Music, Rotation, Additions, etc.. running a Radio Station Playlist and Rotation

In this age of internet radio and corporate radio for AM FM and Satellite, the idea of music rotation is to me a lost art.  To run a radio station you don’t just throw 100 songs on and play whatever whenever.  This actually may be the case with some of the internet stations, but that’s okay for them.  Your typical FM station now has their music all programmed by a service.  Many stations use a preset format, like Virgin Radio, Jack FM, Froggy etc.  These stations for the most part are all playing the same music.  By that I mean if you turn on a Virgin Radio station in one city and then another city you will find they are playing the exact same music.  In some cases, with corporate giants like IHeart Radio, you can hear the same DJ’s or shows on multiple stations.  There was a report at one time that one announcer was being used on over 600 different stations.  That in itself isn’t a factor in the music programming, but, if a station doesn’t use their own people on air, they aren’t going to program their own music.

These formats are very tightly controlled and there is indeed a lot of payoffs going on to get music played and heard.  Most will deny this kind of thing, but the bottom line is that it is the truth.  For an unknown artist to get on some of these stations it is virtually impossible.  The ability for new and independent artists to get their music played and discovered has always been difficult, but on Terrestrial Radio or Mainstream Radio, whichever you wish to call it, the odds are against them even more so no.   Satellite radio really is not a factor in this discussion because to be blunt, Satellite radio has become an IPod or MP3 player in the sky.  Most channels you listen to repeat every 6 hours, so if you listen all day you will hear the same stuff 4 times.  Boring!

We get to internet radio, and most people think they can just start a station and play what they want.  It isn’t quite that easy, and the politicians and music industry in general worldwide has made it incredibly difficult for online stations to operate.  There are rules and guidelines that don’t exit in Mainstream radio, not to mention the usual licensing fees that go along with broadcasting music.  You didn’t know it cost money to broadcast?  I won’t even begin to get into the actual dollars involved, but if you are going to operate legally, because every country has different licensing companies and rules, for each country you broadcast into you have to pay for the right to do so.  In some countries there are even multiple companies that represent different artists so you are paying all of them.  Now the independent artists don’t fall into this class because as they are called, they are independent.  This explains why so many online stations play nothing but independent music.  There are no royalty fees to be paid so you can operate a considerable amount cheaper than those, like myself that play mainstream music.

When I decided to do a mix of mainstream and Indie music it was done with careful consideration and a great deal of time was spent developing the clock or rotation order that I use on KB Radio.  This is also going to be used, with some variation on KB Country Radio as it continues to grow.  In the beginning when it was just 3 hour podcasts it wasn’t a factor at all, but when I went to 24 hrs live streaming, the number of songs played every day grew 10 fold.  So let me throw some numbers at you, and show the development of my rotation.

The station plays approximately 350 songs per day, give or take, which works out to over 2500 a week.  It would be simple to just take 2500 songs and let each one play once than start it all over again next week.  But as a listener, you want to hear specific songs sometimes, and others not so often.  I also had to factor in that with the streaming service I use, that there needs to be some allotment for commercial time, and while you may not hear any, at specific times during the hour, other countries are actually hearing commercials.  The mainstream music i have selected and you hear daily is not divided in any way.  I have options to separate songs based on years, speed, type etc but I was fortunate to discover that most of the songs I program in that category work well with each other.  Will you hear some odd mixes from time to time, Ozzy Osbourne into a Simon & Garfunkel tune.  Sure, it happens, not very often and when I program the list I check it often daily when possible to look for mismatches.  That may not be as efficient as setting up the parameters before I establish the playing order, but I believe music is fluid.  Timing can change things and you just never know what will happen, so as hard as you try to avoid certain circumstances, it’s not always possible.  These mainstream tunes are also changed up to some degree from time to time.  A recommendation from a listener for another song and things like that will add to the list, and at some point you can have too many songs in that group so some have to come out.

When it comes to the Indie music it has been an issue that is always changing and in many ways becoming more difficult.  Here is the problem, KB Radio has gotten too popular,.   LOL  I know that sounds like a stupid thing to say, but let me expand on that radical comment.  When we signed on to 24 hrs we did not have the same number of Indie artists on our playlist.  As such at that time the rotation was very different and many of the artists were getting their music played 4 to 5 times a week.  Some would have 2 tracks playing as well, so they were getting a lot of airplay.  As the station grew and more artists learned about what we were doing musically more and more music was sent to be considered for airplay on KB Radio.  My goal all along was to be as consistent as possible with the sound of the station.  With this in mind, and my lack of interest in all ways in Rap music it was immediately dismissed as being played at all on KB.  Thrash metal or over the top stuff is also on the general no play list.  As such with the number of artists and amount of new music being sent, I had to develop the system I am now using.

