2019 A Look Back

The timing for the previous year in review is probably past in some ways, and I had written a blog about the past year a couple weeks ago, but as a writer I have those moments where I just don’t like everything I wrote.   I have sat on that one for a couple weeks, thinking from time to time about how to tweak it and I could publish it, but decided in the end it was easier to start over.

The past year was one of significant gains all the way around for me and the stations.  From a personal perspective entering in to what has become an amazing situation living with someone very special and eventually realizing i want to be with them forever.  That relationship helped to grow the Brand KB Radio and the KB Family of Stations beyond anything I could have anticipated on January 1st 2019 when I officially relaunched the live shows on KB Radio, updated KB Country and add the other two stations. 

KB Indie & KB AOR

We have seen friends go away and new ones develop and still the music is the main focus.  I set high standards for how I want things operated, and try to live up to that every day.  We upset people along the way who think because I have a radio station or 4, I should play every single song that comes in to us.  But I think we have shown consistently our plan, the business model I have developed and based on the growth I assume it is working still. 

With 4 full years now under my belt, I also believe we have shown we are here for the long haul and are not going anywhere.  We continue to grow with other shows and programs looking to air on our stations, and us offering our programming to others as well.  The Indie Music scene has grown into an incredible voice around the world and while we don’t and can’t play every song that comes to us, more than 1000 per month on average, the music we do play we do our best to offer our best in promoting those songs through our stations playlists and more.

I have lived my life with no regrets, because where I am now as I say, I am extremely happy.  You can’t get there without problems, and things just happening in life, in business, in friendships and relationships.  But its how we take those events and use what we learn.  So as I sit and write this, being as happy in so many aspects right now, how can I regret anything.  Without all those past events I wouldn’t have gotten to this exact point in my life.  Can I do better, personally and business wise with the stations?  I am sure that I can and will strive to do so.  We start 2020 with some goals and opportunities that should make it a very exciting year.  We hope you come along for the ride, but if for whatever reason you can’t, that’s okay too.  We all have our own lives and hopes and dreams.

Cheers and thank you to everyone who was a part of the past amazing year.

Al

https://www.kbradio.ca/

https://kbcountryradio.ca/

https://kbradiocanada.wixsite.com/kbindieradio

https://kbradiocanada.wixsite.com/kbaor

 

 

Getting Added to the rotation; What exactly does that mean.

I have written this blog mostly as an attachment for email responses to music submissions, but also general information.  Many of those who read this already know that I do things differently than most other internet based radio stations.  When we get music submissions, you will get one of two emails, either one thanking you for sending in your music and we cannot use it at this time or the better is one saying we can use it and letting you know which stations it will play on.

If you happen to get one that says we won’t be playing or using it, please don’t ask why.  I don’t critique music as a rule.  I look for tracks that will fit with the sound on any of the 4 stations I operate.  the reality of the situation is, last year, being 2019 we received over 10, 000 tracks of music.  I applaud other stations or podcasts that will play all of those songs if they get the same number, and wish them success in their endeavors.  However I program the same as terrestrial or broadcast stations, and due to this there are limited spaces.   Even if I didn’t and played every song submitted on KB Indie Radio as an example let me do some math as an example.

There are on average 16 songs per hour played.  If we were to take those 10, 000 songs, rounded off, it would take 625 hours to play them all back to back.  That works out to about 26 days of non stop music to go through that entire list.  Now of course they all didn’t come in at once and that changes things, but lets not get all technical.

Although we don’t program every song that comes in to one of our stations, those songs that do get added will see multiple plays, and an increased recognition factor with our listeners.  Lets face it, its common sense.  If I could add a song as 1 of 10, 000 and it played once a month for 12 months, yes that’s 12 times for the year, but it doesn’t work that way.  As new music comes in, they would get added because there is still only so many hours in the day.  As our listener numbers climb and the popularity grows we are getting 300 plus songs a week submitted for possible airplay.  That would equate to 20 hours of new music every week, and to play those, you can’t play the others.  I hope this makes sense math wise.

