RFF 2024 “Staff” and Focus Fund
UPDATE FEB 2024
I'd like to thank every single one of you that advocated on my behalf, advised, amplified signal, donated to the human, and shared what the project has meant to you.
The RFF community is overwhelmingly welcoming, uncompetitive, empathetic, and so down for a kind word.
The station infra remains funded through March. Thanks to everyone who embraced the pivot to the human, with less worry on a few basic needs, I'm hoping for the space to better define RFF processes, devolve tasks, contribute to better community organising tools and still grow community. I will at least have internet and one of my meds and a bit of fallback cushion for food to help be in the space to find ways to continue RFF.
I went too hard, not wanting to lose any project momentum and compiling of community energy.
I ask for your understanding as we work through better boundaries.
This may mean less availability and new initiatives, or having to push back or better clarify some of the many small things per artist or task that accumulate into big time as we've scaled.
Not overall less commitment, but smarter scope. Other than the single RFF account post last month, I will go back to not overtly asking for donations to the human. If you come across someone with the love or the means, continued time or material support offers will be very well received throughout the year.
The foundation is set, the ethos is strong, the community is growing. Let's get the balance better to sustain.
It was under incredible duress, with great consternation and only with the urging and support of wonderful RFF contributing artists that I eventually did pivot to a specific human donation ask. As in the original blog post I tried to make clear that the experiement went a bit too well making the project simply not viable as a “hobby”. There is so much more to do and it is already possible to be well over full-time volunteerism at present.
The options were: – shutdown immediately – let it degrade toward some other shutdown date – dump to some person(s) who had not really presented and expect them to continue full-time plus volunteerism. – drastically cut services, comms and response time across the board – pivot for some help to the human reluctantly materially and optimisitically also with time to attempt to make some space and community effort to sustain the community service
And the chicken and egg of no spoons or time to map out exact tasks to share, to not necessarily present or durable others, and be a full-time coordinator, have to pickup anything dropped and then do all the things as well was too daunting. Carrying on without serious reigning in on the amount of overall time and busy work shouldered to maintain current service levels was no longer and option.
Please do pop round the Matrix chat if you have any turn key original programming ideas, wish to leverage our audio or video platforms, want to contriute some time collating information like release dates, help with artist onbaoarding and data maintainence follow up for future intiatives, mod some events' chat and more as we work towards some better containerisation of possible tasks to suppor the day to day care and feeding of the station and the continued building of multi directional community support.
The great thing about the project resonating and being a bit of a victim of its own success is YOU ARE ALL NOW HERE and the ripples we are all making out there continue to multiply!
It is amazing and an honour to have had any small part in being a conduit or rally point for any fraction of the comradery, collaboration and support flying in all directions out there around particularly art but also life in general.
Keep fueling creation and the joy in sharing and listening together.
Too many friends to tag but thank you for the insistence that this thing is worth doing and the human power is worth keeping from sinking.
The transmitter remains on as a beacon. For everyone that has felt community, felt heard, felt less alone or felt at home with RFF, thank you for sharing, thank you for being here.
Spread the word.
Stay awesome out there. Keep fedi weird. Keep uplifting each other. Support fedi artists. Art hard!
END UPDATE FEB 2024
OK let's clear the decks. Apologies we didn't just do this in the first place. It's fitting that the project out there trying to normalise promotion, a fair shake and seeking support for us as independent and/or marginalised artists is brutally awkward and unwilling to trouble others for basic needs. TLDR: Please help if you can. RFF may need to regretfully scale back services, responses and community intitiatives..
We are indeed at a crossroads needing to decide if RFF will scale back offerings or if we can go hard into year two of our existence without such the hit to the health and well-being of the maintainer given IRL constraints and the need for sourcing time outside of RFF to hunt for safe waged gigs.
Will you join us in 2024 to make RFF more sustainable and resilient as a community service so we can continue to celebrate and amplify independent music and sound?
