Station returning status

Do as a quick follow up to the last blog here is where things stand with KB Radio coming back.

At this point there will be a return for KB Radio and KB Country Radio. KB AOR IS Done and KB Indie Radio is on the shelf for the time being. That may be confusing for some people, as there were a great number who seemed to think KB and KB Indie were one in the same. NOT! LOL

I do have a target of November, and am hoping to raise more funds. I am working on setting up advertising and sponsor packages so that the stations can support themselves. I am also looking into a syndication option for one of the shows but I am not sure if it will happen or if I want to.

I can say this i will make a go of it with the Two stations, and hopefully find the sustainability to bring back the Indie.station sometime in the future. For now my goal is to get back online and be able to stay there, without running back into issues in a year or 2. This is a long term project for me.

I also want to tease this and let you know I have been in communication with a number of artists who have offered to be a part of what I will tell is going to be a relaunch of KB and KB Country like no other event. I am still looking for other artists/bands and will be sending out more emails soon. Watch here and our Twitter accounts for more information and announcements.

Also watch for a notification in the next month when I will be looking to start getting music submissions to put in the rotations. A reminder with KB Indie not coming back I will no longer be playing the same amount of great Indie. It is a shame but a part of the outcome.

Thanks to everyone for their continued thoughts, shares, offers and contributions. See you soon on the airwaves!

Al

2 months down, and you have to wonder

One of my biggest faults I have been told repeatedly is my inability to reach out and ask for help.  I am called stubborn, lol, but I rather think of myself as kind of self reliant.

I have always liked working for myself, having my own business and being in a position where I dont need to rely on others.   I started my first dj business when I was 15 and here it is, 40 years later I have had 10 different companies, at least I stopped counting at 10.  Some have been good, some have been great.  All have been successful.  An achievement I am very proud of. 

Most of these have been small businesses that I can do myself, don’t need to worry about keeping others employed or happy or having to rely on them for my success.  As I read those words they somehow seem wrong in some ways, but i have no regrets.

My success or failure has always been on my shoulders.  If I didnt put the work in it wouldn’t succeed.  For those that are curious, those businesses have gone away, I sold or I stopped for various reasons.  My last 2 were supporting the radio hobby, and one slowed due to covid, while the other flourished. 

Meanwhile, the company I did contract work, that had been busy during covid, decided to change some of their policies. One of the joys of running my own business, I just said, F.O.  Find yourselves another contractor who will do the job.  Whether they do or don’t is irrelevant to me.

So where am I going with this?  As the stations, KB Radio etc, grew and I expanded I had to ask for more  assistance.  Not in financial term but just in day to day operations.  This was even before Sunny came into the picture.  There have been many people behind the scenes assisting in various ways.  The down side of that, if that assistance goes away, for whatever reason, I am suddenly with more work then I can personally handle.  I know what a horrible problem.  KB Radio got too popular.  But recently as you know that was a huge factor, and although I had hoped to bring that help or partnership in station activities back, even in a small way, I was advised there was zero interest in taking part. 

This puts me in a real mental dilemma because I know that running the 4 stations on my own is impossible.  No let me correct that, I could do that but would not be happy with the product I am putting out.  I cant do it half way or in some lack luster shifty fashion.  There are enough people out there pretending to know how to broadcast and doing a really bad job of it.  Lol   Yes, I am blunt.

But now as I re tool and make plans to downsize, I find myself at a real crossroads.  It is something that I dont feel comfortable about and at the same time can’t ignore.  I have thought about this and discussed it with a couple people and of course their basic opinion is that I am nuts.  Lol  I can say I know I’m not insane, I had a brain scan and they found nothing.

I have been in this boat before.  Many of you may not know but I had a fire in my studio 3 or 4 years ago now.  I was still pretty small, only about 100,000 listeners at that time, but when I said I dont know how I can continue, I got 2 very different reactions.  The first were those who encouraged me to stay and ask for help to keep going.  The other were the ones who, and this will sound harsh are only in contact for one reason.  Their own personal gain.  I view it very different.  I cant succeed without great music and great partnerships with those artists.  We help each other as we work for the same thing, to get people to hear what we are playing.

