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FBi Radio is a Sydney youth community radio station that champions emerging music, art, and culture. We asked Program Director Dan Ahern and Music Director Amelia Jenner a few questions on the direction of the radio station, and how they're adapting in the digital age. You can tune in to FBi Radio on 94.5FM in Sydney, DAB+, and via fbiradio.com.
RØDE: How do you navigate running a radio station in the digital age? What are some hurdles you face and how do you overcome them?
Dan: Running a radio station in the digital age means not assuming listeners will only find you on FM radio. Instead, you need to meet the listener where they are – whether they’re streaming radio stations via a third-party app, listening to podcasts on Spotify, or tuning in on DAB+. It also means promo-ing and repackaging on-air content for online and social media in a relevant way that’s easy for our volunteers to execute. Additionally, the digital age means we have more access to listener analytics, which can be handy for programming, not to mention that there is more music out there for presenters to play than ever with music software and gear becoming more accessible.
RØDE: What really catches your eye when deciding what or who to champion?
Amelia: We’re looking for artists who don’t follow trends or rules, artists who are uniquely and authentically themselves, artists who are innovative and bushing boundaries, artists that are connected to their community and are committed to diversity and inclusion through their practice.
RØDE: Where do you see the radio format going in the next five years?
Dan: There’s no one radio format, and digital disruption means that some formats will be more affected than others in the next five years. Stations will increasingly be competing on the “infinite dial” of converged and online content, which means radio formats need to offer something unique to stay relevant. We’re confident that focusing on being hyper-local, and going above and beyond in terms of curation, will ensure that FBi stays relevant into the future.
RØDE: Describe the sonic aesthetic of FBi Radio? How do you achieve this?
Dan: FBi is essentially an alternative music station that places a high value on listeners discovering new or overlooked music. We focus heavily on local music. We run mostly playlisted programs during daylight hours that play new music across a range of genres, and at night time plus on weekends we mainly run specialist shows that go deep on a particular music style, mood or theme. We’re keenly focused on developing the best listener experience possible while highlighting the diversity within our creative communities and delivering a unique radio experience.
Amelia: The sonic aesthetic of FBi is forever changing. Depending on when you tune in the palate will vary drastically. There is no one real aesthetic but rather a series of parameters that guide us. 50% of all the music we play is from Australia with half of that again from Sydney. Then 50% of all artists we play are non-male and 50% are POC artists with half of that again being WOC. I guess in general though the sonic aesthetic of FBi Radio could be summed up as diverse, challenging, interesting, uplifting, thought-provoking, comforting and connected.
RØDE: What RØDE gear do you guys currently have set up in your studio?
Dan: We have shiny new RØDECaster Pro, and a bunch of Procasters which are awesome!!