introducing the radio free fedi specialty channel
a wild new channel appears
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The RFF Specialty channel expands our mission to promote and discover independent artists by offering a slightly more genre or thematic option for “scheduled” listening for the RFF community.
There will be hour long blocks of loosely related “genres”. These themes are rotated throughout the day to give multiple chances to catch something you are keen for and each time a block plays it is 100% randomly populated from affiliated tracks. We envisage more themes could be added such as long form spoken word or readings. For now we have leveraged the best we can, what the community has offered.
These themes are meant to absolutely include overlapping works from the main and Comfy channel, but also showcase MORE works from outside that set, and more diverse and more specific as well as longer formats!
Our hope is that this provides a part-time light version of a more targeted or focused discovery to alternatively drop in and discover but not quite be a set and forget full-time of any genre.
As mentioned in multiple State of the Station reports, RFF will never be 10 specific genre channels as end points for consumption. We will also will never be hyper algorithm'd or on demand playlists. As a volunteer community service we can neither afford that model nor want to pull focus from the discovery emphasis for our community of independent artists. We will always be an absolutely community driven, non-commercial, free form, stream only delivery that celebrates consent and agency of artists and listeners.
The Specialty channel has been a monstrously big undertaking and will be the absolute most curation we can undertake as a volunteer community service.
RFF encourages you to drop in, discover and LEAVE to go interact with artists and support them on their platforms! We want you to step out of your wheelhouse a bit and embrace new to you art. However, we hope having a way to be even more inclusive and promote even more material with this slightly tighter scoped option will be an awesome extension of the RFF community.
The programming block themes rotate at approximately the top of each hour (2-3 min window explained at bottom of this post) and are indicative of what the community of artists has offered to date:
EXPERIMENTS IN RFF – 0000, 1000, 1700 UTC experimental, avant, counterpoint, drone, noise, sampling, collage, sculpture, avant spoken, power electronics, generally weird, might well contain conflicting sounds or harsh frequencies side
RFF IN THE ATMOSPHERE – 0100. 0600, 1100, 1800 UTC ambient, soundscape, atmospheric, epic, soundtrack, space, more floating or rhythmic than ultra beat orientated
RFF SINGS – 0200, 0700 ,1200, 1900 UTC not an instrumental in sight, from the diverse voices of RFF with eclectic sonic underpinnings. Pull up a chair it's story time. vocals, singer songwriter, storytelling, piano, folk, electronica, eclectic whimsy, all vocal focused.
RFF CHIPS N DIPS – 0300, 1300, 2000 casio jams, chip tunes, 8bit, 16bit, all the bits, bleeps and boops, chirpy synths, gaming sounds, anime sound, vocaloid sound
RFF IS GONNA ROCK YOU – 0400, 1400, 2100 UTC yo dawg we heard you guitar the guitars!, all uptempo rock, metal, industrial rock, punk, power pop, chunky riffs and wah wahs
RFF SYNTHETIC – 0500, 0800, 1500, 2200 UTC synthpop, synthwave, cyberwave, vapourwave, new wave, new new wave, such synth very wave
CLUB RFF – 0900, 1600, 2300 UTC BEATS, techno, dnb, EDM, EBM, house, industrial dance, electro, hip-hop
These blocks will give you a rotating scheduled option to tune in for a more specific sound if that is your jam. This gives a bit more leeway to include more tracks from the community of artists on Main/Comfy and since people will tune in knowing what the block's vibe is and have choice, it provides a better venue for wilder sounds and longer run times.
Everything about submissions for the specialty channel is just as the others, we still will try to introduce artists to the station via the Main/Comfy channels if possible, still manually screen and process for relative sound attributes, data accuracy and the trust and ethos RFF hopes to uphold to avoid harm and untoward actors.
The main and comfy channel will always remain the same weird and wonderful drop in and discover community/college radio vibe. The new specialty channel gives us a place for future special programming from the community to be determined that will not break the core function and vibes of the Main and Comfy feeds! This could easily simulcast to our video channel for interactive chat etc. Special fedi artist related programming from the community, release parties, performances, Q+A's, roundtables, tutorials, interviews, long form spoken word, performances...