There are basically 4 kinds of Indie Music for me at KB Radio.  I say me, even though I have recently taken on help with programming etc,it was entirely me who developed this system, so if people get pissed off about any part of it, blame me alone.  LOL,    So there are 4 kinds of music, the first is the music that is perfect for KB and the sound we are going after.  These songs get a higher rotation, not nearly the same as what Indie artists used to get, but a lot more are getting heard at the same time.  The music in the group will get played 3 to 4 times a week, or about 7 times every two weeks.  This could be any time of day or night.  This group also you should know has to be limited.  To achieve this kind of rotation it has to be capped at a maximum number of songs, within 4 or 5 usually.   The second group is larger but this group will only play once per week in comparison.  These songs could be here for any number of reasons.  They may have been in the higher rotation and are working their way out of the playlist.  They could be on the fringe of the KB Radio sound but we still want to give air time.  Lets be real here and remind everybody that a lot of Indie Music is self-produced, and some of that quality can be a bit lower, and as such a good song may lack the quality to get on the air more often.  This group again is capped at a maximum number of songs in the lineup.

We get to the third group of songs and that is music, we give a play or spin to on our Indie music show, but from there is not in the rotation, and may get played again in a future Indie Show.  At one point this group was also drawn from by another Indie Music show that is no longer in production, so unfortunately they will get played very seldom.  The final group is of course the music that is just not going to get played.  It may not fit the format, or in a moment of total brutal honesty may be so bad I just can’t subject my listeners to it.  That however is a subjective statement and just my and now Veronica’s opinion.  But we strive to pick songs that will appeal to our listeners.  Yoko Ono has a ton of fans and continues to make music, for reasons I will never understand.  But someone likes it so that’s good for her.  That is why I will never tell someone that I don’t like their music.   I know another Indie Music station that the wannabe Music Director actually emails artists to tell them they have no talent and should stop trying.  Somewhere there is a lightning bolt with their name on it for being so F’ing arrogant.

So each week  we go through the music that has been sent and figure out where to place it.  Now if it’s placed in high rotation, than one has to come out of that category.  If we add 10 into that group 10 come out.  As I stated some go into the lower rotation and others right out, but again if they go into the light rotation, and I am adding to that with new music as well, basically one for one, each song added another comes out.  Deciding which song comes out can be extremely difficult for me because i talk with so many of these artists.  I worry about feelings being hurt, or people getting the wrong impression about why or how these things happen.  Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, and honestly has only happened once and that was just this last week.  I was both insulted and pissed off about this artists reaction and questioning of my actions.  The person inside of me said, “really, what the hell is this shit?”  The diplomat in me explained politely the entire process and provided some documented information as well.

So that was part of the reason for writing his blog, but also because as we continue to grow these same decision-making processes are going to get tougher.  The last terrestrial radio station I worked in, I was also music director there, and every week we had similar meetings.  At the end of those, there was no communication to tell an artist we weren’t playing their music.  We usually added 1 or 2 tunes a week, and the rest sometimes more than 100 were set aside and basically forgotten.  No bonus spins to give airplay, no lighter rotation, to keep music in the mix.  The music business has always been an incredibly tough industry to make a living in, be it an artist, radio or broadcast related or producers and others.  It will only get tougher, so if you don’t have the strength to deal with rejection you are in the wrong business.

I will finish with a couple of stats that I am proud of and am very happy to share.

  1. Since going 24 hrs I have played more than 800 different Indie artists introducing their music to listeners in a professional manner.
  2. With the rotation I use I believe it contributes to the familiarity of Independent music with listeners to KB Radio.  As such apart from specialty shows like the 70’s and 80’s, Indie music is the most requested music at a rate of 9 to 1.  For every 10 requests I get 9 are for Indie tunes and 1 for mainstream.
  3. We don’t charge for airplay.  We don’t even lay out rules for how to send your music to KB.  Some stations have long forms to fill out, and you have to meet certain criteria of which if you don’t cross your T’s and dotted your I’s, they will simply delete your email.
  4. We try to respond to every single email we get in some fashion.  I would say we are 99% successful and I am proud of this as well.
  5. We treat everyone the same whenever possible.  Have we dealt with jerks or assholes?  Absolutely.  Some prima donna’s whose head’s are so full of shit whenever they open their mouth it pours out.  Yes Army people, some of you are on that list.   Always remember, I don’t need you.  I don’t say that with any arrogance.  I work my ass off to promote Indie Music and artists, but you come at us with crap, that 4 minute spot your song would have been in can easily be filled with someone else’s music.  They don’t need to do anything to get that, other than to treat me with the same level of respect they would like.

I digressed a bit there in the end, but now that you understand the process etc, you also learned that I am basically a no-nonsense person.  I have fun, as much as I absolutely can and give 100% to do what I do.  FYI and not that it matters, but I don’t make a dime doing this, work probably 80 or more hours a week, and wouldn’t have it any other way.  Comments are always welcome, and if you are an artist that is interested in your play times etc, I have everything logged from the first time we fired this station up.  I can tell you every song and when it was played, so if you need some information or would like some information, please just ask.  I will help if I can.

Cheers

Al Yardy

Advertisements

Indie music promotion

     Over the past few weeks I watched with dismay and fascination as a number of things around me, being KB Radio and myself personally, developed and became more apparent to me.   One side of this began a few weeks ago with a conversation I had with two artists, Patrick (Ghostly Beard) and Erin (Erin at Eleven)  Patrick had a vision of indie artists working together more and more, not looking at the music industry as a competition between artists trying to succeed, but an opportunity to work with others in a way that mutually supports and promotes all.  It is a lofty goal but as it turns out from someone who has a drive and a spirit like so few others I have watched him quickly build many connections and quickly grow his network of contacts in and around the music industry.