What we do is take songs that fit the sound of each station.  Its how I programmed my first broadcast station I was in charge of in 1989, and its how I do it now.  Again its my methods and let other do things with their methods.  However if I add as an example 100 songs a month to the programming, that is 25 a week, split into different rotation profiles.  Now your music is heard at least once a week, mixed with mainstream tracks and potentially as many as 3 or 4 times in the rotation, and even more if it makes the chart.  I looked at all of the songs in our year end Top 50, in the top 10 positions anyway, and every single song there has played between 90 and 100 times in 2019.  Plus due to popularity among listeners is permanently in rotation on KB Radio.  These same songs got approximately the same number of spins this year on KB Indie Radio.  So would an artist rather get maybe 1 play a month or maybe 200 across 2 different stations.  When a song plays 100 times in a year, it would have played on average 4 times a week for 12 to 16 weeks, being in a high rotation due to its popularity.  The balance of the 100 is made up of extra plays on the chart countdown and it still being aired for the remaining months.

This is for KB Radio, and each of the other 3 stations have their own independent programming and rotation.  The idea for each is to spotlight the newest and most popular among listeners.

So for those who are submitting, if you are told it is going into the rotation it means we want to promote that track and will usually keep your song spinning for 60 to 90 days on the starting station(s).  From that point there are other possibility’s  about where the song can go, but ideally what we like to see is after a couple months a new track from the artist, so we can look at starting the same process again with another song.   This is where WE rely on the artists to help themselves.   This may sound strange but its amazing how many songs we get from an artist or band, start to play it and never hear another word from them.   Than you get the follow up email 10 months or a year later saying “we haven’t heard our song for a while, or something along those lines.”

I truly wish I had the time, not really,  to set a reminder to email everyone that its time for new music.  Call me an ass, but to those of you who think you send out the music and then sit back and wait to become famous, you’re wrong.  It takes hard work and dedication, and if you can’t do your own follow ups with emails, well I am not about to do it for you.  My job is to play them!  LOL   I will say the same thing to everybody and anybody, read our blog about submitting, and although its not required it will help both you and I with your submission.  When you are one of 300 every week, you want to get your music heard, not get an email back saying, there is a problem with your submission.  P.S.  most other stations aren’t that courteous.   There are songs we don’t play on any of the stations.  I don’t think I have ever listed them all in one spot, but here it goes;

  1. Rap – You won’t ever hear rap on my stations
  2. Hip Hop – Now depending on the person defining this can sound very different.  So consider submitting if you think it will work.
  3. Foreign language – We play English language music.  I’m sorry I know this pisses people off because I get your hate mail.  I program with listeners who speak English.  End of discussion.
  4. Instrumental – It just isn’t the sound we are looking for.  We do play some with the Synth Wave show, so its very limited and selective.
  5. Cover Songs – Lets put it the way it is.  We want original material.  I am playing you with mainstream tracks.  Do you think I should pull the original version that was a big hit to play your version of the same song?
  6. Thrash –  That screaming whatever the heck sound it is music.  Its just not happening.

this may seem like a lot, but its not and as I said from the start I am looking for a sound.  When you put on one of the KB stations, you will hear a consistent sound from song to song.  That is at least our intention.

Thanks for reading

al

 

Year End Countdowns: Tabulation and rules

As with all of our charts the majority of the results come from the fan and listener voting. However some artists have bigger fan bases etc, while this is great for them, it gives them an advantage over others. Our systems are designed to attempt to make it so its not a popularity contest, as mentioned in a previous blog. So whether its for KB Radio or KB Country Radio, the year end polls will be calculated exactly the same.

There are some variations to the weekly polling, starting with the fact that weekly we take into consideration the previous weeks chart. Since this is a years worth of activity that would be hard, in the manner we do it normally to use, so it is not a factor. The other slight difference is that fan voting represents 75% of the total. A friendly reminder this doesn’t mean you get 75% of the votes that came in. What it means is that if you finish in 1st in the voting, you will get the highest amount of points. As an example 1st in voting gets 200 points, 2 in the voting gets 198 points, third gets 196 and so on. Again this is only an example and because the total polls have different sizes the number are different for each poll.

So what ever position you finish in those are your points, and they account for 75% of the total. This means, that if you finished 1st, or 5th or 25th in the voting, that is not your final position in the year end necessarily. Like the weekly voting the other 25% is made up of different groups and areas. For the year end we have a panel of people who assist us with each and every song that is voted for. They are given the criteria, and they take the time to score each song. We also have a couple areas we rank the songs on from the past year. We take all of those number from everyone and everything and take 25% of that total.

