Roadmap to 2023

Radio station roadmap to 2023

INTERNAL VIEWING ONLY (FOR NOW)

Foreword  

Set up in 2014 as a non-profit foundation (stichting), in 2018 Broadcast Amsterdam pivoted from producing weekly public access television and YouTube content for Amsterdam to set up a local streaming radio station. Why? People were asking us for it, a combination of volunteers and audience, and it seemed like a more sustainable enterprise for us in the long term. I used some money from a personal tax rebate to fund the equipment etc that we needed to start off. 

We’ve developed this concept in a fairly experimental manner, trying all sorts of different content, formats and several different locations in the city, and recruiting many different volunteers to participate in building the station. Overseeing this, I’ve learned a lot, and others will have too. Just recently we’ve had a year of on-off lockdowns that has interrupted much of the progress we would have achieved in a normal year. For example on the verge of the first lockdown we had three commercial clients signed up to sponsor content on the station. These will hopefully be taken up when the time is right. Happily the station has been able to adapt and maintain core functions, and more, under the current restrictions.  

However, now is the time to use our experience to set a more firm path for where we want take the radio station in the next few years. With this in mind, in December 2020 we invited the whole volunteer team to brainstorm on this and what you think could be improved. Together with Geli Carney and Jessika Lynch, consulting, I have now set out what I believe is the best direction for us, a two-year roadmap for Broadcast Amsterdam (together with a fresh vision, mission and values statement), which I hope we can all be excited about. 

March 2021 

Cathy Leung, Executive Producer 

 

1. The radio station by 2023

2. Our organisation by 2023

3. Our radio location by 2023

Appendix

 

1. The radio station by 2023

  • There is a full daily programme of content across the station.
  • There will be clear and consistent blocks for listeners, eg music-heavy shows during peak hours, with blocks for talk-based shows/podcasts at off peak times
  • We will have a daily local news output, some of which will be our own original reporting.
  • We will have a broader and more diverse mix of voices on the station, including some native Dutch radio presenters (presenting in English though, obvs).
  • The radio station will sound good, ie comfortable on the ears and professional (but not necessary polished).
  • Our technical systems will perform reliably and to the quality expected by listeners and our radio-makers.
  • We will have established our reputation as a top source of information and entertainment for the city, especially among the international community. I no longer want to meet people who have never heard of Broadcast Amsterdam or who do not know that Amsterdam has an English-language radio station.
  • We should have a loyal and strong audience, a ‘fan base’ base that interacts with the station and mentions us in conversation on a regular basis, eg “I heard on Broadcast Amsterdam that …”

 

HOW TO GET THERE

  • Each show team to be responsible for creating their own concept vision, and a summary of what kind of content they produce.
  • We should have a marketing strategy, activities and resources that work for the station as a whole, and for individual shows teams.
  • We look for volunteers from more diverse backgrounds and engage with communities we’re not including much at present
  • We identify any holes in content; what we need to add to our programming to properly fulfil our vision and mission.
  • We should set up and maintain better training for radio show teams and shared resources for best practice
  • We keep talking and sharing, and encouraging one another.
  • See also the next section, a roadmap for our organisational goals.

2. Our organisation by 2023 

We should have a much more developed set of roles across the organisation. From volunteer presenters, to supporting volunteers or paid producers/freelance services, we should know who is responsible for what, how many hours per week they are expected to contribute, and what we are looking for from future volunteers. 

The organisation should have a clear vision, mission and values that guides us and, in combination with this road map, enables team members to actively sign up to where we are headed. 

As Executive Producer I have been intensively required for the day-to-day production and communications for the station up until now, also on a volunteer basis, but this is not sustainable in a long term. By 2023 the organisation should not be reliant on me in these areas; the Executive Producer role should be focused on providing leadership and direction, marketing the station, developing income streams for Broadcast Amsterdam and other organisational goals. We are working towards a more self-sufficient volunteer base, automation where appropriate, and shared systems. We could also pay a freelance producer to cover some of the production workload. Here’s what our organisation in 2023 could look like:  

 

HOW TO GET THERE

  • Much of these plans are a virtuous circle, so our first priority is to enable our team/the daily station production to become more self-sufficient, giving me more time in my role as Executive Producer to work on more of the organisational goals for the next two years. 
  • We recruit volunteers for the areas they are most needed, eg supporting radio shows and the Executive Producer in areas such as promotion, content development, local journalism, sound production and editing.

 

3. Our radio location by 2023

After trying out a few places already, we hope to have found our ideal location for a shared studio base and point of contact for the radio station. What we are looking for: 

  • a space big enough for a radio desk with up to four microphones around a table + other equipment 
  • fairly well sound-proofed
  • within a venue that has an existing community, eg generating its own stories and buzz that we can help promote and share, the venue would become a content partner in the station  
  • a venue partner we trust and believes in our vision, mission and values. 
  • a low cost solution, sustainable on a small budget (eg not more than €200 per month)
  • accessible to our team during evenings and weekends, as well as normal working hours
  • somewhere able to provide access, eg via keys/key card/reception to a significant number of volunteers 

Alternatively, or in combination;

  • we should have increased our network of home studios 
  • we should have a regular programme of pop-up radio shows across the city, eg at internationally-minded locations such as the offices of big international employers in the city, popular cafes/bars, cultural venues, international schools, business or social events.  

HOW TO GET THERE

  • Continued scouting by the Executive Producer.
  • An awareness among the team of what we’re looking for so we can utilise our wider city networks.
  • Establishing a more solid income stream in order to fund the costs. 
  • Plan for a studio manager/s role to be responsible for the proper running of a central radio studio. 
  • Share the basic setup requirements for a home studio.
  • Look for subsidies or grants to fund more home studios 

Appendix 

Risks & conflicts

On the way it’s possible there may be hurdles to where we want to go. I’ll be looking out for these and if a change in direction is needed or just a delay in where we want to go, I’ll keep the team updated. Some identified risks include: 

  • coronavirus developments 
  • lack of suitable volunteers
  • valued team members become unavailable or demotivated
  • finding funds to top up our marketing budget
  • our marketing strategy or spending is not effective
  • difficulty finding a studio host location which meets our requirements 
  • growing pains
  • commitment to which audience we are serving, all of Amsterdam vs expats, local v national vs global 
  • planning vs flexibility to change course
  • maintaining a fun and enviable environment for volunteers whilst professionalising our output  

Collaboration and growth 

Other cities | I believe we are developing a model of local radio that we could roll out to other cities/locations. By 2023 I expect to have tested out a pilot of this in the Netherlands, in collaboration with existing networks, eg Haarlem, Almere, The Hague, Eindhoven, Delft, Groningen, Hilversum, Leiden. 

Partnerships & support | I believe the work we are doing is of great value to the local community and deserves both recognition and financial support form local government and grant-making bodies that share our objectives. I hope that we would have some success in this area by 2023. 

 

 



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