State of the Station May 2024


The state of the station is 12 aardvarks trying to salsa dance inspired synchronised swim but mostly treading water yet still pulling off a silver medal performance and intensifying!

It's been a minute since a “proper” #StateOfTheStation report but rest assured that the hamster and friends remain at a robust jog if not full sprint when not collapsed in exhaustion.

If you are keeping score at home there are 360 contributing music artists in the stream and including writers, announcers, readers, patrons, advisors we are now closer to 500! There are currently over 4600 friends keeping an eye on the main account. Like we always say, the way more important number is 1. It might be the one nice thing someone hears all day and it was because you took one moment to drop one kind word to an artist, or buy or donate to their work, or as an artist thank someone for taking that minute. That is powerful and it is a massive bouy for all of us as RFF, as artists and as community!

What's news?

Coming this month, RFF will be popping up a channel dedicated to showcasing the Fediverse's own FediVision 2024 Song Contest entries in a real-time stream format. Song entries will open on 5th may and closing on the 12th. Get amongst it to compete or listen, vote and have some light hearted fun. See and the FediVision site for all the info.

Listenership has been outstanding. This has posed a good problem to have for when we need to do general infrastructure care and feeding or adjustments as we grow. You all LOVE you some comfy channel and it is a minor existential crisis when we have to ponder a reset or brief outage not wanting to break anyones vibe.

Coming into the meat of the year and artists releases are flowing! The great work you are all doing supporting each other, tagging artists and RFF, spreading kind words has continued to not just be rocket fuel for our creative cousins but helps to generate goodwill out in the feeds for more artists and friends to join in on the vibe. These things vary as is the nature of the interwebs and federation but we continue to reach new corners of the verse and welcome new friends. Keep up the good work spreading the vibe of supporting independent artists!

We had heard how so many of you are often or always on small format screens. We know the RFF main website was intentionally brutalist and could understand some constructive issues with it. This is very different to “this site is ugly you suck at commercial radio”, or “lemme redo your shit site for 'my portfolio'”. Rule #1 of RFF, RFF is NOT the thing. You discovering and supporting independent artists out there in the fedi and the world is the thing. This was often thought about but seldom spoons to balance softening the site's edges whilst never wanting to distract from the artists or to bloat or surveil your world. We hope the update compliments our ethos of artist and listener agency and empowerment, accessibility, and is mobile friendly. We think this has been tactfully addressed with the new public site.

In March we had a catasrophic database failure which effectively meant every single track ever loaded into our system for any channel or specialty programme was fair game for the Main channel to play! We hustled to recover from this over a period of two days without really taking any of the channels down. We apologised if you got some blast beat metal or harsh noise collage on the Main channel during this event. Hope it didn't scare your neighbours' cats too much. The best solution was manually addressing each of the thousands of tracks. Despite that time sink, rather happy with some changes to playlists, process and backups this issue forced, so silver lining or something.

We have a small and growing team of friendly fellow artists who might be able to help with some light advising or support for artist issues generally around getting your work setup for submissions to RFF. If you are having trouble beyond our various submission FAQs | or long form submission FAQs, DM the station we can reach out to a group of friendly peers to see if anyone is available to assist. We'd like to investigate ways to more formalise this type or help and also services going forward.

Many thanks to everyone that leant a shoulder while I worked through the very hard options that included shutting down the project around the new year. Cheers to the mischievious artists who pulled me into accepting some personal mutual aid.

The help, reflection and refocus has allowed me to make sure RFF will go on. We have an updated site, growing community and library, progress towards making contributing small amounts of time easier for the community to help out, mini calls to action planned and a good matrix of projects to tackle if and when resource permits rather than operating on pure burnout. While there is so much more RFF can, could, should do, it must be resourced to be sustainable from a human and health perspective.

Thanks to the advising artists for helping me in improving not just our services but also much behind the scenes process and communications toward making RFF as a community service more durable.

How can you help?

First and foremost as always, drop in and listen! Discover new artists, new to you songs, and then go follow, drop a kind word to, collaborate with, and materially support if you have the means the amazing artists you have discovered.

Invite friends to tune in and the discover the community. Invite artist friends to join the party and contribute music, sound, voice, writing and more.

We will be launching new and regular weekly, fortnightly, monthly mini calls to action. These might be as simple as emphatically encouraging you to make a post or a message out there to engage and welcome more artists, or listeners, or writers, or highlight a specific vibe or bit of prgramming to the fedi and beyond. Small things that collectively and organised will ripple big and since RFF can't be everywhere all at once, will help grow the community which benefits us all as artists AND listeners.

There will also be invites for more specific help such as various data collection or artist liaison tasks. And example upcoming is our effort to make the directory of artists much more informative and interactive.

And of course the reality of the pretzel monies...

2024 RFF Infrastructure Fund

We are currently infra funded through May so are targeting June-June so we don't have to talk about it again and focus on continuing to build amazing community.

Here is the specific campaign blog post.

Or hit the various donation links direct. Ko-fi | Open Collective

Thank you for powering the broadcast and supporting independent artists.


Current Infrastructure Costs per month ~45 EU as at April 2024

VPS' ~ 28 storage and backups ~ 10 IPs – 4 other hosting, domains, misc – 3

With this we operate a public facing site, this here self blog, our own federated instance for the unthrottled public now playing fedi bot, a private drop instance, station management server, public audio relay servers, a Faircamp hosting service, various backstage web services/tools for interop, automation and storage and more. Our Owncast RFF video and chat channel server is supplied by which you should check out because it's rad.

Wrap it up G

There has been heaps done, heaps being done and heaps to do!

We hope you will continue to submit amazing, weird, wild and wonderful music, sounds, voices and writings. We hope you will encourage others to create, share and maybe even join the RFF community.

We hope you will continue to drop in, discover amazing independent artists, and keep getting out there in the feeds and the interwebs sharing your experience, seeking collaboration and support, materially supporting artists if you have the means, and dropping artists kind words!

Listen, submit, contribute:

Kia kaha

Ngā mihi me te aroha nui

the hamster sprinting in the wheel under the RFF tower

#radioFreeFedi #StateOfTheStation