Let me back up a bit though to when I said there are two things that happened which jump out at me.  In that circumstance I was carrying/airing another entertainers show.  Within 24 hrs of me saying I was likely done, they had bailed on me and my station and signed on with another station to carry their show.  It wasnt entirely as simple as it sounds, but it really was a slap in the face.  Even after keeping things going, they broke off all communication.  Sigh, it says a lot to me, and in my honest way of putting it, “It said nothing good.”

Similarly as this time when I shut down, it was great to see lots of messages, get emails, DM’S even actual hand written letters in the mail about what the stations meant to them and how they wish they could help.   Then I watched them one by one unfollow on Twitter, stop answering emails or messages.

So running KB like a family is and was great until for so many I was of no use anymore because I couldn’t play their music.   Is it hurt feelings or disappointment on my part.  Honestly yes and no.  I refuse to push the go fund me campaign down people throats.  Its not my style, and I just can’t do it.  Its not even that I expect everyone to donate.  I have been told being more aggressive will generate more responses and donations. 

My issue comes, when in about 30 days when I say we are about a month from relaunch and I need to refresh my Indie Music rotation, please start emailing in your tracks, will I suddenly hear from those people again?   We all aren’t best friends, and their is a very strong line between business, friendship and family. I tried to combine all and make it as close to one big family as possible.  Help each other promoting music, and sharing this great Indie genre.

So what am I saying?  Good question.  I wont change how I operate, because I believe that is  big part of my success and why so many others copy what I do.  Lol  Yes I know you do, lol.  I am definitely not saying if people don’t contribute financially it will have an effect.  Think about this, how many people count on sharing and followers of you to share your info, or music or whatever. 

Let me break it down in simple math which is always easier.  I have a little less then 7000 followers on Twitter.  Imagine if 50% of them shared a message.  Well that 3500 people will have similar followers just because of the music connection.  But if each had only 10 followers that don’t follow me, you have helped to reach 35,000 more people if you share my message. 

There is a story that explains this and what is called exponential growth.  Remember, the first 3500 shared, if the same half of the new 35000 shared they reach 175,000 people.  The story goes like this.  They have made Fenway Stadium in Boston water tight.  You are sitting in the top row of the bleachers.  If at 1pm we drop one thimble of water into centerfold, then at 1:01 we double it and drop 2 thimbles of water, at 1:02 4 thimbles , and etc.  How long do you think you have before you risk being  covered in water?  The answer will blow your mind!   Message me for the answer or look it up on line if you rather.   But this is promotion and how to make it work in simple terms.

What I will say to finish the earlier thought, is if you say one thing and do another, if you suddenly friend me again and start sending emails asking for your music to get played, remember you are one of more than 1 thousand, and closer to 1500 songs a month I had submitted to me for air play.   If you had to choose between 2 songs, one from an artist that is new and you hadnt played yet, or someone you have played before, but you saw them turn their back on you, who would you choose?

KB Radio and KB COUNTRY RADIO were and will be programmed professionally offering a mix of mainstream and the best of Indie Music.  But there are only so many songs that can be played or added to these stations and they truly are the best of what is submitted.  KB Indie was launched in part because I got so many song submissions, and I disliked saying no to artists.  I had hoped my extra effort gave them a chance to get their music played, as a part of this great family of stations. 

I will not however struggle to get things done, and end up taking away from the others.   What I am not saying is, I dont want or need anyone kissing my butt.  I will work with anyone who works honestly with me.  Not everyone wants to chat, cross promote, or do anything extra or has the time to do anything.  I respect that, and look forward to working in that limited capacity with them.  But if you suddenly find yourself needing more help, go about it right.  I will lend a hand, right up until I ask for a hand, and you have turned your.back on me.

