As I write this at 8:15am CST on a Thursday morning, the stream is full. What does that mean?
Well, first of all it means that we have been getting many new listeners. To them, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Girls Rock Radio!
Secondly, it means that there are only so many “listener slots” that Girls Rock Radio can make available for you to “tune in” and lately, as many people as we have slots have been tuning in to listen to the station. When that happens, and if you are the next person who tries to tune in, you’ll get some sort of error on the tune in page, or in your media player saying something like, “server full.”
You see, unlike broadcast radio where all it takes is a radio with a decent antenna and theoretically an unlimited number of people can tune in – unlimited meaning as many people as you can cram within the reach of the broadcast tower like an entire city like Chicago or LA – Internet Radio works very differently. Each “listener slot,” whether in use or not, costs the Internet radio station on a monthly basis. Current per-listener cost is approximately $1.00 – $2.00 per month. So let’s say an Internet radio station provides slots for up to 1000 people. That would cost $1,000.00 – $2,000.00 per month(!), and it would cost that whether anyone was listening or not. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say a listener slot costs one dollar. Let’s also say that, on average, 300 slots are typically in use. That means that $700 per month is being thrown away.
Obviously, we can’t be throwing huge sums of money to the wind like that, and so how many people are listing is closely monitored, and additional slots are added in small enough increments to keep up with demand while at the same time minimizing throw away dollars.
But there is another grim economic reality at play here. Internet radio is typically listener supported, meaning that Internet radio stations rely on the generosity of those who tune into the station and find value in the music they get to hear. But what if that listener support is not happening? Where does the money for additional capacity come from in then? Good question! It comes out of the pockets of the Internet radio station owner.
In 2011, Girls Rock Radio received a grand total of $260.00 from listener donations. That doesn’t even cover six months worth of music royalty payments, let alone listener slots to make the station available for your listening pleasure. What else does that NOT cover? Remember that Girls Rock Radio is my primary profession, so what else isn’t being covered is any sort of salary, food to put on the table for myself and my daughter, an education for her after high school, any sort of retirement for me in the future, blah blah blah. Cue the violins now?
I truly wish that I could expand the listener capacity of Girls Rock Radio. About one year ago, I doubled the listener capacity of the station, and you guessed it, have been paying for it out of my own pocket despite no additional money coming in at all.
I can’t do it again.
I’m so sorry.
If you truly love Girls Rock Radio and wish to see it survive, and thrive, I urge you to consider the value you are receiving from listening to the station, and acting accordingly. There are donate buttons on the homepage of the Girls Rock Radio website, on the tune in page, on the confirmation page you get when you request a song, and if I work a little harder I could probably think of a few more spots to put them.
I see so much untapped potential in Girls Rock Radio, but without funding assistance it has little option but to limp along in its present state – which may not be much longer, btw, since the computer that broadcasts Girls Rock Radio has been running non-stop for five years straight! More on that another day…
A Little Story:
I had coffee a couple years ago with a woman I had met back then. I explained to her what Girls Rock Radio was, and a little about the financial challenges it faces. She surprised me by saying that it made perfect sense to her that Girls Rock Radio would fail. “Why would you say THAT?,” I asked. Her response shocked me. She said, and I paraphrase here because it’s been a while, but this is the gist of her response, “People view women as second-class citizens, and so anything that is for or about women will never be taken all that seriously, and will be destined to fail.”
Was she right?
When I started Girls Rock Radio, I believed in my heart that an Internet radio station celebrating the music of women artists would be wildly successful. I see other Internet radio stations and their owners thriving, while holding contests giving away vacations for two to exotic locations with their excess donations, while Girls Rock Radio can’t even pay its own monthly bills let alone put food on the table for the guy trying to make it all happen. That said, I keep telling myself that it’s not about me, but rather it’s about the artists, the music, the audience, and bringing them all together. And yet I wonder how long I can keep this up.
So again I ask, was that woman in the coffee shop right?
I truly apologize if you have tried to listen to the station lately and have not been able. I wish, and remain hopeful, the situation for Girls Rock Radio will change.
~ Owner & General Manager, Girls Rock Radio
P.S. There is some listener capacity still available on our lo-fi stream even when the hi-fi stream is full. Look for the links near the bottom of the tune in page.