Chicago-born Bobby Tarantino


Revolutionizing the way people used to listen to music, Chicago-born Bobby Tarantino – in coordination with Dave Bernahl – has once again made listening to music a new and exciting experience.

Reaching an estimated 20 million households in selected cities like Chicago, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, New York and many more, TheCoolTV offers a wide spectrum of music to listeners nationwide. Digital and regular TV reception, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Now, with the advent of TheCoolTV mobile app and Cool Connect Group social media platform, Bob and his business partner Dave (the brain trust behind the Cool Connect Group social media plan) hope to make music history.

Bob, how did you pick the cities for your markets? We select a television market that has available digital TV channels. Then we contact the owners of those digital channels in each market and discuss how we can meet the space. Typically, what we like to do (in addition to having a dot 2 or dot 3 digital channel) is put it on cable, like we’re doing in Chicago. We contacted the station group here and developed an agreement. We reached digital channel 13.4 and channel 392 on Comcast, reaching an estimated 20 million homes just on cable. So that’s what we do around the country; we go to individual markets and perform live deals to lease the space on television.

Whose idea was it to have different programming for each city? Well, it’s been in our model since we started in 2008. It’s just the kind of radio format where it feels like it’s local. Even now it’s pretty similar around the country. But of course, at the top of the hour we have IDs and perhaps a regional or local recording that artist’s videos would be peppered in, in selected markets. So you might see a local artist in San Francisco, but you might not see that same artist in Chicago.

Do you have any plans for future expansion beyond the current cities you now have? Absolutely. We’re always looking for markets to expand our coverage. Certainly Texas would be one of them.  Dallas, Austin and  Houston. Along with other markets around the country, whatever makes sense. At one point we were in several other markets and the business model just didn’t pan out perfectly for us. So we removed ourselves from those markets and basically started over with the ones that we thought would be more effective in promoting TheCoolTV, using video channels and the upcoming mobile app.

What is the most popular type of music in Chicago? We’ve only been on the air for a couple of weeks now in Chicago but typically around the country the most popular is the ’80s at 8 (o’clock). It goes back to: The Police, Duran Duran the Go Go’s and the rest of them that were very popular at the time, with the advent of MTV. So anyone that was anybody was making music videos and they’re just iconic. They’re fun and everyone knows the songs because they’re all monster hits. The whole look of the ’80s was just fun to watch with the big hair, big shoulder pads and all that stuff. It’s just a fun hour and it’s certainly the most popular around the country, no doubt.

When did it become a 24-hour format? Very recently. Our programming’s in block programming, so you can go to the site and see the hours – how we change our programming throughout the day. Of course on your program guide on Comcast, when you hit 392 you can surf and look what’s coming up: the 80s at 8, the 90s at 9, et cetera. We’ve got a happy hour: Hard Rock at 10. Also, we pepper in hours of urban hip-hop music throughout the week. We do pop music every day at 5, as well as a soft jazz Sunday brunch on Sundays. We use block programming to really focus on featured music videos and concerts.

Do you have more viewers on digital TV compared to regular TV? Well, typically it depends on the market. But it’s anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of people watching television nowadays are watching on digital broadcasts. You can go to Best Buy now and buy these digital ‘rabbit ears’ so to speak. They’re just a few dollars and you can watch broadcast television (ABC, CBS, Fox, TheCoolTV) all on digital broadcasting. The typical market is about 50 channels, so you can watch local stations but you’re not gonna get ESPN or HBO.

What kind of results do you hope to accomplish with TheCoolTV mobile app? Our focus is clear: to make the mobile app free for everybody. I know that sounds like a broad statement, but when you consider the different channels we’re going to offer, I don’t. When someone gets the free mobile app, and it should be out sometime in May, they’ll be able to click on a certain genre to watch at any given time. That would be the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, hard rock, pop or maybe a comedy channel. Of course, it’s not just the music; it’s the whole package. It’s programmed for you: all you have to do is sit back and listen. You don’t have to pick and choose an artist here and there. They are there for you and it’s already programmed for you. It’s just like listening to the radio but you’ll be watching it. So at this time of day tomorrow at 10 minutes or 5 minutes to 10:00am on a Wednesday, it’ll be different than what you saw at 9:55 today. That’s the way we do it.

I like the way you do it. There’s so much variety, and even when you entertain in your home people enjoy the background music from TheCoolTV. Thanks, Irene. When we were thinking of a name, I had many in front of me. I thought, what would be a cool name for a TV channel? It always came back to ‘Cool.’ So I just said ‘Let’s give it a try,’ and when I went to the trademark people unbelievably it wasn’t taken.

It is unbelievable. It’s kinda like Kleenex. If you ask someone to give you a tissue it’s, ‘Do you have a Kleenex?’ It’s kinda crazy, but we took the name ‘Cool’ and here we are. It’s that simple. Thousands and thousands of people are following us on Facebook already. They ask the same thing: ‘How in the heck did you get that name?’ I guess we were just lucky.

Yes. Luck is always opportunity meeting hard work. It is…

Bob, you have done a fantastic job. I just love watching the videos and I know it’s going to be a huge hit. I’d like to thank you for your time today and all the great information you shared with us  on your new company. Thank you. MTV has gone the way of reality shows and they pepper in a music video here and there, but not on a consistent basis. TheCoolTV is a great mix, and we need help to push this out virally. That’s why we’re going to push out the mobile app to everyone soon. In the meantime here in Chicago, check out Comcast channel 392 or digital 13.4 and enjoy the music videos.


About Irene Michaels

Irene Michaels is a publisher, celebrity insider journalist and former model/actress continuing to expand her ever-growing business with Her website provides readers with exclusive photos, interviews, videos and other content offering a unique Chicago perspective on the glamorous and exciting lives of the stars, social glitterati and the city’s most powerful people, while drawing attention to important causes and exciting events. Her TCW blog, “Powerful Partners,” offers an inside look at the exciting lives of influential men and women, and the talented writer is also involved in many philanthropic endeavors such as PAWS Chicago, De Paul Theater School, Better Boys Foundation, Parkways, Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, Joffrey Circle and Chicago Human Rhythm Project just to mention a few.