There is both a simplicity and an elegance to this idea and to see the positive effects that come from these contacts materialize so quickly is very satisfying. To see this kind of action and activity with no ulterior motives from someone is very refreshing to say the least.

I was involved with a group and an individual up until a few weeks ago when some information came to light and I felt I had to step back and away from that situation.  I am not about to name the group etc, though I have not gone back to delete all the history so if you really want to know you can find out.  The idea was that a number of stations provided their Top 10 Indie song lists each week to this group and from their they would be used to compile a Top 40 list.  What a fantastic idea; as a station operator I could look at other stations lists and the Top 40 to possibly get leads on other great talent out there that I hadn’t been introduced to yet.  This wasn’t entirely possible I discovered because none of the stations lists were posted as a group for everyone to see.  The website showed a couple of examples from the past only, and although had a section to register and be a part, it never worked and was told it was not needed by the site owner and operator.

I was getting music suggested from the same person who coordinated all the lists and put together the Top 40 and one day it was pointed out to me that he had his own music promotion company.  The way he operates and what he offers, I find offensive and it truly pisses me off, but he’s entitled to rip off anybody who is foolish enough to pay him money.  What really bothered me was that on his Top 40 list the first week I looked, more than 33%, 14 of the 40 songs, were all the artists that supposedly represents.  I could go on about this issue but it’s not important.  What is important to the entire issue is negative side of the music industry.  Here is an individual who is only in it for the money.  There is absolutely no way it is anything more than a way to take money from Indie Artists and give the positive news, that is entirely fictional based on his creation only.

This does nothing positive for anybody.  Apart from taking money from people who usually are not making very much to begin with, it also leaves them questioning the ethics of everyone in the industry.  There are good people working very hard for nothing more than the love of music.  How do you find these people is the first question?  If you are someone who can chat it up a bit, than start connecting with other artists.  Start talking to stations that are playing indie music.  Most of all start keeping track of things.  If stations tell you that you have to pay to play, tell them to FO.  Keep your money.  There are a lot of stations getting out to large numbers of listeners that aren’t playing games with artists. 

Patrick’s idea I am sure is not new or unique.  The part that is different is artists talking to artists, and why not.  Who knows who you may end up connected with or the type of things you could learn or share yourself with the other person.  Everyone has good and bad experiences, so why not share them.  Someone told me the line that often the people you see on your way up with your success are the same ones you pass on your way down.  The independent music scene is alive and thriving and bursting at the seams with talent and great music for everyone.

Here are links to the two individuals, Patrick and Erin that I started with.  Check out both of their sites.  They both have not only set up to promote their own music, but they are sharing music from other artists that they have heard.  Both of their writing styles as well is incredible and take a minute or two to read their blogs.

 

https://ghostlybeard.com/music

https://erinateleven.bandzoogle.com/

Like so many things you have the ultimate control over your music.  That control may not mean you are going to hit number 1 on Billboards Hot 100, but you can control the kind of people you associate with and work with in promoting your product.  If you have this choice, why align yourself with people who are only working for themselves and not for your interests?

In a bit of a self promotion sense, KB Radio has no prerequisites about submitting music, to either station.  The country station is looking for Country Music, and KB is looking for POP/Rock/ types of music.  My suggestion is to listen to the station if you are considering submitting music.  We don’t play Rap, so don’t send it, but if you listen and think your music will work, send it to us for both stations to   live@kbradio.ca  

I also now have help with the operation of both stations, and Veronica Phillips who joined the operation just a couple weeks ago is as interested and excited about music as I am.  If you have questions of any kind, you can also email either of us.  Our job is to play a combination of great music and work within the music industry.  We don’t know everything, but are always happy to share what we do.

Email either of us

Al Yardy  kbradio@rogers.com

Veronica Phillips    kbcountryradio@gmail.com

Buying followers or traffic?

I am not going to be writing a long blog, and it probably will come off as more of a rant than anything else, but I am tired of the endless stream of assholes trying to sell followers or traffic to my website, twitter account, etc etc.  The latest one today, from http://www.basedbusinesstraffic.com right away shows just how illegitimate these operators are and what a waste their offers will be.  I get an email to one of my radio accounts, the request account, which of course is an account that only gets emails, never sends.   I know of course i would never register for a site like this because I despise parasites, but at the bottom of the email it says, to unsubscribe, click the link to our site and  unsubscribe is in the footer.  My first question is why the hell should I have to go to a website I never subscribed too.  the only reason of course is every click shows more traffic to their site, no matter if its to unsubscribe or actually look into throwing your money away on their shitty product.  I get there on my tablet, and unsubscribe doesnt come up on the mobile site, so I click chat, and ask how to unsubscribe from something I didnt subscribe to.  The wonderful customer service on top of their crappy site, sends me a link to unsubscribe, but before I can click that link, closes the chat, and the conversation and link disappears.  So guess what to get my name off their stupid mailing list I of course could just mark as spam, but now I am really pissed off so of course have to return to their site one more time, on my pc and there is the unsubscribe link.

