Hello to all
I hope your summer has gone well, and where did that summer actually go !
For me this year there has been so many highlights at venues, festivals and some amazing interviews that I have managed to cover, I really am a blessed man to be in a position to meet and chat with many great artists, radio hosts and people that make the cogs turn like festival directors, publicists, media teams and the list goes on, we are a small but important cog in that wheel in the ever changing landscape that is radio land.
My role has changed a lot since the inception of Blues and Roots Radio and what really got me thinking about the content for this weeks blog was the conversations I had with Ken Wallis last weekend at the Southside Shuffle Blues & BBQ Festival in my hometown of Port Credit, Ontario, Ken hosts the popular show ' Blues Blast ' on BRR and the Hawk FM ( Mohawk College Radio in Hamilton, ON ), he is the former Dean of the media department at Mohawk College and previously he spent many years in TV production and writing. The college has a fantastic reputation for nurturing young artists and students who want to pursue careers in the media.
Ken heaped praise on our achievements and that meant a lot coming from someone of his standing,.
When explaining what we do now at the station it really drove home to me what a monster we have created that seems to snowball from one thing to the next, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not, the core team we have are extremely good at changing direction very quickly and communicating to each other regularly, we have complete trust in each others abilities and decision making that it sometimes seems that the train drives itself.
When analyzing that statement I realize that the trust has been earned over four years of working together, riding the storms through the ups and downs of what we were trying to achieve. We have met some very good people along the way, we have also met some not so nice people who at certain points have tried to derail the train, but that made the team we have now more determined and stronger winging us way above what we even thought could be achieved. Have you ever been in a situation when someone says when you offer them help ' That will never happen ', that is where our journey began.
Blues and Roots Radio was sitting with 4 radio shows when we started with nobody listening,, we quickly increased shows within the first two months to about 20 with a lot of hard work and persuading people to come on board., We leased the station back then and were extremely green and gullible .We hired a studio and producer because we all had day jobs, but were never allowed to schedule shows ourselves on the system, red flags straight away. Commercials would appear on the station without our knowledge and a whole bunch of other situations, we even had radio hosts refusing to say ' you are listening to Blues and Roots Radio ' on a platform we paid for and provided free of charge to the hosts, they made it seem that it was our privilege to have them. When one day I was in the studio and saw the producer saying that he had too many shows to schedule and it would cost more money I offered to help and was told ' That will never happen '
When I thought about it on the way home I came to the conclusion that I just might be in the process of being taken for a mug, and decided from that point forward that we would be in control of the destiny of what I saw as potentially the worlds best online radio station. We decided to offer to buy the station, the offer was accepted and we have never looked back.
My late Father always told me that it was important to be in control of your own destiny, a valuable lesson, and completely true in my experience, there is no one that can carry forward your vision for the future except yourself, if you involve too many people they all have their own ideas and will try and change your course, that might be good for some ideas but in the long run in takes away the focus of the final destination.
This is true in all walks of life, from music to business to sport, just look at the top athletes and the amount of training they put in and their complete dedication and focus on the end result, if you want to succeed at anything, focus is the key.
Having a great team and trusting that team is also a major factor, I have been very lucky that my wife has been a rock throughout and contributes amazingly to the content we have and also to our business partner Neil in Australia who can finish my sentences before I can, and likewise me his, we have complete trust in each others judgement and core values and we know that whatever happens we will all muck in and make it happen. Our history in business has helped a great deal coming from corporate backgrounds but also being musicians and knowing the needs of independent artists makes a huge difference.
Too many times I have seen radio hosts acting as though the show they have and they themselves are the most important thing in the universe instead of the station and shows being the deliverer of the message that is the music and the artists that create it. We don't have radio hosts like that on the station anymore, everyone that is part of the BRR team we can honestly say are genuinely nice people with the same passion for the music and artists that create it and that is why I think we have become so successful across the world, we have gained the trust of the artists to deliver their message and the trust of the listeners that we will consistently give them great, honest content.
We receive many testimonials for the work we do on behalf of artists and I have included one here as an example of the way our vision for the station matches that of the perception by one of the most respected artists in Toronto and beyond, who has become a dear friend over the course of this journey.
" Blues & Roots Radio's tag line is " The Voice of the Artist, " and the station is true to its promise. In a world where the medium has more often than not sought to eclipse the message, the team make it their business to ensure that both the message of music and its messengers arrive safe and sound in homes around the world. This is a radio station run by folks with enthusiasm, generosity, determination, good humour, and - above all - integrity. In short, they're in it for the long haul, and for the right reasons " - Andrea England
More testimonials can be found here
In thinking back on all of the above and having gone through changes since the inception of the station it has been a proving ground for us, a very valuable one, maintaining the core values and mission statement is paramount to our success, along with the organizations we partner with who share our values, Fatea Magazine, Music Wold Media, 67 Music, The Acosutic Yard Festival, Randy MacNeil Photography and Four Chords and The Truth, all of these organizations are run by passionate and genuine people.
Stepping outside the fish bowl and being able to look in is a much greater place to be than inside the fish bowl looking out. You quickly discover there is a whole new world out there to explore and you will not be swimming around in circles looking at the same ornamental castles you have been building
I have gone from keeping down a day job, hosting a show and scheduling a handful of radio shows for one Blues & Roots Radio station, to now spending all day working on the service platform, website content, scheduling over 60 shows on two stations, liaising with a whole team of writers, bloggers, radio hosts, artists, publicists, festivals, venues and the energy it gives to work with like minded passionate people is completely fantastic and a drive in itself. We offer reviews, photography, blogs and radio shows from around the world but we never forget it's about the artists and their music wherever that may be in the world.
All of this because someone once said ' That will never happen '
what would the outcome have been if they had said thank you and accepted the offer, we will never know the answer to that.
I'll share with you next week what happens when you do accept genuine peoples help when they offer it, something that completely revolutionized Blues & Roots Radio just when we thought we were at the final destination and should pull over for a rest.
Have a safe week ahead, and if someone say's it can't be done, it's only their opinion, where there is a will there is a way. If you are prepared to put in the grunt work, keep focused and determined, anything is possible, trust me !