Thank you all for your support and aroha to the station and to each other!
No matter if you are an artist contributing music, a fedizen contributing station reads, a listener supporting artists materially or with a kind word, or any of the amazing multi-directional collaboration, promotion and support we have had the joy to witness between all of the above, radio free fedi is YOUR community station.
If you aren't already listening right now, go and listen and discover!
Keep fedi weird!
Support fedi artists!
RFF Specialty Extended Remix Behind the Sausage errr Music:
Another huge thank you to the community patrons that have made it possible to keep extending RFF's ability to experiment and expand ways to maximise promotion and discovery for the amazing pool of fedi talent sometimes hiding in plain sight. There is no way we could have funded the infrastructure to sustain this project much less expand the service to the community without you.
And to everyone who has had patience with our physical inability to laser focus on every communication or request and to anyone who has offered words of support for our volunteer running in the hamster wheel of this effectively full-time job, THANK YOU.
Some new channel specific thoughts and pardon our dust issues.
We have endeavoured to massage the station management system to as close as possible rotate themes in hourly blocks. We are balancing trying not to have tracks extend too far into the next hour when you are expecting a different theme while also not cutting off tracks just because the top of the hour hits.
Therefore you may find a theme may end/start within 2-3 minutes either side of the top of the hour. We have hacked as hard as we can and this seems the best balance to get this channel launched and not dis an artist by cutting away or harshing a theme too much by hearing a thing you didn't tune in for.
In it's early days we may have gotten a few tracks not quite right for vibe and we will do our best to tidy up as these are heard, bearing in mind we have been working through ~1000 tracks that were baseline in the system for Main and Comfy as well as >2000 submitted to date tracks overall to select more to go into the specialty channel playlists. The difference is not because of omission , but rather because of manually selecting indicative tracks rather than blindly dumping whole album submissions into an autoplay.
The Main and Comfy channels are and will always be the core of the station! There is nothing wrong with them and despite the occasional variably motivated protestor, we respect the overwhelming appreciation of the model. In mapping themes for the specialty channel we hope we have carefully considered what can be helpful as an extension to the service while keeping the importance of Main and Comfy at the fore. That is why the specialty themes are mostly quite pronounced, meaning if it's a bit more jangly rock, light alt rock, trip hop, chill, downtempo, pop tinged, etc it can be primarily showcased on Main and Comfy and/or there is just not the depth of submissions to sustain a theme block yet.
Here are some use cases that we reckon have served the community well to date and will still apply to having a loose run time cap for the Main and Comfy channels:
you have limited time to tune in, we want to avoid you only hearing two artists in a half hour session, and maximise discovery for the contributing artists
for our many neurodiverse friends we want to avoid overwhelming and make it easier to stick around or know they can drop back in shortly if something is uncomfortable but hopefully not uncomfortably long
and for general comfort of ALL who are hopefully more inclined to stick around even if a single track is not their cup of tea, because they can rest assured something different is coming in a few minutes. This not only helps with listener expectations and willingness to discover but helps us present more artists toward our mission of being a fun promotion and discovery layer to generate love and support for independent fedi artists!
We love independent artists AND each other so we work hard to find community supporting balance in every facet of our operating ethos. Huge gratitude to the artists that have not so much come along for the ride but rather gathered in such awesome solidarity showing there is so much support and respect out there and that art isn't a competition.
While we do things a little slower, organically and a little outside the box, it is always with the hope of doing right by the beautiful community that has formed around this project with the core of helping promote independent fedi artists and acting as a transient layer to spark communication and support directly to artists.
Going forward we hope to always maintain the community trust and love we are trying to amplify regardless of external pressures because as a community we owe no one a platform, but we do endeavour to show everyone the most empathy and support we can muster.
Keep lifting each other up and stay awesome out there friend.
Heoi anō tāku mō nāianei Kia ora rawa atu