RFF uses a classic alternative and community radio broadcast station format on the surface, but it is not a radio station. It is a community. A community that amazingly have rallied around music and art with such comradery, so little ego competitive nature or attitude, and with so much solidarity and heart we were frankly a little confused and a lot impressed with what the heck was happening.
We hope the vibe and timbre of the RFF project is something we can continue to emit, expect and demand more from our interweb experience no matter what happens.
To that end we're having a good ole telethon minus the tele. Our ability to cover all the things hasn't been sustainable since well pretty much the whole time. The State of the Station July shows when we were tracking hours and how we gave up because depending on projects at hand plus regular operations it's almost always more than full time. We need two things to happen to go strong into year two.
1. A viable minimal survival donation offset for the maintainer to keep things mostly ticking, coordinate forthcoming assistance and partnerships, alleviate some IRL hustle and to hopefully make space for more community, more new things, more impact. We aren't after a fair wage or validation of work, not even close (our $6500nzd target if extrapolated in a work or wage parlance would be ~$3nzd/hr, that's like one quid and 40p for our non-antipodean cousins and we've projected out all existing monthlies across platforms even though they may not endure, and added them to the one goal meter). For 2023 the sole human over volunteered but the mission felt resonant and imporatant. RFF didn't actively push donation support for the human power other than a mischievious friend of the station unilaterally doing so here and there. If there isn't a slightly more viable path to continue our efforts on RFF we personally have to draw some lines and spend more time desperately fighting for remote waged gigs.
We know the timeline is harsh. We know our corner of the internet isn't huge. We only need enough breathing space to make dedicating so much to the community a bit less stressful in real life. Not guilt, not anger, not complaining, just being open about how things have gotten unsustainable and putting it out there to defuse anyone that might misconstrue the love or the intent of the project. We appreciate those telling us we are worth more and the project is worth so much and we agree. If we can't hit a minimum target for project focus we are coming to terms with what that might mean and the need to prioritise our health but we'll try to avoid RFF powering down the transmitter completely. The basic maths are (6500NZD minimum minus ~1500 already committed in recent one-offs and existing monthlies should they continue into the new year, so our minimum target is 5000NZD more for the year). Added bonus, our currency is on the weaker side of some of you so you are able to be a force multiplier supporting RFF to be a force multiplier support independent artists! heck yeah. We'd love dependable monthly donations and we'll project them as a year on our ko-fi goal, and add in the same projections from our liberapay and our open collective and keep the goal on the ko-fi page updated. But we aren't turning down one-offs for this goal.
And we are not against it blowing past the goal. If an angel appears and goes hard and gets us any bit closer to minimum wage then look out internet cause RFF will be glowing like a freakin boss and pewing rainbow lasers cutting an even bigger path through the interwebs for all our friends to shine!
2. More responsive and available lines of communication to RFF artists for planning and gauging interest on station initiatives, programming and events they may like to particpate. More and better coordination and devolution of tasks among the wider contributing community. There are many ways to contribute to the sustaining of the RFF vibe that are not directly fiscal. You can help with special and live events with technical crossover productions, creative design and vision, audio editing, various writing tasks to help our message and help promote artists, or just being a friendly street team ambassador and moderator.
Please understand due to the growth of the project and the sole volunteer nature it has been, there is the absolute paradox of we cannot afford to map or know exactly how to list exact micro tasks you might be able to commit to without having some idea of general genres of help folk might be able to supply. Of course any offers for durable core station upkeep type tasks in the old radio parlance are very happy to be heard.
Please don't be shy to put a hand up. We need more hands on deck. You can DM but even better for participation, if you might join our Matrix chat as a stop gap for planning, discussion, comradery and sometimes more visible interactions than the fedi feeds.
Matrix accounts are similar to a fedi account in which you setup on a host server, but can generally join rooms and chat to friends across many servers. A guide Matrix by Element, there are other public server options and clients/apps.
We have established some partnerships that will hopefully lead to new and better group and organising tools for the community.