Our goal is to have the very best for the end of the year, and to present it as transparent and open as possible, so everyone understands how we do things.

We wish everyone the best of luck in the final week of voting and watch for the results coming soon.

KB Radio Year End Top 50 countdown Wednesday December 18, 2019 8PM EST www.kbradio.ca

KB Country Radio Juke Box Top 25 year end countdown Friday December 20, 2019 8PM EST www.kbcountryradio.ca

Any questions as always please ask.

al

The Charts.. its not a popularity contest!

We have talked about the Top 25 and Top 15 on KB Radio and KB Country Radio respectively,  but it seems that there is still a number of people who get upset with the chart because they don’t grasp how it works.  Yes I said it, the problem is lack of understanding on their part.  Hopefully this doesn’t offend anyone, but than again I would rather say it like it is than sugar coat some bullshit kind of explanation in an attempt to explain.

The charts are very simple;  they are based around the older, standard versions of charts where new music is released, and it breaks onto the chart and tries to climb as high as possible.  Back in the day, they used things like requests, record sales, and referenced other stations playing the same format to calculate the chart.  Things are different now, and the charts you find on Billboard etc, are nothing like they used to be.  That is fine, the same as other stations that strictly do a weekly most votes kind of chart, and your Top 10 can be completely different week to week.   the point is that there are different variations, but in each case if you want to play the game, you should really understand the rules. 

We attempt to bring the Top 25 or 15 songs that are most popular each week, using fan voting as a jumping off point.  But don’t let that fool you.  This is not a popularity system,  and if you finish in 1st week after week, with 200 more votes than the artist in second, the vote totals mean nothing.  Finishing position has a point assignment,  but from there,  just because you have more fans voting doesn’t mean your music will be sitting at the top of the chart and staying there. 

Let me explain it this way.  I can give you right now 25 artist or band names that have incredible fans who vote like crazy.  But if that was the only factor those 25 would be the top 25 all the time.  The listeners don’t want the same songs every single week.  Everyone involved, loves music.  But think about this, people get tired of songs.  Sometimes they just need a break from them but they have favorites, and they change.  So why would you want to push one song week after week at them.  Now let me clarify that statement.  Promote and push, but understand when its time to move on to your next track. 

This is why the calculations and points assigned put the onus on the fans to vote, however, that is not the only thing.  I won’t sugarcoat this, we don’t want the same song on the Top 25 for 52 weeks. Its the same reason we don’t want multiple songs by artists or bands on the chart.  If its strictly voting, and we had 2, 3 , 5 songs on the voting list by one artist, they could theoretically control the top of the charts with their music.   I built KB Radio around how things used to be, and the chart is no different.  Yes there have been anomaly’s over the years with songs that stayed on the charts (Billboard) longer than normal.  But lets not try to compare anything here to those famous tracks.  I don’t have a number that says after so many weeks a song is gone, there are a lot of factors that go into the chart, and its not based on one persons opinions. 

 

I want people to remember as well, I am running a radio station (4 actually) and we strive to have as many listeners as possible. The Charts are designed to promote the music and the radio station.  To do this I want the best sound possible, and we work very hard on many levels to try and achieve this, and improve on this.  One of our draws is fresh new Indie Music.  So take your music, and push like hell.  Ride it up the chart, and when its peaked let fall gracefully.  Songs that make it to the top spots on the charts stay on  the station permanently.  So it will always be here.  But if a song starts to get tired sounding, and listeners start saying, how long are you going to keep playing this track, I have to believe its been too long.

The final thought is that this isn’t driven by any one person or comment.  So if you are concerned I am singling you out or something like that, not at all.  Its a blog I have avoided and tried to do in a different manner previously, but maybe I just wasn’t clear enough, or maybe people don’t read or care?  lol  

I am always open to questions and willing to explain any of the system in more detail if required or asked.

 

al

The Charts; KB Radio Top 25 & KB Country Radio’s Jukebox Top 15

I have written about the charts and the processes in the past, but sometimes old blogs get lost and new followers are more inclined to read new posts.  So I thought it was time to update this a bit, plus with us fast approaching our year end Countdowns, it is a very good time to show how we approach things. 

