RADIO THE WAY IT USED TO BE - Only now it's online
Hello all, hope your week was a good one and hope, like me, you are looking forward to the weekend ahead.
Last week I said I'd touch on our media partners and shows on the station, but I thought i'd start off with the station or platform. The internet is where all broadcast media is headed,. We anticipated this four years ago but getting the right platform to support a global reach back then was not so easy, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of ways to do this, but which medium would be right for what our vision was ?
We were scoffed at in some circles we mixed in for saying we had a ' Vision' for the station, to me if you don't have an end goal you will never achieve anything. Our end goal, or ' vision ', was to reach as many people in as many Countries as we possibly could delivering the message, and the message was the music of the artists whose creations we were passionate about.
There are a lot of people I know who have the same passion, take for instance the media partners we are affiliated to, each one was not chosen at random, but rather after carefully studying what their mission was, and once establishing that we shared the same core values, we established a mutual spreading of the message on a greater scale than we could achieve on our own. We are proud that we not only work together in business, but also that we are all friends in a community that has a global reach. We each compliment the various work we all do in different mediums of print, video, photography, promotions and radio.
Check out the fabulous work that they all do in their various home Countries
Fatea Magazine ( UK )
Music World Media ( Australia )
67 Music ( USA )
The Acoustic Yard Festival & Events ( Ireland )
Randy MacNeil Photography ( Canada )
And in Canada we also have a very close relationship ( More like a family ) with a series of events called ' Four Chords and The Truth ' based in Toronto which was founded by Singer / Songwriter Andrea England and involves Blues and Roots Radio along with Mike Highfield and Bianca Bernardi of Tour Bus Entertainment. The next event for this is in Toronto at The Dakota Tavern on November 23rd, tickets always sell out, the event has been the hottest ticket in the city since 2015.
Choosing a platform to match the global reach we wanted was not easy, we had tried a couple of platforms early on, one here in Canada where production mistakes and huge amounts of downtime meant it was very unreliable, one in the UK where service was good but functionality in managing the station the way we wanted was limited.
Having a knowledgable team at the core of Blues & Roots Radio has always been a huge advantage and our biggest strength, our business partner in Australia, Neil Mitchell, has worked in building communication networks all around the world since the eighties, he now has his own consultancy company in Melbourne, I had worked in the fast moving automotive industry both in the UK and Canada at senior management level in Quality, Manufacturing and systems. Anne Connor for a long time held office management positions for internet start ups and was part of the original MediaLinx, Bell Canada team
So all three of us had a bit of an idea of what we were at and where we should be going.
What Did We Want ?
We had many failures and bad decision making in the first year or so of the company, but we learned and grew, stripping it all back to what we wanted to do.
We knew there were 4 main ways that people enjoyed listening to online radio
We knew we needed to get our audio from A to B without a Million dollar studio.
We knew that conventional ' Big Radio ' companies hated online radio because it was interfering with their opportunities to make money.
We also knew that we needed a platform that was simple to manage and maintain ourselves, we were not IT experts, although over the course of the last four years we have become extremely proficient in programming, website building and social media marketing .
What Did We Know ?
Internet radio is better quality than conventional radio, what do I mean by that ? Well if you drive outside the transmission area of a station, the quality of signal will diminish and eventually you will lose it, with internet radio as long as you have an internet connection, the quality will reman the same.
Transmission is not by ' Air Waves ' but by the internet.
Internet can reach far beyond any conventional broadcast.
What Were The Myths About Online Radio We Discovered Along Our Journey ?
It's expensive To Set Up.... We discovered it is very simple and not at all expensive to set up initially, basically a laptop, a microphone and an internet connection is all you need to get started. If you want to invest more, you can, but initially it is very inexpensive.
Getting in to the radio industry can be tough.... well we discovered that through experience gained in internet radio it can set you up extremely well for radio broadcasting, you learn the set up, the on air presence and in essence you become the station and content manager gaining experience in all aspects of the day to day running.
You need to have a degree in rocket science ... not so if you, like us, find the right platform. You don't need to configure servers or write code.
The Source is the host through a microphone producing the content, the server receiving the information and the end result is the way you can listen.
Ways To Listen ?
Technology is so advanced now that internet radio has become very portable and is creating a very interesting competition with a bigger and bigger threat to conventional radio, the main ways we are used to listening are through a MAC or PC through Windows, but there are ever increasing ways to reach listeners, through iTunes, TuneIn, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, IOS and Android devices, laptops, iPads, Play stations, Nintendo, XBox.
That's not all, people are now listening in their cars, on the bus, on train journeys, while they are walking, jogging, sitting by the pool or at the beach, in the garden and yes, in their homes.
More and more people are purchasing Sonos, Bose or other WiFi speakers and having them installed in their kitchens, bedrooms, basements, bathrooms etc, really any room in the house that has a WiFi signal.
People use these to wake up to in the morning by setting them as alarms.
So with all that in mind we saw a great opportunity to connect with a growing audience around the world that would benefit the artists, the listeners, our media partners and ourselves.
We can access 4 times more devices than offline radio can
We can access them in 194 more Countries than FM radio can.
To reach a large global audience does not happen overnight, it takes a lot of work, Blues & Roots Radio took almost four years to grow from 64 listeners to hundreds of thousands.
We created a niche and found a large audience by playing multi genre content contributed by multiple passionate radio hosts who highlight different scenes from around the world, we compliment this with website content such as album reviews, photography, blogs and we work with media partners who share our passion.
To be able to do all of the above consistently with little or no downtime, creating a worldwide recognizable brand associated with quality content would take a unique platform.
It took Neil a lot of research and trials to finally find something that was beyond our dreams in terms of manageability, quality and uptime, but he found it and when he did it was like a light switch had been turned on and the train momentum that had slowed to a crawl on an uphill struggle suddenly accelerated and now keeps on picking up speed.
We have been using the platform for almost two years now, we have become experts in scheduling, creating playlists, adding content, doing live broadcasts from anywhere in the world, and more significantly being able to control the station from around the world, whether that be on the move or on location.
It is made possible through a cloud management system, maintained by the platform supplier with no maintenance by us, the servers are located around the world and if one goes down in one location another picks up the slack until it's back up and running.
From three different cities - Dundee, Edinburgh and Toronto - via world travels which ended in Melbourne Australia and Mississauga Ontario, we all had acquired the unique skill sets outside of music that came together to produce something we are very proud of, with testimonials coming in weekly from around the world.
There is also an additional element we have that produces amazing ideas, we call it ' Thinking and Drinking ' ... I'll maybe tell you about that next week ... but until then I'll leave you with some music as that's why we do it !!!.