This campaign is very seperate to our infrastructure operating costs which have been very kindly donated by many of you over this year so that we could attempt this experiment and in fact grow this project and community without there being that specific strain or a loss the mainterner could neither afford nor endure. We always treated this with reverance, appreciation and have done our best to be good stewards and spread it as far as possible for the benefit of the entire RFF family. At current time and scale we do everything we do on about 42euro per month. We remain fully lights on from a raw infra perspective through March.
To those that have made a specific donation recently or setup a monthly koha for the maintainer. Thank You! We have included that in our calculations for this human help goal and absolutely do not want you to re-up or feel a smidge of pressure. You are already a legend!
Why not get a grant?
Love to. Unfortunately in our locale, we have scoured and applied for community and arts grants but are up against the global nature of our project being passed on or not eligable. We've found many internet grants, especially fedi friendly are very much about building what some might argue, less than durable tech stacks, rather than durable community. Happy for any help if you can conjure some knowledge in this arena. So we have had a solid go before we've reached this point.
Moving on and work to continue!
We really want to be able to continue and expand things like:
Providing safe, fun and supportive live and event platforms and venues with built in community and moderators and vibes.
Help more with initiatives for artist portable and agency strengthing hosting and sharing of our music.
Extending our presences with different types of accounts for more artist promotion, support and aid amplifying.
Advocate for our community and continue to give strength and solidarity to artists, listeners and friends wherever we can even.
Deliver more custom programming. We have a number of programmes mapped or already written.
Continue to be as available as possible to welcome new friends and invite more to the party.
Co-develop safer, stronger, better means for federated and federated adjacent discourse, community organising, event planning and delievry and more.
All have happened, are happening or are in progress. With a bit more community impetus, contribution and direction we can punch upward, harder, together and do a bit less juggling amongst an avalanche.
Wrap it up
We do all of this from an absolutely unapologetically pro artist and no harm stance in the first instance.
We need more community organising, more seeking, assembling, building and delivering custom programming. More events. More Comradery. More fun. It's not that we went too hard in year one, which yeah OK we did, it's just that there is so much resonance and need and hope and power out there that only needs a wee wrangling, jolt, first connection, or mirror to see and know how powerful we are together. We don't have to fight for our artistic voice, loving community, well-being or survival alone.
Kia kaha. and radar box 4eva -the RFF hamster
We hope we have done a respectable job normalising promotion of and amplifying and lifting the voices of independent and marginalised artists. This came from the honset place of we are one too and damn it we could use some together power against the contant forces exploiting, exhausting and silencing us.
We don't think a lighter, lazier or watered down RFF is worth doing. There is plenty out there that skirts some pretty dodgy lines of promotion vs exploitation and has zero community building intention.
Perhaps that will be our demise. This was never intended to be a gig. And it may be in too small a space, no matter how affluent some corners of the feeds may seem, to subsist offset for any people power.
Thus we are asking for, understandibly globally speaking a lot, but from where many of us sit, an embarassingly low amount of human sustaining donations and/or time to go all in for the new year and not let the foundation of vibes and goodwill we've built together crumble.
Our white board is so full of work, initiatives and partnerships that can continue to impact our creative community. We need just a bit of certainty to be in a place to commit another year of effectively full-time effort coordinating, distributing and unloading tasks where applicable, and finding more ways to ignite promotion, comradery, collaboration and direct support for independent artists.
If you are a friend of the station and would like to chat with other cool supporters, be in the loop for announcements, community outreach and street team, and other opportunities you can help with to build the community, please check out our Public channel on Matrix. If you are an artist and would like to help with framing and testing discussions of things we can't go public with as they may never eventuate, please hit us up on Matrix. radioFreeFedi:matrix.org https://matrix.to/#/#radioFreeFedi:matrix.org
If you want specific examples of projects done or projects pending or behind the scenes works and advocacy that we allude to please contact in private and we'll do our best to convince you this community and vibe are impactful and worthy of commitment if you ain't know, know you know kinda thing.
We are not a technical writer and things have been way too verbose lately. Apologies again. Stay vertical out there.