In 2009, Marco Castro and Marshall Jones were frustrated that Sirius XM removed their favorite channel, “The Movement”, from the satellite radio’s major Dance music platform. Of course, the two friends were not alone on this matter. Many people rushed to House music forums all over the internet to express their outrage. The station was replaced with BPM, a more commercial sound of Dance music. This did not sit well with either of them.
As time passed, Marco and Marshall decided instead of complaining about things, they need to look into a way to start something. Marshall states, “We didn’t know what we were about to embark on. We just knew that we both had friends who were upcoming and some major artist/DJs in the industry. Marco had technical skills and I had marketing skills”. By them joining forces and encouraging some friends to come on board, this led to the birth of DanceGruv Radio.
Through multiple ways of building the infrastructure and testing, the two created something special. During 2009, the technology was not as enhanced as today. The duo and team worked hard when internet radio was still not a strong platform for music consumption. The only ways to stream the station was through Real Audio and Windows Media Player. Nevertheless, they stayed committed and the station started to grow swiftly through the assistance of supporters. Friends helped spread the news on House music forums, social media, and word of mouth.
In 2010, the success of the station started to show. Marco and Marshall decided that they should throw a major party during WMC. “The funny thing was we were trying to see if we could get a venue. Of course, we were shut down with every proposal. So we said screw it and we rented a huge house in North Miami Beach. It was on the international waterway with a yacht dock and all” Marshall stated. “I worked for one of my best friend’s catering company called River City Catering out of Sanford, FL. He assisted me with a huge spread of food and a keg. That way we can feed everyone at the cookout. Big shoutouts to Troy Neeley for that”. The cookout featured DJs from the roster and major artists. Marshall elaborated more about the event, “We had no clue it was going to be as big as it was. It was when I looked around and saw major artists shooting pool while interacting with people like a family, I knew this is something real. At one point, I see a yacht pulling up to our house. It was Nugz, his family, and brother’s friends. They unloaded coolers full of what seemed like the entire ABC store. Music was pumping, the sun was shining, people all around the pool and my friend Sean Valine manned the grill. It definitely showed Marco and me that this is what it is all about with this station.”
As the station grew, DanceGruv Radio never strayed away from being a conscious platform. This was evident in 2011 when Japan suffered a major earthquake. Marco and Marshall decided to create “Relief for Japan”. A 24-hour show featuring major DJs and their roster to raise donations. They featured such major DJs as Black Coffee, Boddhi Sativa, Mario Romay and many more. This special session raised $3000.00 and all funds were sent to those in need in Japan. “This was something unheard of in our community and it was a huge success. We felt that it is only right to help through the power of music. It is the one thing that unifies us all.” Marshall stated.
Later in 2012, Marco’s technology firm took off. Due to the team operating off of the one server owned by Marco, that would put his business in jeopardy with data breach laws. Marco and Marshall decided it was a great run and the station shut down. “I totally understood the circumstances and wanted Marco to be successful in his endeavors. It proved to him and I that our friendship and hard work means a lot to one another”. The team and many supporters were devasted.
As time moved on, Marshall kept hearing whispers from friends and supporters about their memories from the station. Some would refer to the DJs that were on the roster and even about his own radio show entitled The Knight Train. This started to make him think about the advances in the technology of streaming/broadcasting. With research, Marshall started to make a list of what it will take to bring the station back. “I sent Marco and email and asked if he would like to get back in the game with DanceGruv. He said that he is way too busy with family life and work, but gave me full permission to run with it. The only thing he wanted to see is that it makes a major impact upon its return. That was a promise I advised him I would keep and uphold”, Marshall said. This immediately sent Marshall into confiding in Nugz and Michelle Petruolo. Together, they worked hard and realized they have all the tools to bring Frankenstein back to life.
On March 23rd, 2015, the three of their planes took to the sky and the return of the radio station was born. Through the dedication and assistance of their fellow family members and DJs, the station became a hit once again. With the help from Julius The Mad Thinker, Jenn Hurst, Oscar P, and Jessica Pouche, they pushed the station through their signature festivals, Mi Casa Holiday and West Coast Weekender. Through their local communities in NC and the 2 festivals, this helped the team grow into a strong 65 DJ roster it is today. “I knew that with the combination of help from our family in the industry plus our own personal skills, we could make this work. Michelle has always supported Nugz and me when we were resident DJs at Mosaic. She is skilled in knowing quality DJs from the dance floor perspective. Nugz brings the element of business and DJing to the table like me”, Marshall said.
With the station continued growth, DanceGruv Radio is gaining notoriety in the music industry. Representing major and upcoming DJs from 9 different countries, they never stray away from the purity of the music or social conscious issues. Their dedication to their mission is clear. They want to make sure the station becomes the NPR of the real Dance music community. As Marshall simply puts it, “Turn on. Tune in. Let’s go.”