site.
For years, I wondered when Rockline would get around to putting up an official site. In February 2002, I stopped wondering, as that was when their own official web site went online. For the first time, I didn't have to listen to the show to find out who was coming up the following week, I could just... go to their web site. With this new turn of events, was my site still needed? I had things they didn't have, like a message board and a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ). I actually hadn't planned on running my web site this long, as it only started out as an HTML learning tool. Still, visitors continued to come to the site, so I kept it going. In fact, the site morphed from an unofficial site to an authorized fan site.
With the official site in full swing, weekly listening was no longer required just to find out who was coming up the following week. I was also able to skip nights where I had already heard the show, or wasn't keenly interested in the band. That's when I started to think... why am I keeping my site going? I wasn't being as creative as I used to be with it, and I wasn't getting the same enjoyment I used to, either. I felt like I was "phoning it in." Copy/paste. I was ready for something different, but I wasn't sure what it was.