Good day all !
I had a break of a week from writing as I had some important preparations to make and that's what this blog is all about ... exciting times are always just around the corner at Blues & Roots Radio !
The Seed Was Planted Five Years Ago
From the beginnings of Blues & Roots Radio we had four shows, a small seed in the forrest of internet radio stations, none of the shows were live broadcasts, it was always a dream to be able to go out live around the world from here in Port Credit, to do that we would have to build an audience, have the software to enable us to make it happen, and the knowledge to achieve our goals, the problem was we didn't have any of the above.
Build it and they shall come the saying goes, looking back we were pretty fearless, we knew unless we attracted top class shows we would be just another station with a handful of listeners, I was given the task by Neil and Anne ( Co-owners of the station ) to go out and get the best that were out there. We had a few hick ups along the way, one show in the early days I thought was going to be alright turned out to be a nightmare losing more listeners than it gained, the host sounded like Foghorn Leghorn each week, had an ego which was way above his station and it just wasn't working out, he was adding adverts on his show without telling us and I was getting it in the neck to take control and sort it out, not a good start but we moved on along.
There were some very good additions in the first few months of us setting out our stall, one of them was a show from Stockport, Manchester in England called Roots and Fusion, hosted by Rick Stuart. It turned out Rick had a cult following and his show was based on the path we had decided to travel in Canada, showcasing independent artists that most people had never heard of because they were not in the mainstream. Rick it turned out had worked in a record store, was a walking encyclopedia, was a former promoter, all that and he hosted and recorded live sessions along with having a really cool and eclectic radio show.
How much of a fateful choice to bring him on I'll tell you about a bit later.
So with additions like that we were on a roll and a bar was set, one which is always pretty hard to get above, but a great way to guage if a new show will fit with us. I receive many requests a week from radio hosts asking how they can get onto the schedule, the first question I always ask is ' have you heard any of our shows ? '. The correct answer is yes, but more often than not someone has directed the host to us and without listening to what we broadcast the'll assume I want their show. Lets face it, everyone thinks their show is the best, but there are a lot of talented people out there, some amazingly knowledgeable hosts with a wonderful knack of picking tracks, and the ones that always last the test of time on our schedule are the ones who listen to the shows around theirs, I deliberately try and blend shows whose musical mix can overlap, and it's cool to see hosts playing tracks they might have heard on another show, that gives me a thrill as I know I've got that part right.
My job and tasks were set out and I've been on a continuous improvement plan ever since, sometimes we lose a host due to commitments and time constraints or a number of other reasons and we have to fill the gap with a show that is just as good quality or even better if it's possible. It works well and we have received numerous awards from our local community and internationally for our work, very humbling and rewarding.
Neil on the other hand is working continuously to improve our output quality, reliability, uptime and costs, amazingly he came up with the perfect solution for what we do all around the world and I believe there is no better platform out there that has the ability to do what we do. We work closely with a media management company based here in Canada that enables us to have 24 / 7 / 365 capabilities.
Although it's all about the music, there is an awful lot that goes on behind the scenes that allows us to bring our audience a top quality listening experience, with that the audience has grown to what it is today
Neil was the biggest proponent of going live from Canada, Australia or where ever we happened to be. His show was the first to go from Melbourne proving we could do it, we followed that with broadcasts live from Canada with hook ups going live on the same show from Melbourne and Mississauga with live guests, the elation we felt was absolutely amazing ! This year we did live broadcasts from the Port Fairy Festival in Victoria, Australia with guests from Oz and Canada on the show, another milestone was reached, connecting remotely from the tip of the furthest southernly continent and broadcasting that from our HQ in the northern hemisphere to listeners around the world, who would have thunk it !!
So we had spent four years developing the capability, building the audience on the best platform out there and whilst doing so had gained tremendous knowledge of how to do it with no university degrees, college courses in audio engineering, mixing, scheduling, programming, just sheer determination to make it happen and a will to be the best.
Dealing in the early days with community radio stations to syndicate shows from caused some problems. We were dealing with in many instances volunteers and in some cases with music directors who had a low opinion of internet radio, we also had to contend with equipment that was outdated and unreliable at times to record shows that we were to rebroadcast, so we decided we would go the root of converting the schedule to all exclusive Blues & Roots Radio shows, we became self sufficient, in charge of our own quality and more in control of bringing an audience to listen, within a month of adding a second station and BRR Essential becoming our home for BRR shows our website hits and listeners doubled, and continues to rise, we just hit the 1 million visitor mark for the year last month and realized that with the combination of the quality shows, the software to cope with the numbers and the knowledge of how it all works has helped increase the audience, add to that the audience comes to us to listen to the shows that cannot be heard anywhere else, it increases our listeners, the individual shows listeners and most importantly the audience listening to the artists and their creative outputs, that's a huge win all round..... but we are not finished yet !!
Exciting New Directions
I received a message from England about three months ago or more to say that a community station was closing it's doors, there was a potential backer in the frame but it quickly became apparent that things were not good, potentially we were going to lose two fantastic shows, one of them was Roots and Fusion. Rick had been with us for almost four years, was a huge supporter of what we were doing and wanted to talk about his options as potentially the show he had lovingly created, produced and hosted for almost nine years was going to lose it's home and go off air.
He asked the amazing question, ' Do you have the capability to broadcast my show live from England ? ' .... the answer was of course ' yes we do ! '.. we could not have picked a better person to be the first to do this with, with his knowledge of set up and operating live broadcasts from the studio we decided to make it happen.
Through a series of system set ups from Manchester, through Melbourne to here in Mississauga, Canada we tested the live show just last week. and we are delighted to say that Rick Stuart with Roots and Fusion will be Blues and Roots Radio's first ever weekly dedicated LIVE show, and the very first to be broadcast around the world LIVE from the UK. The first show goes out today Wednesday 15th November at 9pm Local time GMT, that's 10pm CET Europe, 4pm EST Canada / USA and 7am AET Australia.
Rick's playlist is spectacular for the first show and we hope you can tune in and be a part of Blues and Roots Radio history.
Can we top that..... yes we can, you know us by now, we are always pushing the boundaries ... there are already plans to go live in the USA and Canada with a couple more shows ... watch this space.
Thanks for reading this and to the team at BRR that never cease to amaze me... I love your heart and passion !
Until next time