As always I welcome comments and thoughts. I am not threatening anyone, just stating something I think needed to. be said, before I come back.

Dilemma: Do I or Don’t I?

I have been told that one of my greatest faults is the inability to accept help from others. I have been reminded of that recently again and I readily admit that is true in many circumstances. The recent events with the stations (KB Radio, etc) has once again put me in that position.

It has been suggested by many that I set up a go fund me campaign, or something like that to help with expenses. My chief concern has always been that those same artists that I am trying to help by playing their music, would be the most likely to contribute, but at the same time, they are the least likely to be in a good position to do that. I base that on how tough the entire music industry is and how little artists actually make these days. The entire situation with no shows due to the virus aside.

I was told today that many of the artists would appreciate the opportunity to give something back. They would use it as a method of saying thanks. I am not sure if that is true or if it would happen. I am also not sure if I want that.

I didn’t start the stations for fame or fortune, but rather because the music is something I enjoy. As it grew and my costs grew with it, that never bothered me inside, because i could see growth in many ways, not just for me but for artists that I had the pleasure to interact with. I remember artists telling me that after getting played on KB they saw plays on other streaming platforms increase, and they believed it was related. I would like to think there is a parallel, and it gives me a great deal of pride.

When I have the pleasure to interview and talk to artists, it first and foremost lets me know a bit more about the people that are making the music. But I also file away the hope that one day some of them will make it big, and I can pass along to my grand kids, if I ever have any, that I interviewed and knew them before they became so popular. To me it is all about the music and having a good time when I get on the air. The costs are just a nuisance that goes with it.

I would love to get into show and station sponsors, but have never explored that in any large scale. It was just another task for the list, that to be honest I didn’t spend any time on.
That would ultimately help with many of the day to day expenses, but I think and hope it will come naturally from the success of the stations. So my question than would be to ask those who read this, should I do a fund raiser? I hate the idea of having it look like just another person with their hand out. I also don’t want it in any way appear to be tied to plays on my stations if and when they return.

So please share your thoughts with me on this so I can decide whether or not I should attempt this or not.

Thanks, Al Yardy

KB Radio Shutdown: “Never say Never”

It is something that many might say, why are you even writing this. But I feel I owe the thousands of artists and listeners and supporters of the stations some kind of explanation. Over the last 12 months KB Radio has continued to grow, and KB Country Radio even faster. KB had hit the 350 thousand listener mark for the previous 12 months, and I was stoked.

I have had such generous offers for help, even an offer to buy the stations and name, but I want everyone to know it is so much more than money that has caused where I am at with the stations at this time. So with that said, this very long blog, which in many ways feels like it rambles on, goes into detail about a lot of the operations, expenses and time that it takes on a daily and weekly basis. I will say a number of times through this that I am not complaining. I loved what I did, what we accomplished and the bottom line through all of this is that I don’t want it to be gone for good. But beyond working out the technical issues, I am not able as the person I am to just sign on and start streaming music without doing it the best way I know how. I could have left the stations on with just music and no live shows, but to what end?

So if you wish you can skip reading the rest of this blog, it will detail what went into the operations, it talks about Sunny and her work and future and into some details about things that had been coming to the stations, but also are for now done. It will tell you that I was taught many years ago by my father, who I can say laughingly I spoke with just an hour or so ago, and he used the line “Never Say Never” about another topic. I will only say I won’t make any promises one way or another, but “Never say Never”.

With the incredible work with Sunny over the past 16 months, things were on a very positive curve. But there is a lot that goes into the operation of my stations, and I take it very seriously. If I can’t give my full effort, I would rather not do some half baked attempt. Day to day operations I can easily say we both put in excess of 40 hours per week into things that needed to be done. This doesn’t include the maintaining of the Twitter accounts. That is its own huge busy animal, but very worthwhile.