The KB Radio slogan is What Radio Used to Be.  The idea is that terrestrial broadcast FM/AM stations have lost their way, and I want to bring back a style similar to what was in the 70’s and 80’s.  Now I don’t run with DJ’s 24 hours a day, so there are some differences but those are for those who want to be picky. 

Its more than just the DJ’s and shows, its how I approach things programming the stations and how we work our chart system.  There are lots of methods for charting music, and I am not going to touch on anything but our system.  I often say to think of how The charts on Billboard, Radio & Record, and every local radio station worked.  When people turned into Casey Kasem, Rick Dees, Scott Shannon or Bob Kingsley for Country music it wasn’t the 40 most popular tunes every week, with each week being an absolutely brand new Top 40.(ie This weeks 40 could potentially be 40 different songs)  There was consistency from week to week, and people turned in to hear their favorite Artist or Band and see if they can make it to number 1. 

No matter how high their favorite song did go though, when it peaked it started to decline and fall down the charts.  These charts weren’t just random ideas, it was a well thought out and developed process.  An artist releases a song, usually tied to an album release as well, and that song would climb as high as possible.  The length of time it took to climb depended on the popularity of the song, the artist, and more.  The big charts looked at stats from Radio Stations across the US and Canada, or in other regions of the world, the same thing but for that region.  The record companies were marketing the hell out of these songs,  with chart success came sales.  But everyone also knew that listeners get tired of songs, and like new music and variety.

Lets face it how many songs have you heard in your life and liked?  Do you have every single one in your playlists?  Of course not, there are too many but some songs survive the years with different fans and are forever in our minds and playlists.  So once a song had peaked on those charts and started the decline down, that meant the sales for the single were slowing down, requests were down, etc.  At this time it was when they looked for the next release to put out. 

When Garth Brooks released No Fences he had 4 hits off of that album, or when Michael Jackson released Thriller he had 7 singles hit the Top 10 and 2 number 1 songs.  The key in that last line is he had 2 number 1 songs.  You can’t have two number 1’s if you release everything at the same time or you don’t follow up with new music.  When you look at the two years each of those albums was released, and the respective charts, the artists dominated the charts.   Those albums and the music was there every day and when we started to get tired of one song, they went on to the next single and it picked up where the previous one left off.  No Fences to date has sold more than 17 million albums and Thriller topped the 100 million mark worldwide. 

Now before anyone thinks I can help you sell 100 million albums, that’s not what I am saying.  That album didn’t sell itself, the music did it.  The fact that every day Michael Jackson or Garth Brooks was on the radio sold it.  People also didn’t buy albums if there was one song they liked on it.  People were more fickle with their music purchases, and if an album suddenly had two hits on it, it changed the sales and when you get to 3 or 4 hits they went higher. 

So when it comes to programming that has been my approach from day 1 on my stations.  Play the new Indie Music like new releases and put it into rotation for a period of time.  After a certain amount of time has passed, we than hope for another release from the artists to update our music.  This works with the charts that we use and publish, and the most popular songs from our listeners perspective will climb the charts.  When that song has peaked its time for it to get out of the way so listeners can hear some fresh new music.  I know there are a lot of artists that with promoters or on their own work in a similar fashion releasing one song, and than waiting a month or two for the next release. 

I don’t want to single anyone out, but I will mention one band on our Top 25 as an example.  They are the band Transistor @transistorband who early on in the year sat down with me to have a conversation of how the charts work.  Steve who is usually the one online and the face of the band I guess, took hold of that information and they have worked the process for an entire year.  As of today, and heading into the year end they are the only band or artist to have 4 songs that hit the Top 10, of which 3 went to number 1, that will be on the voting list for the year end Top 50.    Now this is not a shot at anyone else or meant in a negative way.  Its not easy being a musician and working with different Internet Radio stations and podcasters, who each operate in a different fashion can be difficult. 

One of the biggest complaints I get from artists is that they hate the charts because its a popularity contest.  For some stations, you are right.  Who ever just gets the most votes for the week is the number 1 song.  Our process is different in that voting is only a portion of what goes into the calculations.  After the voting is completed the list of music that is eligible is than presented and is submitted as well for outside assessment.  What that means is its not just me going, I like this song and don’t like that one.  That are categories that are rated and ranked and it is done from more than just my perspective.  so let me give you a simple example of how it works.  For the example only I will use a Top 10 chart.

