Saturday, March 20, 2004

The virtues of not enough time.

We're working on putting together a KBFR presents show at the Fox theater and, as always, there just isn't enough time to do everything the way everyone would like it done.

I've come to the conclusion, however, that's just how it is and always will be regardless of how much time there actually is to do things. If you have 2 months to plan a big multi-artist show, or 12 months, it seems the same problems and issues come up. As the date get's closer, people freak and want to 'postpone'. Don't do it. Will there be mistakes? Sure. Is that normal? Absolutely. Just DO IT and quit the attempts at perfection.

Apple computer's a good example of this- it wanted to do everything perfectly or it wouldn't do it at all. As a result Microsoft won and we all live with the consequences. If Apple hadn't been so focused on being perfect, there's a real possibility that we'd live in a different and friendlier computer world today (as one example).

Pirate radio is about everyday people doing extraordinary things. Mistakes aren't possible, they're inevitable. We just need to live with that realization and keep on truckin...

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Ahh money.

In the end, regardless of how pure your ideas are about free speech and freedom of the airwaves, it always seems to come down to money and having enough of it to make things happen.

We had a benefit concert in Jan of 04 that raised money for KBFR that went pretty well. Enought that the venue (The Fox Theatre in Boulder) invited us back (i.e. THEY made money). That was our first lesson: create something that makes money for the venue you're doing your benefit at.

The next thing we learned was it doesn't HAVE to be a benefit. Our next show is going to be "Presented by KBFR". What we seem to have stumbled on is that, by being a radio station that plays music, we have the support of pretty much all the local music talent in the area (we're one of the few places many of them can get their music on the air at), so most are willing to do shows for KBFR's benefit, even if it's not a benefit 'specific' show.

So, KBFR as promotor is what's developing. I believe pirate radio stations should consider this as a viable option for fundraising to continue operations, upgrade equipment and outfit studios.

What we're planning now is to do ONE big blow out benefit a year for KBFR. Something that raises enough money that we can operate at a (very) minimum level for a year. Then, over the course of the year, hold several 'KBFR presents" shows that augment our finances enough to improve the operation. We also, of course, sell studio free CD's, T shirts and buttons at these shows (creating a bit more income).

We're not talking big money here folks. A few hundred dollars per show. BUT, a pirate station doesn't need ALOT to run, just enough. The actual income would be considered below the poverty line (and below what would be taxed, if we were taxed). So it's even safe.

And the other thing, and most important, is you're not begging for money all the time on air. There is no 'donation' so to speak. You get value for your contribution (give us $10 for a great show.. go home happy). That allows the station to remain independent and pure in it's approach to what it does (mostly: NO censorship for it's members). If we take 'donations' from people, no matter what they say, at some point, they will want to have a say in what's on air. This is fine, if they're willing to JOIN the group and become part of KBFR as a DJ (and share the risk with us), but if we just take money without giving something of value in return (like a concert, a CD or a T shirt) we're opening the door to having people who are not of a pirate mindset trying to set the agenda.

And, of course, we're pretty clear that there IS no agenda. Just good radio created on the fly by regular folk DJ's doing what they love: Playing music and sharing ideas and opinions about the world.

Monday, March 01, 2004

It's been awhile since I wrote here. Many goings on.

KBFR appears to be growing nicely. We had our monthly meeting on Sunday and there were more DJ's than we've ever had before. Somewhere in the 30 area. We now have shows that range from bluegrass to sports, politics to punk. It's a wide ranging group of wonderful folks, no doubt.

The Fox Theatre has asked us to do another benefit show (apparently, they actually made money on it as well, they get the majority of the bar take and our audience is a fun lovin group). We think this is one of the more likely ways to fund pirate radio. Get a local music venue on your side and then partner with them as a way to raise money and to give a stage to both known and unknown bands (not unlike what KBFR itself does). Sell Tshirts, buttons and CD's of bands who've played live on KBFR. Mix it all together and, if you do it right, you can fund a station for half a year, or fund the creation of a new station (takes about $3-5K to buy everything you need to go on air).

After reading an article in a business journal, it occurred to me that we're set up to be a recording studio/independent record label. Put the question to the gang: is this something we should do?

With the advent of iTune's and it's ilk for distributing online music that can come from, literally, anywhere, it seems to me that non mainstream sources of music (like a network of pirate radio station/recording studio/independent label entities) would be a great way to fund pirate radio and to expand it's growth.

Eventually, the FCC will simply have to accept that Pirate Radio is an entity that just needs to be accepted and officially sanctioned. This would be one way to help make that eventual inevitabilty happen just a little faster.