The End Of Obscurity?

I have to admit, I do find it annoying that I also MUST have a blog to justify the existence of my long running Radio Band-couver show, as well as my facebook, twitter, youtube, soundcloud, daily motion, hype machine and gawd knows what else I have signed up for I’ve forgotten. haha

Back with the tour: Band-cover is a radio show that’s been scraping away, telling you where you can see live/local acts in Vancouver, having acts in to play live on the air, as well as: attending local live music shows, booking bands at small watering holes, and doing sound at small venues ,on and off, for 15 years. Band-couver definitely doesn’t just play the music and then goes home. haha

All this, in and around a radio station, that’s still depressingly obscure, called Vancouver Co-operative radio at 102.7 FM. Wednesdays 3:30-5pm pacific time, and online at http://www.cooradio.org.

To make the show, and what I’ve been doing for such a rediculously long time, sound more impressive to someone who isn’t familiar with the local music scene in Vancouver, ( and many still aren’t ), I’ve aired music by such people as Mother Mother, Dan Mangan, Rich Hope and others YEARS before a station like The Peak was even a thought. I have to say, I prefer BBC’s 6 Music ,but, that’s another story.

I’ve also aired a myriad of acts ,local and not so local, that Vancouver radio would never think of airing: old and new.

So the field is a lot wider with what I play on the show. But I have to be honest: I’m not the biggest hip hop fan. Although I have aired the odd act that goes beyond the usual, shallow ‘bling-bling’: my riches, my bitches, my gun and my dick as I like to coin it.

I’ve also had these myriad of acts in to play live, with myself doing the sound mix, as well as interviewing them, in some of the most ‘live music unfriendly’ conditions:

1.) Headphones that don’t work. The acts hear just the mix going over the air–and in ‘one channel’ sometimes ,and worst of all, it’s not the mix coming out of my mixing board–where you can adjust the volume ,on and off the air, on separate things like vocals, guitars etc.

2. ) No permanent set up for a live music mixing board in the control room. Thus the setting up, tearing down and general chaos in doing live music at Co-op radio over the years. Our new engineer is working on this.

3. ) No talk back/communication system between the control room and the studio. So I’ve had to run back and forth, between the control room and the studio, in order to talk to the bands about levels and such, during what little time I have to conduct a soundcheck. This problem is ,thankfully, being looked at by our new engineer Anju.

4. ) The on-air studio is a very cluttered room. Removing furniture is the order of the day before even thinking about setting up mics and ,something that’s very alien to Co-op Radio, a monitor or 2 for ‘electric’ acts, so they can actually hear their vocals.

Using headphones is pointless, as the vocals are usually obscured through headphones for full on electric acts, even though I hear them just fine on my side of glass.

Some monumental technical challenges to overcome every week to say the very least.

CBC is so spoiled. hahahaha

But on to the hopefully good news:

Now: after 15 long years, Co-op is partaking in a frequency swap with The Peak.

By mid August of this very year of 2012, Co-op will be at 100.5 FM and said station at 102.7 FM.

I’m hoping this increases the station’s ,and thus Radio Bandcouver’s, profile after sticking it out for so long with the technical challenges and the great lack of resources we’ve endured over the years. ‘Burn out is imminent! Burn out is imminent!’

Bandcouver is ,most likely, the only radio show, certainly in Vancouver, where the host is also: the producer, the programmer, the researcher, the operator, the interviewer, the fundraiser, the promoter, the sound engineer and volunteering his time doing all this. Not to mention going into his own pocket to get decent sound equipment. In short: Ministry of Everything

Probably the only interviewer of bands who also mixes them on the air. I don’t have the benefit of a crew of 10 people assigned to separate duties.

Yes, this probably sounds egotistical ,but, I think someone who does all this on the air every week, and: goes out to local/live music shows, does sound at some of them, puts up posters for gigs, knows something about music etc and doesn’t have an un-bearably HUGE ego, ( I can be moody at times though ), is something to be applauded, not ignored.

I hope the swap with said station is the beginning of better things.

#1 The escape from obscurity. We do too much good for the community to be this obscure for this long.

#2 Better online equipment.

The end of constantly using bandcamp, facebook, myspace ( Nooo!!!! ) and Youtube pages, not to mention your own digital player/recorder, to play current music on the air with a PAINFULLY slow internet connection.

I’m told professional offline/online players will replace this painful process.

#3 The end of the ‘crappy MONO’ era. Where music mixed for stereo sounds  pathetic on the air. ie: vocals missing, half of the guitar mix is missing. You get the picture.

Being in stereo on the radio ,as well as online, would be a huge, welcome change.

It ,for one, makes mixing bands a hell of a lot more fun.

I won’t go into the sound problems Co-op Radio’s been having online recently. haha

#4  A much more ‘live music friendly’ set up for live bands, which doesn’t require moving furniture, and loads of unnecessary clutter in the room.

This is in the opening stages of being realized, thanks to our new engineer ,Anju, and her technical assistant Nancy.

*This may even inspire more programmers at Co-op to have live music on their shows, making Co-op radio a much more vibrant and exciting place.

#5 More revenue for the station ,and for Radio Bandcouver, to keep it going.

We have money coming in from the swap to cover new equipment and promotional costs. But that doesn’t cover the regular, everyday expenses to continue running the station. Yes, we’re getting money with the swap ,but, that doesn’t get us out of the woods by any stretch.

Co-op is a listener-powered/community driven radio station. We want to keep it that way. Even with all its technical shortcomings, the station empowers you-the listener, and lets you create your own content with your own show if you so wish.

Back with the tour:

#6 Technical assistance with setting up and tearing it down of mics, stands and cables, instead of doing it all myself all the time.

#7 Energy freed up to produce live shows for the Bandcouver program to further increase its profile and revenue.

#8 Not having to do all the promotion and fundraising for the show by myself all the time.

By the way, if you have a few bucks to spare to help keep Radio Bandcouver on the air, the number is 604-684-8494 or on-air at 604-684-7561.

You can also pick up a Listener’s Guide at most public libraries and record stores like Audiopile, Zulu, Neptoon and Red Cat. Just fill out the form on the back.

Remember to put your finnacial support towards Radio Bandcouver. The accountant needs to know which show the money’s going towards.

Musicians are part of the community too.

There’s more ,but, that’s what’s been screaming to get out of my head right now.

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~ by bandcouver on April 3, 2012.

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