Share a Story - Change the World
Does this count as a resource you can use? The world's first 24/7/365 Internet Radio Station for Storytellers. You can be on the radio, you can have equal footing, you can point your friends and family to this radio station as an example of your talent and professionalism.
I appreciate the encouragement and excitement in the emails I have received today after I announced the station in my newsletter. There are some regulations that have to be met and records that have to be gathered and processed from the tellers before anyone can be on the radio station. Large Production Houses normally take care of these details for their Artists, ASCAP and other organizations protect the permissions & copyrights of musicians. But no such organization exists that supports storytellers.
But that does not exclude us from complying with the DMCA legal requirements. So, I am building the finishing touches now... on the registration page and the audio file database management system. In just a couple of days the forms will be on the website www.AslanProductionStudio.com and you can be among the first to "register." I can tell you that no one will be paying to be on the radio, but they will have to pay to have my station process all these documents and records. The records that have to be kept are a lot of work; so, the storytellers will have to pay me for processing of their paperwork & stories to be additionally digitally processed (bit rate compatibility issues aligned & resolved) and put into the playlist.
After that, public popularity will keep them on-air or cycle them off-air, just like it is in music radio.
How is this going to work? I cannot charge the tellers per exposure of their stories. (For example; 50 airings of your story for $500 or three months of playlist activity for $300) No... It has to be fair for everyone.
The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) requires artist registration records to be held by the station, along with signed copyright permission documents to broadcast. The nice folks at Live365 have the right, as a condition of my franchise, to inspect the playlist and check it against my records, copies of which I have to submit to them. And I can lose my franchise if these records are incomplete. Plus there are the government violation fines for non-compliance.
Every CD & MP3 of a story must be accompanied with its "metadata" when I upload it to the playlist rotation. Every track is inspected for its metadata complete compliance prior to my being able to push the broadcast button. If the file is missing information in the metadata fields, no broadcast. So I have to also educate storytellers about how to find and complete the metadata for each of their MP3s or they will have to get their Story CDs Mastered in compliance with the RED BOOK Industry Standards & submit the CDs complete with all the metadata. If not, I will have to hand type it in, if possible, or get them to take it back to their recording studio.
There is no squishiness about the copyrights and permissions to broadcast, period. This processing; artist registration and track processing has to be paid for and I will ask the tellers to pay for this administrative work. After the one time teller registration, there will be no other annual registration renewal, and there will only be a onetime fee to process the copyright & permissions documents per story track & that brings the story into the playlist. Once on the playlist, it becomes part of the station's rotation.
The only thing that will keep the story on the station's rotation is popularity. The internet radio player has, for the lack of a better way to say it, a feedback voting module. Those stories that have positive votes or write-in request or sales will stay in rotation. Stories that are disapproved, voted down, or have no sales will fall out of rotation. The cream will rise to the top, Darwinian I know but fair to everyone.
The one time, Lifetime fee for Artist/Storyteller registration with the station is a whopping $25. Once you are registered and it’s on file, the signed faxed copy is in my file cabinet, that’s it. You are registered and the only way you will incur another registration charge is if you move & we have to change your records and of course that fee won't be $25 but something much less. BUT the law requires that these registrations & information be kept current. So if you move, you have 30 days to update your records with the station, just like your driver's license.
As you probably know, traditional radio lives and dies by the 3 minute time unit, i.e. most popular songs are very near 3 minutes in length or some factor of the 3 minutes. But stories are not 3 minutes, as a matter of fact, the length of stories are seldom ever equal. So after a long time of scratching my head I finally figured out how to make it fair for everyone. Stories will be evaluated by their time "UNITS." Three minutes equals “a UNIT." For example, if I have a story that is slightly greater than 14 minutes or exactly 15 minutes long, that is a five (5) unit story. Likewise if the story is 15 min and 3 seconds long, (or even one second longer than 15 minutes) that becomes a six (6) unit story. Because you cannot round down or truncate real time, time waits (rounds down) for no man and you know that the rest of that minute will have to be filled with commercials or PSAs or licensed (I pay for it) music.
This is a huge jigsaw puzzle to be played out every 24 hours times 365 days. But the "UNIT" seems to be the fairest way to handle the processing of someone's short or epic length story. Whether your story is one like Delores Hydock's "Silence" which is 68 minutes 12 seconds (34 UNITS) or Tom Taylor's "Albert" which is just over two minutes (1 UNIT), both Artists will pay the same price for processing the stories per UNIT. Delores' story takes more time to process, upload, & confirm on the playlist. But me & my team, Aslan Productions, will spend the same amount of effort, per Unit processing it as we will, per unit, for Tom's shorter story. To me this seems fair.
I will ask each teller to pay a onetime processing fee of $2 or $3 dollars per UNIT per story they want to have in the playlist rotation. I am still doing my cost/expense ratio study for this figure, but I am leaning toward the side that provides me with the most security. So for now, think; three bucks. After all this is a business and it must make a profit or die. No one will be excluded from being on the radio. Anyone can choose not to participate but no one will be excluded because of politic or connection. If a person has $3 per story unit, they can be on the radio and they can submit as many stories as they'd like to register. This tiny cost will naturally cause them to self edit and send only their best work... at least that is what I think will happen.
