Just an update

I have had almost 5 weeks now to look at things, and step away from the craziness that was KB Radio and KB Country Radio. this isn’t the first time I stepped away, doing so last year as well but at the request of artists and listeners I attempted a comeback. My biggest problem, lol, loaded line there, is I am not great at the promotional side of things. I have a hard time reaching a hand out, and when I was convinced I was extremely grateful to the few who gave and did so much. But much like life itself, you can’t rely on one or two people to do everything.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect everyone to contribute and would never dream of charging for airplay. But it can be frustrating being on the end of so many requests for favours, and help and the only time you hear from artists is when they needed something. We obviously cant have a personal relationship with everyone there just aren’t enough hours in the day, but when you would get emails and messages from someone every other week looking for airplay, or how about an interview or how about this or that, yet at the same time you never see a like or retweet on Twitter. If something is happening, they never seem to know about it, wrapped up in their own circumstances.

It truthfully is part of the frustration that goes into this effort. Maybe I take it too seriously, lol But I do put my entire effort into something to try and make it successful. I don’t ask for social media likes or follows. I am very particular about that kind of thing. I would not follow everyone who follows my station(s), especially if they are not being played, and their genre of music is not what we played. I often write I am not a collector of followers. It took me 5 years to get up to 10,000 followers. I could add another 10,000 in 5 weeks, all I have to do is follow everyone back that follows me and that goes to two friends, who tell 2 friends, and so on. So I put little stock in number of followers for some people, stations, organizations etc. If you look at someone like Elton John, who has nearly a million followers, yet they only follow 21 themselves. If I follow 2000 back as an example, I find it impossible just to keep up with everything I am tagged in, let alone all the tweets from those 2000 people. Isn’t that what you want from a follower, someone to respond or comment on your posts? Its why I have always considered Social media a tool and not taken a lighthearted approach to it.

Let me ask you though. If you are a musician, using that as an example, and you are promoting your music, isn’t it important to keep up with some of your followers? What do I mean, if you have fans in say a fan club and they are always posting interesting items, and promoting you and your music wouldn’t it be important to check on them daily or every other day, based on their usage? I mean if you are looking to buy a new guitar and are on a tight budget, won’t you look around for the best deals. If you cant find one in your price range, do you give up or do you watch specific sites for sales or better deals? If you can do that why can’ t you watch for people or organizations that are working with you? If Radio Station X is playing your music, wouldn’t it be good to keep an eye on their posts, things that might be relevant or helpful to you? If they played your song once, and never again, don’t you want to know that kind of information? If they played it weekly as part of a show for 2 months, wouldn’t you want to know?

I mean its great that you are getting the play, don’t get me wrong, but paying attention to the details makes the difference in many things. I tried to pay attention to the details, because its the little things that can make a difference. I remember a disagreement with an artist, Electric Cowshit or some name like that, and in the end I was criticized for the number of times I played their song. They thought it was once or twice, but couldn’t be bothered to do the little things, and when I pulled their music from my stations, because if you are ignorant and shit on me, its going to happen. I let him know via email with a copy of the play count for his song, and over the previous 3 or 4 months it was something like 50 or 60 times or more. I don’t remember the specifics, though the info is filed away if I need it for future reference. You don’t have to kiss somebody’s ass, and if they want you to do that, I would tell them to F.O. but at least know about the people you are working with. Oh and since that exchange in the last 6 months prior to shutting the stations down, it got played 0 times. Good job artist, I salute you lack of character and lack of knowledge.

As I ponder possibilities about returning the stations to the air, I know you can never get rid of all of the frustrations. Its just life and shit happens. But I do wonder about people who continue to send me music through Twitter DM’s and through my new FB account. The twitter profiles say the former homes of the stations, and the image is of Headstones, and the pinned Tweet is about the end. So I do believe too often things in life are affected for the many because of the actions of a few. But overall it was the actions of a few who tried to help keep the stations afloat, and not the many. Now its the actions of a few who make me scratch my head and wonder how worthwhile it is. I have a very basic plan in its infancy set to tweak and finalize to attempt a restart again. I don’t do it for accolades or any one individual but just for the love of great music.