No they aren’t offering their fortune because they are a Saudi prince who has been kicked out of the kingdom, or have hijacked your pc until you pay a ransom.  But at least with thieves like those, you know they are thieves.  These people hide behind sites, with bogus names, and garbage ideas, going after people who usually can’t afford to be wasting money on crap like this.  So I promised them some press, and not all press is good, and I will continue to talk about them on air.  If you want to go and use their service, be my guest, but I would encourage one person to just go and mention in a comment this blog, to let them know, I am getting their message out.

Whew, oh and I did move them to spam too.

al

Submitting music to Radio Stations

It has been much too long since I took the time to write, and being so damn busy isn’t a good enough reason.  With that said, a subject that has been bothering me for some time and I believe has been looked at previously is the entire process for new artists to submit music to Radio.  I will not speak for anyone else in this process, but only say that this is in many ways the same as it has been for 30 years now, which is when I first got into the Radio Business.   I would like to focus on some of the things you especially shouldn’t do.

let me begin by telling you that an artist or anyone for that matter starting out in a business needs to take care of things themselves.  What does that mean exactly?  It means stay away from the automatic services that respond to Direct Messages and such.

Are you really that busy that you can’t look through messages you have received?  Please don’t waste my time or your own with excuses about how busy you are.  I operate a 24 hour radio station and I answer ever DM, every email and every notification on social media, be it Twitter Facebook or where ever.  It takes seconds, and is not some bogus automated answer that when ever I get I know every single person who follows you gets.  let me clarify one thing though, I don’t answer the stupid ones, the marketing messages that I have received  without asking for.

So lets expand on this premise a little bit further.  When you are a new artist and you follow a Radio Station, don’t expect them to go to your site or links and look up your music on our own.  We are already getting many requests to listen to music with legitimate emails.  I will expand on that thought momentarily.  Everyone’s concern is time it seems, and I am no different.  If you follow a station it is greatly appreciated, and generally I am interested in hearing your music.  But I don’t want to have to go to one link after another, try to find the music, which in some cases is incredibly difficult, than try and determine which is the music you want to promote.  Here is a very simple process, for professionally run stations.  Send an email.  But as simple as that is, some people still screw this process up.

I am not trying to sound like an ass, but please give your head a shake if you think to yourself, I have the best song ever, and the world will come looking for me.  I don’t need a long detailed email but some information is extremely helpful.  Many bands have an info page about themselves that can be an easy attachment with the email.  As much as I am not a fan of just getting emails with links to places like Soundcloud or Spotify, I will follow those links to listen to a song.  But think about this, if I listen to your tune, and like it, I than have to email you and ask for a copy that I can air.  That is just adding wasted steps and time to the process.

Here is a near perfect email example.  Include a bio attachment or a bit of information in the text of the email.  Say hi and introduce yourself.  It doesn’t have to be long, and even just a simple, hi my name is “whatever” with the band “whoever” and we would be interested in you listening to our music to see if it fits with your stations format.

Here is what NOT to do, and all of these have happened in my inbox:

Do not just send an email, with the subject “hello” or something like this, no text, no information, and the only thing is a song attachment.  Worse than this, I have had some song attachments that don’t even have a name on them.  My honest response is, “WTF”?   I will never understand a person who believes that an email like that will even get looked at.

Do not send an email with links to music that are dead.  Yes it has happened where links to sites with tunes are no longer valid, drop box links are dead, and I had one who had dead links, because they had changed the name of the band, but apparently didn’t think that was relevant enough to tell me or change the link addresses.

Do not send me links and expect me to buy the music.  Trust me, I wish I could, but that just isn’t how its done.  Radio stations, legitimate ones, podcasts, legitimate ones, all pay licensing fees for the rights to air music.  I know, its only 99 cents you say,  but 150 new songs a week times 52 weeks, that would add over $8000 minimum a year in expenses.  It isn’t arrogance, it just isnt feasible for any station.

If the station or podcast tells you that you have to pay to get your music played, tell them to bugger off!  Don’t waste your money.  There are many stories of FM stations even that have started using this kind of system, but they need to be shut down.  Payola is still illegal as far as I know, and let’s be honest.  Unless they are guaranteeing you a huge number of listeners and airplay it will never be worth it to you.

Take a few minutes, listen to a station you want to send music too.  I actually have other radio stations send me music to consider.  That would be wonderful except even they don’t know how to do a tiny bit of research.  If you listen to my station or read any of the links, it states, we do not play rap.  If you listen you will hear a very distinctive sound and music format.  Once again I cant help but wonder why you would want to waste your own time and mine if there is 0 chance of a station playing your music.

If you use your time wisely, and effectively in anything it is always more beneficial.   if you are looking for a quick solution,  than you are in the wrong business.  The music industry is brutal and takes a lot of work and effort.  If someone treats you poorly in this business, than forget about them.  The internet has provided a lot of opportunities for anybody to start their own form of streaming radio or podcast.  Don’t be fooled by people who make big claims.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.  I don’t know everything, and have never claimed to, but I will share what I do know with those who are interested or have questions.  I will treat you and in the same manner you treat me.   Mutual respect is an amazing concept, and when used, the benefits can be outstanding.