I have received so many wonderful messages and comments and more that I wanted to explain a few things. This was not an easy decision, but at the same time we have put a lot of effort into things. I am not looking for anything in explaining some of this, but rather just to let those who care know how much I/we truly care as well, and while things have been knocked off, this is no small undertaking. So to start back up again will be not just a matter of flicking a switch.

Every week, there was the putting together of two lists for voting, the creation of the new poll each week, the generating of a new Top 25 and Top 10 on Country and of course the updating of the website with all the new data. When we did interviews, the arranging of schedules to either record or do them live, which was sometimes not as easy as it sounds. lol If an interview was prerecorded, it then had to be edited before it went to air as well, because I always wanted to present a good product, and something the listeners would enjoy and get something out of. Not the idle chit chat where asked each other about the weather. We also carried a number of other shows on some of the stations, and they would be sent to us weekly. Each show would have to be downloaded and labelled using our system so they would live Tweet properly. I then had to load them into the different computer systems for each station, and make sure last weeks shows were pulled. I got it all right about 90% of the time.

When I talk about music submissions, I do so with the utmost in gratitude to everyone who sent music to us. Without those submissions, I would not have been able to create the sound we did with the stations. As we signed off we were getting about 1500 songs sent to us every month for submissions. It was such a daunting and amazing part of what we did. I updated the music on the stations every week, and this was made up of the submissions we had listened to through the week. Many people asked about the submission process, but it was really very simple. Keep it all together through one email address, and then you don’t lose music. If I were to listen to something somebody had posted on Twitter, that would be the same as if an artist just sent a Spotify link to listen to. We would have to listen, then email the artist and ask them to send us the song. We would wait for that email, among the hundreds of others, and hopefully remember that we had already listened to the song.

We get so many songs in that it became part of our review process for a lot of the music to do a scan through the submission list to see if that song had been sent before. I used a spreadsheet system that tracks on a weekly basis every song we received and listened to. It also shows if it was going to be played on one or more of the stations, and other details. Sunny had a similar spreadsheet and she documented other data on that, a lot of which went to one of our websites or was used in other ways. It was funny how often we would get a song from an artist, their new release, and the name would sound familiar, and when I searched my spreadsheet, we had received and played that same song 2 or 3 years prior. Of course I don’t want to get into how I programmed the stations again to explain why that wasn’t of interest to us.

We honestly had days where we spent 5, 6 or 7 hours just reviewing music. We would do that 3 or 4 times a week when we could. I am NOT complaining in anyway shape or form. As Sunny grew into a bigger part of all the processes, I know she like myself loved this part of what we did. There is nothing cooler, than getting a song from an artist or a band, and putting it on for the first time. Knowing how hard they have worked to put together this music, and really except for a few people we are among the first to even hear it. Such an honour in my mind.

At the end of each week all the new music for the week that is going to be played has to be transferred to the appropriate computer system. This all has to be tracked because in my system, for every song that went in, one had to come out. This meant a system, apart from the new music tracking, that accounted for every song that was being played and on which station. We also needed the start up dates etc to help keep that organized. The new music every week took about 2 hours, and that was just for the Indie music. In the case of the Country station we also played new mainstream hits, which meant we needed to stay on top of those, and keep those lists up to date. That meant acquiring the new songs and doing all the processing etc for airplay on our station.

I know that probably sounds odd, saying we have to do the processing. But because we operate 4 Twitter accounts, when a song is played it live Tweets. The automated connection pulls specific fields of data that show what I have typed in their. Example, Artists Name and Song Title. Plus we add Twitter handles, hashtags and station links for promotion. All of this data also transmits to other places like TuneIn that carry our feed, so listeners get the song titles on the screen. All of this information has to be added to each song we put in for airplay. You might be surprised how many songs come in, without even the Artists name and song title on it. LOL

One of the biggest burdens is the cost. I won’t ever lie about that fact. I retired in 2013 and started the station podcast a couple years later. It has grown as I mentioned and I am thrilled, honoured, blessed, pick your own adjective to have reached the levels we have. But with the growth came expenses. These expenses had to get paid, and I refused to put a donate link on my pages. So I went back to work, at one point with 2 jobs. With all of the Covid 19 activity, one job disappeared and the other I had been working extra hours, and suddenly they have all dried up and I am down to almost none. This is a big factor in the decision process.

