Mark Winter, a veteran South Florida broadcast producer and co-founder of Pet Life Radio, in his Fort Lauderdale studio with the late Bailey, one of the family's dogs. (Pet Life Radio/Courtesy / August 18, 2014)
Want to know the latest trends in carpeted cat furniture? What to do about your dog's strange skin rash? If you really can train a rabbit to walk on a leash?
There's probably a show on Pet Life Radio to answer these questions — and just about anything else animal lovers would like to know, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Internet radio network, headed by veteran South Florida music writer and broadcast producer Mark Winter, had just seven programs when he and son Adam Winter, a web designer, co-founded it in 2007. Today, Pet Life Radio has 63 animal-themed shows produced in their Fort Lauderdale studio.
It just goes to show that pet parents can't get enough news about their furry BFFs, the Winters say. "Animals are not like pets anymore, they're part of the family," Mark Winter said.
In October, Pet Life Radio was picked up by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment's iHeartRadio, which is available on computers, mobile devices and in cars, and has 15 million worldwide subscribers. Expanding Pet Life Radio's audience through iHeart has been "really cool," Mark Winter said. "We are getting emails from Singapore, Hawaii and England."
Clear Channel representatives said listeners have been barking for more pet-related content on iHeart. "It's A Doggy Dog World," a Pet Life show focused on behavior and breed traits, ranked among the Top 500 of iHeart's 1,500 shows earlier this year.
Mark Winter said he once worked at "Y-100" (WHY1, FM 100.7) and "Easy 93.1" (WFEZ, FM 93.1). He usually creates the Pet Life shows, then recruits pet experts or celebs as hosts. Among the offerings: "The Doggy Dish" (healthy cooking for Fido), "Paranormal Pets" (spooky critter encounters), "Bark and Swagger" (canine and cat designer duds), and "Groom for Improvement" (makeovers by Ali McLennan, an Animal Planet grooming expert). Cooking show star Rachael Ray and actor Andy Garcia have done guest spots on Pet Life shows.
Winter's wife, Michelle Fern, also runs with the family pack as host of the "Best Bets for Pets" show, which reviews unusual pet products.
Pet Life Radio can be downloaded or streamed live at petliferadio.com. It also can be accessed through iTunes Radio, iHeart Radio, TuneIn Radio and other apps.
Adam Winter, web-designer and co-founder of Pet Life Radio with family dog, Nicky
Michelle Fern, host of "Best Bets for Pets" with Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan and Mark Winter