I am writing today after recovering (almost) from last weekend’s radio broadcast. This time, we were on air for almost 4 days: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We also got mentioned in our local paper on Tuesday!
As is always the case with a station of our size, there were a few problems. For example the Internet broadcasting service wasn’t 100% perfect, particularly on Thursday and Friday. The service was running from the computer in my bedroom, with a radio tuned to 87.7 attached to the end. The problem with this, was that if anything went wrong with it, I had to abandon the studio and sort things out. The customer service at Stream Solutions was very good, once we notified them that we were having problems.
After that, the only problem Internet-wise was that the 25 Watt signal Ofcom granted us wasn’t really powerful enough for me to be able to recieve a good enough signal. There’s not much that can be done about that though, because that’s the maximum amount of power an RSL broadcast is allowed. We are looking into getting new computers and in the long term, we are hoping to be able to run the Internet streaming straight from the desk.
On the plus side, I personally believe that last weekend was our most successful broadcast. Despite the fact that the publicity hasn’t been as good this time, we recieved more e-mails, texts and phonecalls than in previous broadcasts. In radio, it is the number of contacts which are used to work out how many listeners there are; so theoretically, we’ve had more listeners than previously.
The trouble is, that in terms of radio listener statistics, Cirencester is too small an area to survey. In addition, as we are only broadcast a short-term RSL, we don’t have the support of RAJAR – the independant organization who calculate the number of listeners a radio station has. That means that we have to do all the work ourselves, and whilst surveys and lots of maths give a rough idea of how many people are listening, there’s no way of knowing how accurate the calculations are!
I think that the highlight of the broadcast, was certainly the outside broadcast which came live from the Cirencester Advent Festival, hosted by Liz Young and Tom Robinson (with technical support provided by Alex Tallon and Tom Robinson). This event was the reason we chose last weekend over any other in November. And despite all the technical problems, the Advent broadcast went very smoothly. Which is an achievement for us, especially considering that the technology only started working about a minute before it went on air!
Of course, perhaps the biggest reason why I believe last weekend was our most successful so far, was the fact that the amount of time spent on planning the broadcast was reduced considerably by the timing of our last broadcast.
Theoretically, we hold an AGM in June of each year. However, because we broadcast in July our AGM was knocked out of the way for a few weeks; and after that everyone was off on their anual holidays. As a result, the AGM wasn’t completely finnished until half way through August! That meant that we didn’t start planning the broadcast properly until September had already started, giving us only 5-6 weeks to raise the money required the licenses, plus time to plan the schedule and publicity.
So, overall a very successful broadcast. The next one won’t be until the Summer 2010, so hopefully things will get done well in advance… and that should theoretically mean it’ll be another very successful broadcast with absolutely no problems… 😉
If you’re in Cirencester and would like to either meet the team and provide your feedback on the broadcast, or maybe even get involved yourself, please come to Cirencester Bingham Library at 7pm this Thursday, December 10.