 

How do you define success in the music world.

The question of the day is how to define success.  There is no clear definition, because it comes down to an individuals goals and what they are tying to achieve.  There is a Garth Brooks song called Fish.  If you aren’t familiar with the song, it is a story.  A business man sees a man fishing every day.  One day he strikes up a conversation and says to the man, you know if you sold those fish you caught, you could save your money and buy a boat.  From there you can work to get a bigger boat and a crew and staff and be in charge of an entire fleet.  He than says and when you reach that point you can do anything you want…. and the man says  “you mean fish?”

He didn’t have to work his ass off to achieve what he wanted.  While someone else would not see that as a success until they had followed the other path.  In the end the outcome is the same, and lets assume both are happy.

So as a musician what are you looking to achieve.  I can imagine that most would say that would love to see their music on the charts and maybe even a number 1 song.  But that may not be success to them.

At this point we come back to defining success.  if you check social media there are thousands of songs out for a cause or a specific reason.  Unless you listen on social media, you will likely never hear most of them.  Is success the number of hits or plays your song got on You Tube, Spotify etc. There is no magic formula for getting a hit record, if that’s what the goal is, it often comes down to luck.  Everyone has heard different stories about how someone was discovered.  In 1982 a Canadian band called Sheriff released a song called When I’m With You.  It was a top 10 hit in Canada in 1983, and barely drew any interest in the United States that same year.  We jump forward to the year 1989 and a DJ in a radio station looking through music to play, finds this song, and  plays it on his show.  They start to get requests, and thing explode from there.  The song goes on to hit number 1 in the US. This was also 4 years after the band Sheriff had actually broken up.  So what was the difference in 1989 and 1982.  Absolutely nothing was different and that is part of the point.  If not for a set of circumstances the song would have been considered a national hit only and the band probably rated as moderately successful.  Of course to the guys in the band, they were probably thrilled with a top 10 song.

There are many musicians who don’t care or dream about having hit records.  They want to perform and entertain.  Their idea of success is playing to a crowd and hearing the applause.  When you are up on stage and you can see that your audience is into your music.  If that’s what makes someone happy there is nothing wrong with that.  Just remember the old adage, you have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run.  Ask yourself, if I am up their playing night after night without ever getting on the charts will I be happy or see myself as some kind of failure.  If it is the latter, run away now and run away fast.  Go work in a factory and strum your guitar when you sit around the campfire.

That may sound harsh, and like you would be giving up without trying, but to reach the levels of some superstars, will take more work than you can imagine, and again, a lot of luck. Does your music come from deep inside you or as many would say, from the soul.  It is a way musicians express themselves that some can’t put into words otherwise.  Maybe not about them personally, but about life in general, events around them or around the world.  How many songs do you know the history , and what inspired a particular song.  How many songs do you know, but have no clue what inspired them.  Maybe as a listener that isn’t important, but as the entertainer, it can be everything.

If you want to be commercially successful I can offer some pointers, on some of the things that need to be done.  Plus some things you may not know about what goes into a radio station and why those goals are going to be so difficult.  I would suggest a book I read many years ago called, The Worlds Greatest Salesman”.  I have no part in this book, but I found over the last 25 years it has proven incredibly helpful many times.  The book is a true story by the worlds greatest car salesman.  You may be rolling your eyes right now, but his ideas work so well and can be used in many different avenues of life.  The book was written before social media, but what you can do, using his ideas and tactics these days is incredible, and I use them myself.  I took a small podcast from 0 to more than 12,000 listeners in 11 months.  No ego here, but I must be doing something right.

One of the biggest keys is people aren’t going to come to you.  Some may, but if you want to have commercial success but as cold as it sounds, you need more than Joe average listening to your music.  You need the music played where others can hear it.  With internet radio so widely available, it is more than just your traditional AM and FM stations to deal with.  There are thousands and thousands of stations.  Start by eliminating all that don’t play your type of music.  Check to see if any of the internet stations are based out of cities close to you.  Start with local and work your way out.  Use email or social media to message these stations and point-blank ask if you can send them a couple of songs for consideration.  If you don’t get a response, cross them off your list.  This is what happens the other direction.  If someone is interested in playing your music and you don’t bother to respond to messages, those people will not bother with you or your music.

It doesn’t come down to kissing anyones ass.  It’s a term that is a bit older and not practiced much anymore.  Courtesy.  If someone sends a question you don’t have to write a novel to them.  A quick short response will go a long way.   Set aside time every day or every other day to do nothing but go through messages.  Lets face it, you aren’t a superstar yet getting thousands of messages every day.  This is one of the biggest mistakes entertainers, business and so many people make.  Slow response or no response.  If someone send you a message telling you how much they like your music, a quick thank you, I appreciate the support is all you need.  You now have a fan locked in.  They will talk about you responding.  If its social media, they will share it likely, exposing you to more people.  If you don’t respond.  That chain is broken and goes no further.