Royalties are the biggest expense by far, and I probably didn’t pay enough. Lets face it, we had listeners in 170 countries and can I say for a fact that I paid every country, no. But I paid into a number of companies that represented the major countries and regions and tried to be as fair and legal as possible. There were the monthly fees for streaming services to carry my stations, one for each station. There is the fees for websites, and yes Indie and AOR we did through a free web hosting company, and to be honest I wish I hadn’t. Whats the old line, you get what you pay for. We also wanted to share the interviews that had been done, and was a very popular aspect actually. But to have so many I needed more than a simple free plan on Soundcloud, so some more monthly fees. There were other expenses, like the licensing for the broadcast software I used. To get a professional sound and have some broadcast abilities to that help present a better show you need top quality software. The upfront license cost was steep but worth over penny, and there is an annual fee to be able to keep the software up to date. Again worth every cent that went into it. If someone has never worked in radio or broadcasting before you may not notice what is missing in some of the basic free versions, but once you use high end broadcast software you can’t go back.

This is the line that leads me to where I am at. I run everything through a board built by Arrakis systems, and have nothing but the highest praise for their equipment. When I expanded this studio, it was set up in such a way that future expansion would be very easy, without having to go out and buy new equipment. But i suddenly found myself having connectivity issues, and microphone issues and they were not easily solved. It got to the point I wasn’t able to have a live microphone to do shows, and that would make things difficult. As I write this I have the schematic open for the board in front of me and was on the phone with their support people just the other day. What an incredible group, and very helpful.

As many of you know, Sunny and I parted ways about a month ago, and that left a gap in getting things done that I had to fill myself. I know many people often thank the KB Team, lol, but apart from her work with me over the past year, and a couple others input and help with some items in the past, this is an operation of one. Again as I have mentioned previously, no complaints.

With the extra workload for the stations, the declining income to cover expenses and the technical issues it just became to big a hurdle to jump. It was not easy but I needed to make the right decision. It came at an even more difficult time then whats mentioned. You may remember a few months ago, with the suggestion of Adam (Neil and Adam) and his wife Brijette back in February of this year. We had begun to work on a show for people with Autism, and had done a great deal of work in learning about what would be required, and how to go about doing it. It had been planned to start I think the 1st of May, I have lost track now, but when Covid 19 happened, things got off track. It wasn’t cancelled just delayed, so this takes the wind out of that program as well, something I regret very much.

Earlier in the year we did a survey about music festivals, and the idea for one that KB would be the host and title sponsor of. The idea of course was greatly received, and through the last couple of months an idea had developed on how to pull it off. It was and still is something that think would be amazing, but it too is sidelined.

So where does this all leave me. With a very deep desire to be able to get back on the air and pick up the pieces where I left off. Will Sunny be a part of the scene, I don’t know and can’t answer that. Her work has been invaluable and I would love to be able to get to a point we could continue this together. But until that time I need to plan to work alone on this project. My first issue is to continue to work to get all the technical issues worked out. If this can’t be solved, and cheaply then the rest is irrelevant. I then need to decide whether to maybe scale things back to cut some costs or do I look for another job. Retirement is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I have no doubt the artists will be generally happy if I get back on the air, and I am not worried about drawing back listeners. You provide a good product and they will return.

For now, I wait and try not to rush anything. I will stay in touch via Twitter as much as possible and if there is any update or change in plans, let everyone know.

Thank you again to everyone for the incredible messages. I do feel truly blessed to have met so many wonderful people.

 

Al Yardy

 

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