Podcasting Tips

Q&A with Victoria Ryder of CodeBass Radio

We spoke to Victoria Ryder about what makes the independent radio CodeBass Radio tick. Driven by volunteers made up of developers, designers and others within the community, it’s pure passion on the airwaves, where quality content and pushing your limits has brought success.

Hi Victoria, do you mind introducing yourself?

Howdy! I am the Executive Producer of CodeBass Radio, a community-driven internet radio station. Our tagline is “Where Geek & Music Combine – Immense music and an awesome community of listeners.”  I coordinate the 24/7 operations with the help of my Sr. Producer, Ben Farrell, my manager, James Allen, and a team of all around awesome people. Our team, staffed 100% by volunteers, is comprised of full-time Application Developers, Designers, Audio Visual Engineers and other talented geeky professionals.

How did CodeBass Radio start?

Our core team is made up of various professionals with a special interest in broadcasting who either lacked the time or resources required to pursue the field via more traditional routes. We are all trendsetting personalities who like to push our own limits, as well as to inspire others to do the same. We are all very active within our sphere of influence, so  the ease and speed with which we are growing is no surprise.  The quality of content is pretty amazing, and it only gets better as we all learn our way together.

Sounds like such a refreshing change from the norm. You represent an online independent station, what do you think are the pros and cons of being in independent media? How did you overcome the difficulties?

While the on-demand services such as Spotify are taking hold and definitely have their place in the world of music, the CodeBass Radio team still believes in the personal touch of human-produced radio around which we can build a solid community of good, productive, inspired and motivated people.  We are proud to say that our listenership has steadily increased. However, we believe in the quality of listeners and creativity of content more than quantity.

Being independent, we definitely have a lot more control over the stream. However, licensing and legal issues become a bit more complex.  It is definitely a trade-off, and I always have my eyes open for better hosting opportunities that allow for the sort of flexibility we currently enjoy with regard to both content and stream origination.

We agree, though, on the importance of the quality of listeners and content. Speaking of which, what makes good content?

Remembering that the listeners are people, actual and whole. They are friends and community members with a desire to feel involved in determination of that content to some extent.  We do what we do because we love the human side – the interaction.  It is absolutely no fun for us if it’s not fun for the listeners. Our shows cover a variety of different formats and genres. The key factor, though, is that most of them are directly interactive with our listening community to some degree. Many of the broadcasters are out there tweeting from their own Twitter accounts. The listeners know they’re conversing with the broadcasters.  Most of the listener interaction takes place at Twitter hash tag #CodeBassRadio vs. the station’s main account.  However, we’ve had shows take call-ins via Skype and the like. Our most popular show, The 80sRewind Show, can be viewed behind-the-scenes via webcam with lots of regulars interacting in the webcam’s chat channel. We love to see our numbers rising, but we’re most interested in maintaining quality content and knowing that each number counts.

We do have two station accounts on Twitter:

@codebass – my account with consistent periodic updates and general chatter.

@codebassradio – station metadata, for those who want more frequent “Now Playing” updates. We also have a Facebook Page. We try to reach out only in the places that afford the most interaction.

Yes! Interaction is always a tried and true practice. How do you think broadcasters should approach monetizing their content?

This is hard to say and a question with which I am currently wrestling.  My ultimate desire is never to run advertisements in the stream. Whether our station can remain self-sustaining without them remains to be seen.  That desire is basically the one that keeps us determined to remain wholly independent.  At the very least, we desire a final say over the type and frequency of advertising. I am hoping that using a portion of the CodeBass Radio website for advertising will negate the need for in-stream advertising.  We just recently started leasing ad space in our sidebar.

There are other streams of revenue you can tap.. selling t-shirts or being a reseller of products you like, asking listeners to donate support. There are many avenues of exploration, but you must be ready to be out there promoting all the time. There is no magic switch. If you want to be focused on people vs. automation, it is that much more challenging.

Did you follow Radiodays Europe? What did you think about the quote by Tim Davie: “The most important thing you can do today is tell your mobile operator that you want phones to receive a broadcast signal, as IP can’t deliver us the growth that we need”?

I do not follow that publication and hesitate to speak out-of-context.  My viewpoints are diametrically opposed based on my own experiences, but I am certainly not experienced enough to debate BBC’s Director of Audio. He is welcome to bring me over there for a few days to walk around in his shoes, if he’d like to enlighten me. I am open-minded and can never learn enough about broadcasting technology!

Lastly, anything you’d like to share with Spreaker’s community?

Just that it has been fun to watch Spreaker grow. We at CodeBass Radio value advancing technology, and we especially value exploration and collaboration in this constantly changing landscape of online social A/V.  We’ll continue to observe and learn from you, and we hope you will stop by and give us a listen.. maybe chat us up on Twitter!

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