When it comes to the radio stations, the better known or popular ones are getting huge numbers of songs sent to them daily.  I have discussed before that process, but it is a time-consuming process going through music.  It often comes down to listening to the first 10 or 15 seconds of a song.  I personally cringe when a song starts, and you hear the same few bars of music, repeated, and repeated and repeated.  it lends nothing to the song, and by the time it hits the 4th repeat without getting to the lyrics, its off, and I am on to the next song in the pile.  Radio stations don’t have the man power to have one person who does nothing but go through new music.  In fact with so many stations using a music service or running a preset music lineup, one person is effectively picking the music for hundreds or even thousands of stations.  Most stations will have someone doing multiple duties and one thing they won’t and can’t do is spend countless hours listening to new music.

But if you have reached out to them, you are no longer just a name in a pile.  You don’t have to be a nuisance, but stay in contact, and talk to them.  You want to be like that old door to door salesman, and jam your foot in the door so they can’t close it on you.  Now here is something to watch for.  If the station won’t play your song, see if you can find out why.  Diplomacy works wonderful in these circumstances.  if you find out the idiot making the decisions just personally didn’t like  it, than that’s a problem.  I know an individual  on an internet radio station who thinks it’s there job and right to tell an artist just how bad their singing and music is.  NOT A CHANCE.  If your music doesn’t fit the format or quite fit what they are looking for, that’s one thing, but getting personal is wrong.  But it happens, so be prepared and if it does, cross them off your contacts list.  Work with the people who want to work and talk to you.  Find out if they use social media to show what they are broadcasting.  It’s again a great way to spread your name around, and it doesn’t cost a dime.

So the key is to be your own best sales person.  But be smart in how you sell and promote and make sure you work with people who are interested in working with you.  If you are getting held off and delays, than pick a time to say enough and move on.  There is nothing a sales person hates more than a tire kicker.  Someone who really isn’t interested in buying, just wants to look around and pass some time.  Its the same with music.  If a station tells you than can maybe play it in a couple of weeks,  check back again, and if they still havent, move on.  When you find someone who is interested in sharing your music, you will find someone who will work with you.  Treat people how you want to be treated, and likewise, if you are not treated well, than don’t deal with the idiots.  There is no need.

I will define success to me in a very simple manner.  I recently had some technical issues that nearly meant the end of my radio station.  But listeners and artists said, NO WAY!  They said we needed to find a way to keep broadcasting.  It was humbling and heart warming.  I took that to mean one thing.  What I was doing, was something that was appreciated.  That to me, meant it was in some manner successful.  Decide what it is that truly make you happy and define yourself as successful.  Once you know that, you can work to achieve that target or maybe more.

Live Shows Returning

The generosity of some people will always amaze me, although I try and do the same thing myself.   I have been given some equipment to use on loan so that I may start to do live shows again.  Effective next Monday June 26th I will begin doing the shows that normally aired Monday to Friday.  Weekends will for now be nonstop music, commercial free.

All show times are Eastern Daylight Time, and will run at their usual times 8pm to midnight

Monday 70’s show

Wednesday Indie Music Show (Including the Top 10, and all Indie music.  Unable to do interviews at this time so it will be all music for the 4 hour show)

Thursdays 80’s show

Friday All Request Show

The ability to do interviews is extremely difficult and as such , I wont be doing or airing any for the time being.  I have however restored most of the website and that includes the voting for the Indie Top 10.  I encourage everyone to start voting again for a brand new Top 10.

With that said as well, this equipment is just that, on loan.  We have set a target date for the End of July and although I don’t know if its realistic to achieve the overall goal, I am hoping to be in a position to replace the equipment I have on loan, at the minimum by that date.  Either way, that is the next target date and no decisions will be made until that time.  It is still entirely possible that KB will go off the air, be it permanently or for an extended absence.

We will deal with all possibilities when necessary.

thanks again to everyone, and see you Monday night at 8.

Cheers

al yardy

KB Radio goes off air permanently

When I began this journey over 18 months ago, I never thought I would reach the level that I did.  However as fantastic as that is and has been it will end effective Midnight June 30th 2017.

After a major failure in my broadcast equipment I reluctantly started a Go Fund Me campaign.  I was encourage by a number of people to do this, and did so reluctantly.  I have never been comfortable with putting my hand out, but running a station is not cheap.  I have done everything to date out of my own pocket and alone.  That is not a complaint in any way, because I have loved every minute of it.  But the reality is I cobbled together a set up and as effective in some ways as it was, many ways behind the scenes it was a struggle.  If things hadn’t failed I would still be doing it that way, but the reality is that to try and piece meal things together again is not in the cards.  To run things properly I need to start with a board to mix and run everything through.  There are cheap models for podcasting, but they are designed for 1 hr broadcasts not operating 24 hours a day 365 days a year.  My best option is just over $3000 for that one piece of equipment and with exchange rates me being in Canada, duty, taxes etc comes out to more than $4000.  That is just the start of what needs to be replaced, and I just don’t have the money to do that out of my pocket any more.  I had been convinced in some ways that if only 1 out of every 4 listeners gave $1 I would be fine.  LOL  I am not cynical but I forgot momentarily that it is a me first world,  and very quick to throw away and move on.