Popularity will keep them there in the playlist rotation or dismiss them; by statistics & sales, not prejudice or politics. The audience can vote using the player which has a built-in function to allow for voting, DJ feedback and the selling of the tracks to the listener all without knocking the listener off the radio. Importantly; my station does not get any, not even a dime, of your story sales money. Whatever agreement you currently have with iTunes or Amazon still holds. The Station's money comes from Artist Registration, Story processing, commercials, productions, and programs and live remote broadcasts from special events.
My own database, I call it my “Playlist Management Tool” will also send an email to each registered teller, even daily, prior to their titles being broadcast and provide the air-times (by time zone) that their story will air. And the Artist can then contact their Fans & Customer base, mailing list, Facebook & Twitter friends encouraging them to listen in and vote. Hopefully, even the world's School Teachers will use this station to fill a few blank moments at the end of the class and perhaps families will embrace this station as well. Yesterday, a lady, Ms Harbour in Arkansas, called me to say that she and her husband listened to my radio station for 7 hours straight, as the afternoon slipped by, their take? It was wonderful. Yes!
Two weeks after I bought my radio stations, Toyota announced that next year's new car models will be fitted with an internet capable radio in the dashboard, with a three year free subscription. Also, Ford, GM, and four other automobile makers recently announced they are also installing internet capable radios in their new car models. Tabletop internet radio players are currently available with wireless connections for home networks. I attached a picture for you to see some of these attractive models. So this station is accessible almost everywhere, not just in front of your computer. We will all have to help build our radio audience. Right this very minute, I have a gizmo that I use, to link my smart phone & our radio station into my truck's radio and right now I can listen to “A World of Storytelling” radio driving down the highway; right now, every day. The station is currently accessible by anyone.
Today, when you listen to the station; what you are hearing is the test playlist; I am monitoring it for fluidity and audio quality. So far; I am very pleased. I think this media has the best potential for audience acceptance and might be one of the best media platforms for our art form ever. By late this weekend, we will begin broadcasting in sincerity, complete with some DJ comments and commercials.
Soon, I will send another email and provide more information & a place on my website for folks to begin the registration process. Once the paperwork is complete and signed and in my file cabinet AND the stories are properly processed and placed into the rotation, the stories will be broadcast in regular rotation. Right now, the turnaround timeline estimates from registration to broadcast playlist to being "on the air" is about 36 hours from the time we receive the Stories and the Signed Permissions Fax.
The only thing that will get a story "censored" or "taken off the air" will be a violation of current U.S. communications law (profanity, sexual, or vulgar topical content) or a lack of an audience that appreciates the story. A story with no votes or bad comments will be removed and archived separate from the playlist rotation in favor of a newly processed story. An archived story can be reinserted into the playlist by popular audience requests. Stories that violate law & good citizenship will be removed and never reinstated to the playlist. This is a family radio format.
Please feel free to share this information with other storytellers. Send your fans and friends to the station or to my website, www.AslanProductionStudio.com, ask them to download a free player or get a VIP player account from Live365.com and make this station a "Preset." Having a large "preset" number i.e. large favorite’s number and large "TLH," total listener hours number gains me the opportunities to attract larger corporate advertisers. So a symbiotic relationship must be built and exist between my station and the tellers and our customers. That’s why you only have to register once and process each story just once.
Also the registration form for the stories will provide you with a opportunity to write three variations of an introduction and outro transitions for each track; each intro/outro field has a maximum of 255 characters. These intros & outros will be recorded by the DJs and paired with the story in the playlist rotation. In order to provide interesting variety to the playlist, three separate DJ's will record your three separate intros and outros and the playlist will display your title, but there will be three variations of intro and outro to transition attached to the story. This is part of the “processing.” If you do not provide intros or outros for your stories, we will not make them up for you and your story will air without an intro or outro transition. The UNIT fees do not reduce because you did not write intros or outros. Please write your intros and outros in the third person voice, i.e. someone is introducing or transitioning your story.
I have a lot to do today, so I need to go. I would have written a shorter letter but I didn't really have time.
I hope this letter helps you better understand how this will work and I sincerely hope you are still anxious to participate. Give me some feedback and tell me your thoughts, I am anxious for some more voices, there have been many, to share with me their opinions about these efforts to bring "A World of Storytelling" to the world. Here's my cell, 502-370-5322 or you can email. If I am performing or on platform teaching, I won't answer my phone; just leave a voice mail and I will respond when I am able.
I am looking forward to placing your work and craftsmanship into the playlist rotation of “A World of Storytelling Radio.”
Sounds like a great project. While not the first storytelling radio station ( Storyteller.net had one for a while) you seem to have a strong platform for getting started! Fantastic- thanks for bringing this gift to the community! Way to go, Buck!
Sorry, I didn't know someone had gone before... I knew it was good idea. Have you listened to the station? I have been very pleased with the responses from around the world, Ireland, OMAN (2 hours north of Dubaii) Hawaii, Canada and Australia. My tests are almost complete and perhaps as early as later Friday 8/26/2011 we can launch the registration page and begin uploading stories from around the world. This has been a pretty nifty trick, probably not for you, but a good puzzle for me.
Now if the quality remains high, and the Storytelling community will embrace it, perhaps we can move all of us further along our way.
Any support or enthusiastic chatter you can toss in... I would appreciate. Buck