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Message from ArtSound’s President

President’s Message UPDATE

Thank you to everyone who has supported our Donate, Participate, and Rejuvenate campaign to date.

I’m very pleased to advise that we have received $65,639 in donations so far.

A great effort and one we hope will stimulate wider support to ensure we reach our target of $150k before the end of the year.

We are confident ArtSound can weather the current challenges, not only with increased community awareness, participation, and support, but also with a range of management improvements we have been putting in place together with a new approach to ensuring financial sustainability within a not-for-profit social enterprise framework.

Feedback and Input

Your feedback and input generally has been very useful in helping us shape our campaign and programming during a period of adjustment to the community-radio realities of today. To respond to some of the input received:

  1. Programming

Some listeners have expressed concern that the station is narrowing its range of programming, while others have requested we keep more clearly to our original programming aims. Please rest assured that over all, we aim to represent far better the genres that form the core of our programming ethos – largely but not exclusively classical, folk, jazz, blues, and world music, and all their variants. Listeners can expect to hear over coming months a deeper, broader representation of those areas of music, and also to keep hearing specialty programming from outside those rich fields. For example, we will continue to air programs presented by our volunteers, specialty programs from the Community Radio Network, feature programs produced at ArtSound, live recordings from around Canberra, and specials like the recent Woodstock 50th-anniversary tribute. You will also hear more improvements to Soundspace based on the feedback we’ve received.

Balance of music and talk

ArtSound has in recent years emphasised music over talk, but in fact our constitution and license call for us to reflect and foster the arts in the ACT and region. We aim to return the percentage and quality of spoken-word programming to a level of a decade and more ago.

Live versus pre-recorded programming

Interestingly, we received a higher percentage of positive feedback than negative relating to the interruption to live programming. This is entirely consistent with the advice gleaned from the recent CBAA conference that, “the primacy of live is no longer as prime as it used to be.” Focus is moving to radio on demand as well as podcasts within a foundation of good quality pre-prepared programming with live only as needed and with different marketing techniques and ArtSound is factoring in all these elements as we try to build capacity and sustainability ahead.

Standards

All programs have now been through a “recommissioning” process, in which the program policy for each program was discussed with each program team. A programming action group has now been formed to focus on improvement of our programming, development of new programs, and overall improvement of broadcast delivery.  More details will be available soon on that action group and its terms of reference. In the meantime new program proposals can be sent to the action group via admin@artsound.fm.

Radio craft

Some listeners have noted shortcomings in the “radio craft” of some presenters on ArtSound. As part of our ongoing radio craft courses, presenters will receive regular, individualised alerts from seasoned presenters and radio-industry professionals about how to tweak and improve their on-air presentation to ensure more consistency across the program grid. New enrollees are always welcome into our training program and we are confident all measures being taken will result in an overall enrichment of ArtSound’s community-radio ethos.

  1. Technical Issues

ArtSound has operated for a long period of time without a dedicated technical budget. This created an ad hoc system of maintenance and operations which often made it difficult to deal with even minor glitches in a timely manner. To address this, we have been gradually expanding and upgrading our technical capacity and systems to streamline and improve our broadcast capacity with greater efficiency.  We also of course now have much-improved, more stable FM transmission from Telstra Tower on Black Mountain.

  1. Website

Our new website recently came online, together with some initial teething problems. We believe we’ve sorted those out now, and links have been added in keeping with listeners’ and volunteers’ recommendations, such as a more-prominent “Donate” button. We will continue to work with Cordelta on any improvements needed.  Please let us know if you have ongoing problems.

  1. Marketing and audience building

Deloitte Canberra is providing us with pro bono support to help ArtSound transition to a new audience-building model – more on this in due course.

Thank you to everyone who has sent encouragement, recommendations, and other input. Please be assured that your input is gratefully received, and carefully considered. We will provide another update as soon as possible.

Amalijah Thompson

President, ArtSound Board of Management

25 November 2019

 

For more information on the aims on the campaign please see here.

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