What most people don’t know is I retired in 2013 due to an injury.  I don’t tell you that for any reason other to understand, I am not out working 9 to 5 with making other disposable income.  There is no well for me to dip into.  lol  I wouldn’t have it any other way either.  I have never been happier in my life.

The music in the system is programmed to run out June 30th, so instead of just turning things off I will just let it play out.  to those who have already donated I will withdraw the money and return it to you, and I thank you for your gracious donations.  I do not want anyone thinking this is a tactic on my part or sour grapes.  Its neither and just life, but at the current rate for donations I could look at getting thing up and running again in almost a year.  that just is not a reasonable option on anyone’s part.

I want to thank everyone for listening, the friendships I have built and more.  I won’t start listing names, because I would miss someone for sure.

To the indie music artists I say keep fighting.  The amount of great music that crossed my desk every week was phenomenal.. Keep fighting for your dream.

Cheers

Al Yardy

KB Radio

KB Radio Status

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.   Over the past 48 hours while dealing with some personal family issues, another issue came up, which is the catastrophic failure of my studio.  To say things went up in smoke, would not put it quite clear enough, but the end result is more than 3/4 of all equipment and electronics have been compromised and destroyed.  KB Radio is currently running as an automated station entirely right now and all live shows have been cancelled.  As such I have disabled most of the kbradio webpage including voting for the top ten etc.

It is the kind of damage that insurance will not cover, so my next step is one of two things.  To try and raise funds to get everything back up and running or to shut the station down permanently.

I have truly mixed emotions, and while I set up a go fund me page, i have never been a person who puts my hand out.   As such I am going to take a few days to consider other possible options and decide which way to proceed going forward.

I thank all of the regular listeners and the indie artists who I try and support with air play on KB Radio.  the outpouring of support and messages have been overwhelming and very much appreciated.

I hope to have a decision and news by the end of the coming week, around June 16th.

thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy the music.  The playlist and rotation is the same as it was before this began.

Al Yardy

KB Radio

http://www.kbradio.ca

KB Radio-What its About

When i first began KB Radio strictly as podcasts, I started using the tag line “What Radio Used to Be.”  So the first question is of course is, what did Radio used to Be like?  It goes back to an era, somewhere between the dawning of rock and roll dj’s and the brutal corporate rape of the industry.  Through the 70’s and 80’s the entire music scene was very different.  There were generally only a couple of options to get your music from.  You either played vinyl, either 45’s or 33 RPM albums, cassette tapes would reach a peak during these era’s as well, or people turned on the radio.   Yes there was still some 8 tracks and reel to reel was used by some, but not by the majority.  Now if you had a social gathering in your home, quite often it came down to listening to the radio.  Playing 45’s, too much trouble, having to change the record every 3 minutes or so.  Albums, much longer playing, but not everyone enjoyed the no hit tracks on albums.  They wanted to hear music they recognized, and since most could relate to what was playing on the radio, knew those tunes, that’s what would be playing in the background.  It was there, it was perfect or close to it anyway because it filled so many voids.  Your morning show, news, weather, maybe traffic a bit of light entertainment.  Music in the middle of the day, for those working to listen to or the family members at home raising kids etc.  Afternoons the same as the mornings and repeat at night with mostly music to entertain.  A simple formula, but you also know when you turned on the radio you could listen to it and let your kids do the same.

That last line starts to make me sound old, but I have to question many or our values in society where you can turn on the radio, and hear songs talking about beating your woman, dropping the N word, and shooting and killing enemies, cops, whoever.  I don’t care who tries to explain, i will never understand how a derogatory word, again starting with N, what was created in hate towards a race or culture, can now be used by that very same culture.  Explain a song that uses that term and talks about hate and being repressed by “the man” or society?  It is completely asinine.  It would be like PETA campaigning about abuse to animals while eating a Big Mac.  So you will never hear that kind of music on KB Radio.  It is counter productive in my opinion and if you disagree, that’s fine too.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion and free to express it.

So when you tune in KB Radio I want people to be able to first of all, relate to the songs, recognize most and be able to listen to it no matter what the circumstances.  Out for a walk or run with a ear buds in, it should work.  Sitting in the car chatting with your passenger, it’s on in the background not brash or disturbing your train of thought.  At home with a group of people, and playing in the background again, or up loud for everyone to enjoy depending on the type of gathering.  It won’t ever be everything to everyone, I am not naive about that, but I want it to be there for those who like using music in those ways.  Many radio stations now, stick to a very tightly formatted sound.  Most are basically franchises, and if you go from Major city to major city, at least in North America, you will find, as an example Virgin Radio in London, a Virgin Radio in Toronto, and in 50 or 100 other cities in Canada and the US.  I remember traveling to Ottawa once a couple of years ago.  When I left I had a “Bob FM” station on.  As I went down the highway, on about a 7 hour drive, I switched from one Bob Fm to another all the way there.  I don’t remember the exact number, but it was 6 or 7 stations.  Every one sounding the same, except with different voices announcing the tunes.

