A detailed history of U2Station.com
In early March of 1997, U2 were on the verge of releasing their first studio album in over four years. At that time, there were only a handful of U2 fansites that excelled in delivering vital information about U2's music while offering a wide variety of U2 multimedia. U2Station.com (then "U2 Station") was created during that time to give fans complete coverage about the band and their impending Popmart Tour. For being one of the earliest U2 fan websites, U2 Station had one goal in mind: to offer U2 fans the complete package and nothing less.
U2Station.com website founder Jonathan Wayne started designing the very first version of "U2 Station" back in late 1996 after dabbling in Web Design for his own personal webpage. He had just graduated from High School and had nothing else to do over one summer than take his old Apple Macintosh (Performa 637CD) computer into his small closet and start tinkering with HTML and a shareware application called GraphicConverter. A loner with a popular name throughout High School, Jonathan found an interest in computers and web design right around the time the Google company was just coming into existence. On March 12, 1997, Jonathan launched U2 Station on his then free Netcom personal webpage service and right off the bat, the site offered everything from news to "MIDI" sound files to a discography and even guitar tabs.
On March 24, 1998, right after U2 concluded their Popmart Tour, John Panaro of U2's Merchandising Team sent a personal email to Jonathan. He asked for advice and insight on setting up an online store and requested a phone call. U2 had yet to create an online website (eventually U2.com went online in the summer of 2000), and back then, U2 fan websites were one step ahead of some bands' non-existing official sites. U2 were late in the game and thus, the U2 fan sites benefited greatly because of this lack of "official online presence".
Back in the early days of the Internet, it was also kind of a big deal whenever fansites garnered "awards" from various online directories. Doras.ie was one example, and it awarded U2 Station a 4 Shamrock rating on December 7, 1999. Another award that Jonathan thought was a big deal at the time was CDNow's "Elite Fleet" 7th place award! Dotmusic, a now defunct website, ranked The U2 Station #110 out of 200 top music sites that same year. Ironically, the font used for U2's Elevation Tour uncannily resembled U2 Station's long used "Gotthard" font also (though it is unknown whether or not U2's design team were influenced by this website).
During U2's Elevation Tour, several college students from Babson College in Boston launched an exclusive radio show in conjunction with U2 Station entitled "Where The Show Has No Name". One highlight included DJ Carter Alan coming onto the show for a live radio interview (this man was responsible for "breaking" U2 into the United States). Afterwards, Mr. Alan stood up in front of the live studio webcam with a large banner that read "U2 Station" and it broadcasted all over the internet world.
Sometime in the Autumn of 2001, VH1 and MTV Networks recognized U2 Station as a semi-finalist in the My VH1 Music Awards "Coolest Fan Website" category. Jonathan Wayne, a college student, was in disbelief such an honor was bestowed upon his website. A few weeks later, U2 Station became one of five finalists for the website award (the other websites that were chosen were those of Bon Jovi, No Doubt, the Dave Matthews Band and the Backstreet Boys). In the final week of November 2001, Jonathan bought a plane ticket and flew out to Los Angeles by himself and stayed with over two dozen Dave Matthews fans in some rich attorney's oceanfront guesthouse in Malibu. His competitors, who also won that same award the year before, embraced Jonathan with open arms and together they all attended the awards show later that weekend. Undoubtedly, Jonathan's unexpected VH1 nomination was a high point in his life (and in the long history of this website).
U2 Station relaunched its website as U2Station.com in the Spring of 2005 with a renewed focus on U2's Vertigo Tour, offering daily setlists and news on the entire tour. It's active forum allowed fans from all over the world to reach out and connect with one another, not only having meetups at U2 concerts but creating friendships with people from all walks of life. U2Station.com's relaunch on May 12, 2009, took over 7 months in the making, with a painstaking revampment of the entire "Tours" section and a massive improvement to the site's own "U2ography" (discography) section. When U2 unveiled their U2 360 Tour later that year, the massive stage (or "Claw") uncannily resembled U2Station.com's official logo.
Jonathan Wayne has maintained U2Station.com since day one and continues to strive for excellence. Jonathan is currently featured in a documentary about U2 fans called "Dream Out Loud" (https://www.dreamoutloudfilm.com), directed by David Barry. Jonathan, a part-time documentary filmmaker himself, enjoys working on new creative projects and websites and considers the U2Station.com website one of his proudest achievements to this day.