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Research on Micro Radio

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The Joint Statement on Micro Radio

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    Concerts and Benefits

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    Rogue Radio Research Main Page / Origins and Strategies / Capitalism v. Enterprise / Listener Support: On-air, Canvassing, and Tabling / T-Shirts, Stickers, Buttons, Bumper Stickers, and Whatnot / Staff Funding / Non-profit Status / Concluding Comments
    Concerts and Benefit Shows
    Putting on a show, whether music, poetry, or theater is a great way to raise funds and to educate and inform the public about your station. Many stations have had great success with these types of fund raisers. Organization and publicity is the key.

    "We have had several benefits for the station which consist of bands donating their talent at a local bar. Contributors pay at the door, the station gets the take at the door, the bar gets drink sales, and the bands get to be heard. At one bar, the benefit set a record for beer sales. We find that if we organize well and do a good job on publicity, these fund-raisers are very successful."
    -Free Radio Asheville 89.1 fm, Asheville, North Carolina

    Your station is, of course, a great way to promote your benefit. Making flyers is also a common way to bring in crowds. Post where your audience is. University and college campuses are a good bet. Don't forget to ask local progressive business owners to put flyers in their windows. An information table in a busy spot a few days before the show can also raise interest. Do a little research about your local media (newspapers, weekly's, commercial and public radio and TV) and find out what you need to do to get a PSA (public service announcement) on the air or in print. With a little warning, you can often get into a calendar of events.

    Organization is not a tool of the patriarchy, it is a way to get things done. Besides the obvious benefits, it will be easier to convince clubs and cafe's to help you out if the see you as having your act together. These shows benefit both the station and the business owner. Try putting two or three people in charge, that way there is always someone around who knows what's up. At the Carrier Current station I worked at, we formed our own production company to organize our shows.

    "One of the best fund-raisers for micropower has to be musical benefits. Radio illegal made $600 from one show at a small club in Berkeley. Of course, you can lose your ass doing a benefit too, but that's the trick-keep your expenses (and guest list) to a minimum! Anyway, there are ways to make it work. It just takes a LOT of work to succeed."
    -Paul Griffen, Association of Micro Power Broadcasters, Radio Illegal, Free Radio Berkeley, and others.

    Remember why you are doing the show. It is a benefit for the station and not a chance to be cool and let a bunch of friends in for free. Just keep the cover low, pass station staff only, and make everyone else pay. Make sure you know the costs going in and that you have a good chance to make enough money to make the time and effort worthwhile.

    "We found that being in solid with the civic committees, etc., opened up a lot of free doors to us for benefits. Clubs feel like they than get the pressure taken off in terms of being hassled about underage drinking, overcrowding, late hours, etc., if they perform 'community service.' They do have to feel like you're connected with the community."
    -Steve Provizer, Allston Media Alliance, Free Radio Allston

    Mixing over and under age crowds around alcohol can be a major pain in the ass. It requires a lot of club provided security (which costs $) and is a magnet for the cops and a great pretext to shut you down if, say, you have been busting the chops of the local power-structure on the air. Many club owners will want to skip the hassle of mixing over and under age crowds all together. Of course, the major attraction of having a show at a bar is that the bar can make its money selling the booze and beer and you can get the gate. Getting a non-drinking venue for all ages from a vets hall or community group is a good option as well. This can usually be done for free or cheap, but often requires more work in terms of clean-up and providing your own security. Although you can usually sell stuff yourself at these places which isn't usually the case with clubs. You can also retail sodas and snacks for some extra cash and don't forget to put out those stickers and T-shirts! Again, mix up your venues (clubs and community centers). Do both.

    Tips for the Snack Bar
    Buy by the case. Drinks in cans only. No hot liquid. Only sell food that doesn't require plates or utensils. Popcorn is good as are bake at home and individually wrapped brownies. Keep it simple. Double your cost per item and round up to the nearest dollar, that way you don't deal with change. Stock up on singles and five's and don't except $20's.

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