The other problem with these tight formats is the limited number of songs they play.  A radio station that plays hit music, repeats the top songs if not hourly, almost every hour.  That is what everyone want to hear.  The balance of their music is other current songs, slightly less frequently and the odd past hit, splashed in maybe one every couple hours.  They may say they have 300 hundred songs in the rotation, but only a handful would be played repeatedly through the week.  The balance is the fillers, and they as i said, only get played ever couple hours.  To give a better idea, here’s the math.  Lets say they have 250 songs in the older music pile, where 1 gets played every 3 hours.  That means 8 songs a day, and to go through the entire pile will take 30 days before they start to repeat the list.

Here is where KB Radio is different.  I am not playing songs in high rotation. I work off of a playlist I created myself, music that probably 90% who listen will recognize every song.  That list is approximately 3000 songs that play Monday to Friday.  These songs will take probably 8 days to go through all of them, but you are hearing them back to back.  Not a song you know and love every 3 hours.  Besides, if you like a song and have your radio on, do you really want to hear that song played 7 or 8 times in an 8 hour work day plus in the car driving, five days a week.  After 1 week, hearing a song 50 times, it tends to wear thin.  But if you put on the radio and listen for 8 hours and every song that comes on, makes you smile.  Than you start hearing songs you havent heard for a while, forgotten songs that come back to you when they begin playing.

I than add independent music into the mix.  These are the artists that are busting their butts making music, but haven’t reached the stardom level.  Some you may recognize a name, they had a minor hit somewhere, but the majority will be new to you.  These songs i have play more frequently and they will average about 1 time per day.  But the hours are different, so maybe in your work environment you will hear that song on a Monday but not again till Thursday, but someone listening in the evening on Tuesday got a chance to hear it.  I firmly believe that with this style of play, songs become more recognize while not being driven down the listeners throat.  The music again, is not aggressive and fits inside the mental mold I have created.  Many wouldn’t know the difference if played back to back as an example and independent artist and say an artist from another country whose music wasn’t available in your country.  What difference would it make which was which anyway.  they will both be good tunes that the listener will hopefully enjoy.

Am I an expert on radio programming, not by any means.  But here’s the simplest way to explain everything.  I am an average person.  Logic tells me if i like something that the average person will like it too.  Sorry if you are high maintenance or high-end, maybe I am not for you.

The next part is the live shows.  I host shows and try to present them in a free style manner that is not offensive, is light-hearted and maybe informational, though I stay away from news, hot political discussions etc.  I like to find odd ball kinds of stories about the insanity that is mankind, and share them with you.  Not serial killer insanity, but Robin Williams, laugh at the world and how silly we are sometimes.  I try to stay active on social media, and respond to everyone who emails, messages etc.  I do it all alone, which is not a complaint, but KB Radio is me, Al Yardy.

My final thought is that weekend music follows the same type of format but is all country music.  When I did the podcasts, my Sunday night live show was a country music show and it had a very large following also.  So when I first started the station, I made weekends country music.  I don’t know yet how well this truly works, but I am watching numbers and statistics to see the differences.  Only time will tell whether it stays like that, or evolves into something else.  Maybe even a 24 hr country music station too?  Just a thought.

As always I welcome comments and feedback if you care to.  thank you for taking the time to read this.  Cheers

ay

 

The Ultimate Decision

I last wrote about the pro’s and cons and possible ramifications about posting comments, support in politics, etc and how it could affect what you are doing.  I focused on the entertainment industry but it can go beyond that into any business and lets face it personal life.

My dilemma is not one in fact.  I wrote the original post with the hopes that it may be of some assistance.  It was inspired because of a number of recent events, and again this morning I am reading a post from an entertainer that I have a problem with.  I will not get into a debate about the issue, my views are just that, they are mine and personal.  If we ever get to be close friends than I am sure we will have learned about each other views in many topics.

But this morning I removed that person from all social media and pulled their music from being played.  Some may say that is harsh, but the way the world works now, by following or promoting someone you are by default also support their public views.  If I had an image of say a burning cross on my website, or FB page etc, how many of you would distance your selves from me.

I once again would ask is the potential harm worth the risk compared to the potential gain by maintaining that contact.  I will not let people get in the way of my progress.  I work very hard at my goals and refuse to be put in a position where it appears I am supporting something controversial etc.

I haven’t notified this person, because there is nothing to be gained by it.  I was trying to decide whether to even write this blog.  But I decided once again information is important when it is passed out in a proper manner.

Please understand also, this decision, no matter how popular or unknown this person may have been was not easy.  It also was not over a topic as simple as they think putting whipped cream on ice cream is horrible.  It did, and always will have to be of a significant and controversial nature.  I also don’t want this taken in any way as a threat.  I am just a very small cog in an extremely large wheel, but if I were to get notice from a superstar that I was being asked to stop playing their music, because of something I said, did or supported, would be the potential for a quick ending of my dreams.  It only takes one, to start something.

 

I hope this is informative only……

Thursday January 19, 2017

I was asked a question regarding this, and it got me thinking how arrogant this probably sounds.  It is not meant to sound that way, and if it comes across like that I apologize.  One thing I did not add and was remiss about is the trickle effect, for lack of a better term.  If someone supports another person who has views I can’t support or endorse, it in no way changes my opinion of anyone else.  We all live by a certain standard, and no one standard is right or wrong in my opinion.  If i were to follow that practice I would very soon find myself all alone on an island.