Gary, IN -- It was no surprise to Karen Williams when The Isley Brothers and Earth, Wind and Fire appeared on the #Verzuz webcast series in April and almost broke the internet. The webcast series which features artist “battling” each other with their music, showcased the two iconic R&B groups facing off by sharing their best hits. The program was so successful that it skyrocketed the classic soul groups back onto the Billboard 100 during April.
Williams said that is why she and her partner Steve Williams (not related) began THE SOUND OF SOUL internet radio station in July 2020. The station features classic soul and R&B of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and more.
"People are craving more of the old school music,” said Williams. “Music used to be fun and comforting. Many people want to hear the love songs and the dance songs they grew up with. And young people are discovering that those samples they hear in music today came from some pretty great songs by some really great artists.”
The 24-hour station just doesn’t stream music. It also provides personalities that feature different genres of classic soul and R&B in the evening hours. .
Williams and Williams created their own LIVE show THE RIDE HOME on the station to also educate the listening audience about the artists, the record labels and little-known facts about the music. Steve Williams, her co-host, is a radio personality that began his career at 16 in Meridian, MS and ended up on one of Chicago's top radio stations in the early 90’s. His knowledge and catalog of classic soul is extensive. She said people love it. What turned out to be a little show they produced just to have fun has turned into a full fledged station.
“We just didn’t want to stream all day," she said of the station, "although we do offer music streaming throughout the week. But anyone can put up a bunch of music and let it run. It takes a lot to do a live show. inform and entertain people as well. We are THE RIDE HOME from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday where we talk and entertain, provide information about the artists, and have lots of fun while playing the best soul music around. You don’t get that kind of programming anymore on radio. It’s truly old school classic,” she said.
Williams said they play the top 40 music along with live and extended versions and re-makes of the classic soul that many people may not have ever heard before.
“For example, did you know that David Ruffin of the Temptations made a solo version of 'I Want You Back' – the classic by the Jackson 5 - before they cut it? When we played that, people lost their minds and couldn’t believe what they were hearing. We also played Isaac Hayes’ 20-minute version of 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix'. No one would play that on radio or streaming today.”
Williams says they also offer other programming throughout the week such as blues, funk, gospel and some Southern Soul.
“We have a great group of talented DJ’s and broadcasters who also provide programming to us that you would never hear if you didn’t know they existed. We run their shows following our show and on the weekends. They also offer the history and back stories of artists. It’s a great mix of talent.
"We know that people who appreciate classic soul will love our sound.”