I am sure I will have an official announcement about what it will take to get the stations back on the air soon. I try not to let the little things and stupid shit bother me. I am emotional at time, lol as most of you know. But even on days that aren’t sunny, we don’t need it. Lots of great things happen even on the rainiest days, and when the sunshine does appear, it will find life has gone on just fine without it. I will not however come back with a half fast plan that will put me in a position in 12 months again to have to pull the plug. I mean I went back to work initially to pay for this little hobby, and am looking that as an option now, but the pieces have to fit together. So watch for a plan to be announced in the coming days. Please watch for posts etc about things that are happening. If you find me on FB and want to follow, feel free, but this is a personal account at this time. It isn’t for receiving music etc. but rather a way for me to keep an eye on what is happening with my musical friends.

I need to add one final comment, and if it pisses you off, that’s okay. There have been a lot of conversations around the world about freedom of speech or along those lines about the ability to speak about what we think and believe. I worked very hard to keep all politics off of my social media, not from me, from others, and to this point even though the stations aren’t active I refuse to take part in that kind of posting and sharing. I have no problem with someone doing as they see fit with their own social media, but remember I have the discretion to unfollow or block as I see fit. Case in point, someone recently posted on their FB page about the death of a political party member, who just passed away. The comments were unflattering and in my opinion just plain ignorant. This is not a statement about Death Penalty crimes, being right or wrong, but more on just being civilized human beings. When a serial killer is put to death, I don’t go out and applaud it. They may be despicable humans, but chances are they weren’t raised that way. They likely had parents or siblings, that despite everything they were still family. These people would be suffering from just being related, but it doesn’t do anybody any good to applaud the death and make light hearted comments about it. When a politician dies, or any other person and you feel the need to make frivolous comments about it, well I am sorry, but in my opinion that’s is a classless act and I will not follow or support you. I don’t want to be considered as agreeing with you or condoning your comments by maintaining that following or support.

When we look at society these days and how we want to erase history that is not favourable, how people who have worked hard their whole lives suddenly find themselves black listed for things they did as a kid, in a completely different time in our lives I wonder is it worth the risk. In a year when you get an offer or something wonderful is going to happen, and suddenly your past comment about someone whose politics you hated is brought to light, will you suddenly find yourself regretting it. Lets face it, we all talk with friends, and share how we feel with those closest to us, and who knows what will controversial in 5 years from now, but why risk it with something you know just is not a good look on anyone. I do applaud your fortitude to make such a bold statement though, and wish you luck going forward. I personally or professionally dont want my name attributed to those beliefs.

al

The End of KB Radio: A final goodbye

I wrote a brief post that was up for a short time about shutting the stations down. I wasn’t happy with the wording, and although it was honest and upfront, it almost sounded embarrassing in some ways to me. I have to tell you it is hard to express things without it sounding wrong and even angry in some ways but the reality of the situation is just that. All of those things combined, or emotions combined.

So lets go back to the beginning of sorts, and go back about 1 year. It was a year ago around this time when things had gotten to be too much, and the costs skyrocketing that I decided I couldn’t handle it any more. It was at this time that some wonderful listeners and artists told me I should not give up, and it was suggested that I do a fund raiser. Well that sounds easy, but the logistics are not all that easy. Add to that my huge reluctance to put my hand out, especially to the same artists I am trying to help. But I did it and thank you so much to those that supported the effort to give me and us 8 more months of great music on the radio. But here is the reality, like most things in life it is often the few who support the many. If you talk to people who run charities and donations projects for whatever reason, they will tell you that they operate often thanks to a small group of people. The same people month after month give their money, their time and their efforts and it is always that way. It happened with my fundraiser as well. That is not a complaint in any way, but I offer this example. Most of the money needed to operate goes to Royalty payments that go back to artists. If all the artists I played payed 1 dollar a year I could operate on that. But I would never ask each individual to do that as it certainly isn’t my style. So the financial side of things just are not plausible at this time. I have tried to get sponsors and worked very hard at that, but especially in the Covid environment it was difficult even to get a no let alone an answer at all. I should add, that prior to Covid, I had gone back to work out of Retirement, doing 3 different jobs to pay for the extra costs of the station operations. Those jobs have gone away with Covid which is what started the whole ball rolling for needing fundraising assistance.

