Webcaster HardcoreJ to Change to J1FM and Will Still Play Jpop

To our Hardcore J and Hardcore ONE listeners:

REC Networks has announced today that its long running and successful Japanese popular music (JPOP) webcast Hardcore J will undergo an image and slight format change. After the change, Hardcore J will be reimaged as J1FM ("J-one FM" or just "J-one") and will continue to operate a JPOP format.

The reimaging is intended to modernize the station and to reach out to more listeners in both the Americas and the Asian-Pacific region. We wanted a name that would be compatible with the media landscape in our primary markets that would stand up to strong names like J-Wave and Nack5.

This change is also to distance ourselves from the "Hardcore" name. While there is a long history of the use of the "Hardcore" name on REC webcasts dating back to the late-90's, we feel that the name has exceeded its useful life. The word "Hardcore" was first used by REC for webcasts with "Powerpuff-Hardcore", a broadband version of "Powerpuff-FM", an REC network that played cartoon music and eventually started to play anime music. Powerpuff-FM eventually emerged into Anime Hardcore Radio which then split into Hardcore 1 (up-tempo), Hardcore 2 (down-tempo) and Hardcore 3 (instrumental). In 2001, REC launched a JPOP network. The decision was made at the time not to call the station "Hardcore 4" as the number 4 (shi) represented "death" in Japanese culture. Ironically, Hardcore J outlived all of the other Anime Hardcore Radio networks. Over the past decade, REC has been fighting with internet service providers and web filtering software vendors over our use of the word "hardcore" for a domain name that is not related to pornography. The change to J1 will eliminate those issues.

We have been slowing introducing the "J1" identity with the introduction of new station features including the J1 Video Channel as well as the use of the j1fm.com domain name in Twitter links. The "J1" logo will consist of the letter "J" inside of a red circle to signify both Japan and REC Networks. The digit "1" will be outside the ball. An optional use of "FM" will also be used in the logo and in on-air presentation. In the logo, the Japanese kanji reads ongaku wa nihon no doki. or "music is motivation for Japan.".

Some of the other changes that will take place with the image change will include:

A narrower playlist. Currently, Hardcore J has over 4,500 songs in the playlist and all of them are eligible for play on weekends. Under the new format, the playlist will focus more on newer tracks from within the past 5 years.
A more upbeat playlist with less of a focus on slow ballads and rap. Songs of this nature will continue to be heard on J1FM but will rotate off the playlist much sooner than other music. In addition to mainstream pop, J1FM will also focus on girlpop, rock and visual kei. J1FM is inviting submissions by independent Japanese artists for airplay. The new J1FM is more likely to play new music that is not on the "new release" lists.
We will be looking at scheduling programming that meets the needs of both our North American and Japan/Asia markets.
We are inviting individuals who produce podcasts related to Asian music (Japanese, Chinese or Korean) or other aspects of Japanese popular culture to have their podcasts played in the J1FM program schedule to increase their exposure and to add variety to the station.
The Hardcore J Top 40 Countdown will become the J1 JPOP Countdown and will continue to be charted weekly. New voice tracks will be recorded for the countdown show.
For listeners on Live365, our bandwidth will be increased to 96K. This will mean a significant improvement in audio quality for our listeners.
Website domains will change to j1fm.com ~ despite the "hcj" branding, the MySpace page URL will not change. We will be changing the Facebook page. There will be some changes on Twitter that will be announced later. hardcorej.com will continue to redirect indefinitely to the new j1fm.com content. We want to make this transition as smooth as possible.

REC also operates an anime music feed called Hardcore ONE, a rebirth of the former Anime Hardcore Radio One station. With the format change, Hardcore ONE will become J2ANIME and will have a logo similar to J1FM.

Please understand that a lot of thought went into this concept as we are looking at ways of shaping the station for the future. Hardcore J remains the #1 Japanese, #3 Asian and #11 International station on Live365 significantly outnumbering our Japanese competition in total listening hours (TLH). I feel that these changes will enhance the listening experience. We will continue to use our social network outreach to connect with all of you. You may always contact me with comments, questions and concerns about Hardcore J/J1FM and HardcoreONE/J2 by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or direct message me on twitter at @michichan.

Barring any delays, the transition is currently expected to take place on July 23, 2009 to coincide with REC Networks' 25-year anniversary on July 20.

I am also announcing that on August 15, J1FM will be in San Francisco for the grand opening of the New People World JPOP Center in Japantown. If you are in Japantown and you see a redhead with a video camera decked out in red plaid, come by and say hi!

To our friends around the world, thank you very much for making Hardcore J a part of your life and I hope you welcome the new J1FM. Thank you for listening.

Michelle "Michi" Eyre
founder, REC Networks

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