Each week for consistency we look at where the song sat for the previous week on the chart.  So what you would get would be something like this;

#1- 50 Points, #2 – 45 Points, #3 – 40 Points, #4 – 35 Points, #5 – 30 Points, #6 – 25 Points, #7 – 20 Points, #8 – 15 Points, #9 – 10 Points and #10 – 5 Points. 

That is again as an example the base points to start.  Now we look at the voting, and we look at the position in the voting, not how many votes.  So once again we use a similar points system, starting at who finished first in the voting down to the 10th position.  When asked why only 10 spots, because that is how many spots are on the chart.  Why would you give someone in 50th place points.  They didn’t get the support needed to crack the Top 10, so why give credit. So first in voting 50 Pts, second 45 Pts. etc and exactly the same format.  

The next area is where not only my data is used but I reach out for outside rating and judgement as well.  There are a group of categories, and each category, has a simple rating of 1 to 10.  Let me give you an example;  If there are 4 categories, and in two categories I rank a song with 6 and the other two categories I give and 8, my total points out of 40 possible would be 28.  Now for a broader perspective we now add in the other analysts points, so if they had higher or lower rankings, there totals would get added to mine.  So to not complicate things, if one other had a total of 32 for the combined total on the same song, we would than add those totals together.  This gives that song 60 pts from the analysts.

 Lets say the song was last weeks #1 so they got 50 points for that, and this week they finished 4th in the voting, so they get 35 points for voting.  Now we start the math!  lol

We will add the 50 and the 35 and that total of 85 will than represent 60% of the final vote.  So (50 + 35) = 85  and 85 x 60% = 51. 

The analysts had 60 pts, but that only represents 40% of the total, so we have 60 x 0% = 24

Combine the two totals and we have 51 + 24 for a total of 75.  This process goes on for not only all the songs on the Chart, but also any song that got voting points, which is how we get new entries week to week.  When we have all the totals we now put the songs in order based on the highest points to the lowest and that gives us the next weeks chart.  There is a great deal of effort goes into the chart system each week, time 2 because of 2 charts on 2 stations, but I also believe that is one of the fairest and most consistent systems on a week to week basis. 

The final product is a chart like I talked about in the beginning, with songs that go up and go down.  We actually had a song from the band Matlen Starsley drop out of the #1 spot this year and than go back up a week later.  They called it a dead cat bounce, because to be completely honest, its not supposed to happen that way.  But every once in a while, things happen and the numbers don’t lie.

So a band like Transistor will have 4 songs eligible this year for the top 50.  Other bands will have 2 or 3 songs as well, but you can only list so many for voting, and many of those will qualify as write ins.  Our year end Top 50 voting list will have 100 songs approximately on it.  That is a lot of music for voters to sort through.  That number represents every song that made the Top 10 this year.  Every song that made the chart is eligible, however if it didn’t crack the Top 10 it will need to be a write in.  We just can’t have 500 or more songs on the voting list.  LOL 

Does this mean Transistor is a favorite?  From an outside perspective when you have 4 choices from the same band I call that pretty good odds.  But the other side of that is this, at the end of the year when we present that Top 50, no matter where they finish, wouldn’t you say they are better off if they manage to get 2 of their songs on the list?  What if they get 3 on the Top 50 or even all 4 manage to crack the list.  Where one of them is the number 1 song or not, I would still call that a really damn good showing. 

We often see fans show up to vote for their favorite song week to week, finish high in voting, but than disappear the following weeks because they don’t understand the system.  This blog hopefully helps to explain, and truthfully I am going deeper in my explanation than ever before.  I honestly don’t like to, because its a system I developed years ago, so to share some of my processes hurts.  Too many others are known to use others work for their own gain.  However transparency is the ultimate goal, and more success for artists is also a priority. 

So be it week to week or the year end, good luck to everyone on their chart success.  For those that embrace it and bust their asses each and every week begging fans for votes, I thank you.  There are benefits for songs that make the chart, starting with website listing and visibility and extra weekly spins.  We can talk about more beyond that another time.

Any questions we always have the doors open, so please ask.

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Thanks

al