Mutiny Radio: Takin' It To the Streets
A modest tech upgrade will extend the voices of Mutiny Radio DJs beyond the studio--adding more community news & events coverage.
Mutiny Radio has been operating as a community broadcasting collective for two years. During that time, we've had a lot to do:
- Build some form of transparent, effective self-management
- Recruit excellent DJs
- Make a transition from a cafe business to a gallery business
- Pay our rent
- Host exceptional live acts and local events
- Create a broadcasting workshop for local youth in a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club
- Produce some excellent radio shows
- Not kill each other
We've had to do all this with a station management/podcasting tech system that is held together with broken couch parts and hand soap.
Despite all of our success, the limitations of our technology have prevented us from meeting one key goal for the station: offer our DJs a simple, reliable way to broadcast their shows from any location using any internet connected device.
If we can rebuild our creaky station management system to meet our community Internet broadcasting standards--we'll really be on to something. Things like:
- Community Reporting: Mutiny Radio DJs and reporters can easily broadcast live from public meetings, debates, demonstrations, and lectures--giving our listeners remote access to important events in the community
- Live Event Support: The San Francisco Bay Area is filthy with amazing events: DJs and local musicians performing in clubs, educational workshops by local hackers and artisans, street fairs, music festivals, live theater...you name it. A new broadcasting system will allow us to partner with organizers of these events and allow our listeners to tap into the amazing cultural diversity of our region.
- Instant Archiving: So recordings of those remote broadcasts are available immediately after they conclude. This will also create a public record of community events that can be shared with listeners who cannot tune in live. (Also: we won't lose all of our shows if someone hacks us or the system crashes)
- Scheduled Playback: By building playback management functionality into the system, we can automate replays of this content so listeners can plan to tune in. Also, this will allow us to solicit content submissions from local community broadcasters to play during off-air times
- Automated Promotion: Editable RSS feeds for every show and robot-powered social media updates to alert listeners when new content is available
What does this mean for our listeners and the community at large? Well...
- Regular remote broadcasts: We have the capacity and the know how...we have already done successful remote broadcasts from prestigious art museums and local bars. But a stable, well-managed IT system, purpose-built to support broadcasts from community events and performance venues will allow our listeners to connect with our amazing community without leaving their Snuggies.
- More educational programs: We've been approached by educators from local high schools and middle schools who want to hold classes in our studio. But our technology is not stable enough to create a real educational program. We could change all that.
- A better website: So much of our great content gets buried in a clunky Wordpress interface. An upgrade to our podcast system will support a broad IT upgrade to make the radio shows, news, and community announcements we manage much more accessible to users.
- More events in our gallery space: We have had interest from national musical acts and noted speakers who would like to perform in our space. But similar to our educational outreach efforts, since we cannot guarantee the stability of our systems, we are reluctant to invite top tier performers into our space.
Risks and challenges
Mutiny Radio is a volunteer-run community media organization. We don't have deep pockets and decisions are made through debate among the active collective members. These factors keep us moving at a slow, but steady pace.
Since IT projects are inherently complex, we expect to have some surprises along the way. We're preparing for any schedule/labor setbacks by 1) adding new, talented people to the collective 2) identifying our volunteer IT experts and adding donated/reduced cost professional IT services to augment their skills 3) improving our financial standing through better processes and increased discipline, including adding a treasurer to the organizationLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)