NOTE: I’m about to use a lot of technical jargon that may not be 100% understandable by some. If you need to know what something means, feel free to comment below and I will try to translate.
6 Months ago, I announced the “groundbreaking” of a thing that I have been wanting to do for a few years now—a Radio station that plays nothing but TV music; Mostly theme songs (including full-length versions & covers), but also Original songs that were written for Television; and slap a bunch of TV sound bytes in between them for nostalgia sake. Many months have passed, and you might be curious as to what exactly is going on (or, if you’re Just finding out about this today, you could also be wondering what this is all about—in which case, here ‘ya go, come back in about 5 minutes).
Short Answer: Life keeps getting in the way, and we (by which I mean “I” and maybe 2 other people) have been using what little spare time I have to get everything* put together (*Everything meaning music, imaging, calibrating sound quality, identifying artists/composers, and altogether making sure I don’t suck at this like I sucked the last time I tried to make an online radio station that lasts).
Shorter Answer: “Here’s where Cameron goes Berserk”
…which I think might also be that actor’s reaction to appearing in that Domino’s Pizza commercial—you KNOW which one.
Long Answer: Putting something together from scratch is probably one of the most difficult things a person can do—Especially something that has never/rarely/seldom been tried before, and Also if you’re a complete nobody who doesn’t have the clout to raise money in a heartbeat—Not all of us are Warren Buffett or Bono–not that I don’t have my ways (More on that later). Then again, why do you think they call it a “Passion Project”? You have to be passionate enough in order to see things through right down to the bitter end, and we (nee: “Me + 2”) haven’t even hit the starting line yet…hell, I’m having a time just trying to get the grandstand built……….But enough metaphors, here’s how I spent my non-work & non-blog free time the past 6 months:
As of this writing, I have about 800+ pieces of music that I hope to use on this channel—which may seem like a lot, but don’t forget, TV Theme songs (the ones that air on TV) run about 30-60 seconds long. So when you take those, and add it to the other stuff (the “Full Length” stuff), it may sound like a lot, but it falls just under 20 hours worth of content—the Goal? AT LEAST 48 Hours. Why? Because you don’t want to create “burnout” (I.e. Hearing the same stuff over again too soon). The more music, the better. Of course, the music can only sound as good as the source you get the music from; which brings me to my first problem…
When doing research for this venture, I have discovered that the average level of sound quality a song can have when streaming is 128Kbps, a level that some consider “Broadcast Quality”. Other people consider 192Kbps “Broadcast Quality”, but that’s if you’re willing to shell out the money to afford a higher quality stream. Of the 800+ TV songs I have, only 550 of them have a sound quality of 128Kbps or Less, another hundred or so fall between 128 & 192, leaving a big chunk of songs that need to be “remastered” so that they play at the proper streaming frequency. If I were to play JUST those songs, I would suddenly wind up with 13 hours of content. What’s more, some of the theme songs I have come from varying sources over the past 20 years (yes, I’ve been collecting TV theme songs That long, thank you very much). Some of the files In my possession have become so degraded, that I have to find other sources to get them. But considering this is a Radio Station I’m trying to build, I want to be able to obtain nothing but the best quality audio there is without having to rip the audio from Youtube or some 3rd generation copy at some other website—The music (I feel) has to be Authentic, but if there’s something out of my control, there’s very little I can do about it. So, remastering music is one of Many hurdles that are keeping me from going on the air. But that’s not half as big an issue as Music Identification. What’s Your favorite TV show? Does your favorite show have a Theme song? If so, do you know who’s composing the song? Or Singing it? Well, that’s the case for about 30% of these songs. I may know them by heart, but I don’t know who’s responsible for them without spending marathon hours on Google, Wikipedia, Shazam, and to an extent Jamie Foxx to research them. Identifying all of the nuts & bolts of a song is one of the more important aspects of a radio station—if not for the listener to wonder who’s singing the song, but also so that it’s easier to enter data when I eventually load the song into the library—to say nothing of the biggest and most important reason this needs to be done.
Ever wonder how musicians/singers/everybody associated with the record industry gets paid without sleeping around? It’s through these clearing houses where every time a song plays, an angel gets its wings…to the tune of about (INSERT MINISCULE CENT FIGURE HERE) per airplay. They can’t get paid until the song, artist, composer, etc. are logged into a tabulation provided by either of these clearing houses—and what’s more, (With ONE Exception to the rule I might Have to use again) until I get the permission from these clearing houses to play music, I can’t run a radio station. So I have to pay for licensing……There are a number of ways to do this, each of them costly but varying in difficulty. I’ve been told by experts about a website called Stream Licensing; which would be the cheapest way to go, but also the most time consuming. Basically, I’d be able to run my station at a reasonable price depending on how many listeners I get in a month—but I have to enter Every Single Song & Production element in order for things to remain legal. There is also the more expensive/less toiling way via obtaining a “Blanket License” through BMI…If I even began to explain the ins & outs of how that works, I’ll go gray before I turn 35, so instead, just look at this (https://www.bmi.com/digital_licensing) and you’ll pretty much see what I’m up against in terms of just how expensive & expansive getting one of these licenses can be. Then there’s the matter of getting the damn thing on the air somehow…preferably on the cheap. So I have to look for a Streaming service ON TOP of a BMI License—and don’t even get me started on advertising/social media, where there’s so many “Right Ways” to do things, you don’t know what to believe.
With all of these things destined to weigh heavily on my shoulders in addition to my “Real Life” happenings, one has to wonder if it’s worth it to continue to try & get this off the ground. The answer is a resounding Yes. If you read the first “TV Tunes” related entry 5 minutes ago, you would’ve noticed a poem I put in at the end; “It couldn’t be done” by Edgar Albert Gest. I put that poem in there as sort of a declaration, but also to prove a point. How many times did Thomas Edison fail before inventing the Light bulb? How many times did the Wright Brothers crash before getting off the ground? How many Pocket Fish did Ron Popeil let Swim away before the Pocket fisherman cut them all down to size……….wait, that’s not right…….anyway. The point is, if you’re truly passionate about something, you need to see it through to the bitter end. We may not be 100% where we should be by the time we (SPOILER ALERT) Launch in September, but at least the world will know that we are giving it a try. As for Fundraising, don’t worry too much about that–Thanks to eBay, I was able to get enough to make it past the launch, but I need a booster rocket in order to stay in orbit. Sometime before we launch in the Fall, we will be opening up some sort of crowdfunding to help get this sucker off the ground, and it will be at a reasonable price. From there, we only hope to keep this going as long as we can; I want this to be a “Listener Supported” station in every sense of the word (whatever that means, I’ve been awake for 18 hours today, cut me some slack), and I can only do it with your help–again, once we get to it, there’s still a lot of work to do before that happens…and hopefully I can get it all done without passing out a la Alec Guinness in “River Kwai”…Madness…
Don’t Touch that Dial, September 16th.