When we look past the financial aspect of the operation we get to the meat and the bones. the bare bones of KB Radio and KB Country Radio is the music that is submitted to be played. As i surpassed 200, than 300 emails a week, with 1, 2, 5 songs in each email the tasks got tougher, it became harder to keep up with the flow of music into the station. I brought in some help to streamline the process and we started to make headway. But when one door opens another door closes. LOL I don’t think that is exactly how that line goes, but i believe in signs and that everything happens for a reason. Approximately 2 months ago I ran into a roadblock with my web site host. They arbitrarily changed their packages and pricing with no grandfather options. Everyday website functions suddenly were worthy of extra charges. There wasn’t any extra service provided, just suddenly to have a link to where my streaming host was needed to have an extra charge. Just one example of many. Now if this had been a good company and things had never been a problem, I wouldn’t have been happy but I also believe you pay for quality. Well this company has not been good, or consistent or worth another penny of my or anyone’s money. I spent 2 months researching other website hosts, reading reviews from users and trade reviews. I spent 4 weeks exchanging emails with a new company, about the details of changing my website and moving to them. We talked costs, the difference in costs Canadian dollars and US dollars, as in what they would be billing in. We talking about my streaming links, the fact i have two domains and transferring them. The idea of moving more than 2 very active station emails without interrupting the flow of business. Email after email i was assured how easy it was and how good the customer service was and how they would assist in the smooth transition. the reviews I read affirmed all of the points and i decided I had a new company to work with.

This past Thursday afternoon I started the process and entered an abyss. Lets cut to the short version and over the following 30 hours spent more than 20 of it in chats with customer service with the new company and the old company that I was leaving. To say it was a frustrating process is an understatement. No part of the transfer was easy, and the parts that the new company didn’t make difficult the old company did their very best to make my life hell. Suddenly their was extra costs, not previously mentioned to me. Suddenly I was told, I would have to rebuild my websites from scratch, when previously I was told Its an easy transfer and just a change in where things point on line. Suddenly my email with 300 plus emails a week, and all business emails stopped until who knows when. The down side was the old company was due to shut down my websites at midnight Friday. It was 11pm Friday night and I had one hour left to make some kind of decision. So my choices were, stay with the old company and pony up the huge dollars, which I didn’t have so not really an option. Stick with the new company, and not have any active websites until I could rebuild them both from top to bottom, or any active email, plus the other issues with domain transferal still hanging out there. The third option scrap both of the first two, go without and try and find another company on short notice, to somehow dig out of the hole.

Things were already a struggle financially and mentally, with the long hours and truthfully the toll it takes on a person, albeit working long hours doing something I loved, but trying to find a way to continue to do it without going insane.

I believe things happen for a reason, and for some reason, things had gone to shit and since we no longer had apps for people to download, again due to rising costs in the past, I counted on the website for listeners and so much interaction. With all of the need to maintain the websites, something kept getting in the way and making it impossible for at best a short period to even move forward. I mean no website, would mean, no voting on two stations, the countdowns would be stopped, the links for interviews, all the links for other shows, plus the very main feature, the ability to open up the site and listen easily to either station. Something was stopping all of that, and as painful as it was, I was also tired of fighting. When you fight so much and struggle to make things work, and it keeps failing to move forward there is only one logical conclusion. You pull the plug, or get a divorce.

At midnight Friday I shut the stations off. Believe me when I say this was not an easy decision to make. I feel as though I am letting so many people down who supported me and the stations. I also decided at that point I needed to turn off the social media. Did you know nearly a year after Sunny left the picture I still get multiple emails a week, addressed to Sunny in the music submissions. The funniest part of that is, although she assisted with the music and her signature accompanied mine on email replies, she was never responsible for the music submissions. Plus despite a year having past, and countless messages going out, some people still didn’t notice she was gone. So the social media stoppage was solely to stop the flood of messages, not from those who have been so important to the stations over the past years, but to those that I only heard from when they needed something.

So will the stations come back? Never say never. But I have no intention of getting back into a position where i have to fight every week and month just to function. I am not a halfway kind of person, and would rather not do it than put in some piss poor attempt to make it work. What would that take to bring it back. I don’t have an answer for you, but i can tell you the past year has taken a toll on many people, myself included right down to planning to get married and suddenly having that go away. So I plan on trying to stay in contact with artists and promoters to support from the outside. I hope to watch life get better all around me, and see where everything goes over the coming weeks and months. I also plan on watching the growing number of KB stations, and podcasts and shows, that have nothing to do with me see how they do without having the good coat tails of my stations to ride on and pretend they are a part of.

To my many friends that I have made please reach out if you wish for ways we may stay in contact. For now, as far as music goes, I am going back to simply being a fan, and watching all of the wonderful artists and groups continue to grow and see what they can accomplish. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart and hope that one day we can share a beer or coffee and talk about good memories.

Al Yardy