Sunday, April 26, 2015
The State Of Camp Lo-Fi
On February 2, 2015, I found myself at The Social Butterfly lounge in Brooklyn, NY celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of Bondfire Radio. The co-founders TastyKeish and Coole High had blown out the candles on the cake, the music was pumping and spirits were high. Shortly before gathering for a group photo, Coole gave me a big hug and said, "Welcome to the family." Four days later, Radio BSOTS made its Bondfire Radio broadcast debut. I hadn't done live radio since the Spring semester of 1998 at SUNY Albany for WCDB and I was nervous as hell, but still managed to pull off a decent show even with broadcaster jitters.
And to think, it was around that same time last year that I seriously considered calling it quits. Had I done that, this new chapter of Radio BSOTS may not have happened.
I have close friends who had envisioned my show on Bondfire, so when one of them let me know that they were considering show submissions for the Winter/Spring 2015 programming schedule, I took that as a sign. I was over the moon when my show was accepted and became even more excited when I listened to other shows on the station. The morning show alone made me realize that I would be a part of something truly special: independent radio that's Black owned and community minded with amazingly diverse programming. I became a fan before my first actual broadcast for the station, the archives of other shows now dominating my listening time every week.
Suddenly, Radio BSOTS had something that it has never had before in its nine and a half years of existence: a regular day and time slot. If I'm not doing the show live in the studio on an alternating Friday from 8:30 to 10 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, then it's prerecorded beforehand to air during that time. With the broadcast taking top priority, the podcast went silent after the Cupid's Hunt episode released during Valentine's Day weekend. The every day demands of being a husband and father coupled with a relentless day job forced me to keep the main thing the main thing. In terms of my creative outlets, the main thing is BSOTS on Bondfire. It may look like I gave up podcasting for Lent and then some, but I didn't plan it that way.
Over the past three months, I realized something: I don't feel like walking this audio content creation road by myself anymore. Being a part of Bondfire Radio shed a blinding light on how lonely I felt in the podcasting world. Granted, I can certainly take the blame for not getting out to meetups and conferences to meet people in person, but this new experience has shown me what I have been missing in being part of a team. I can actually see how that's done now, as compared to my WCDB days where I made it all about me. I've been referring to Bondfire as "radio redemption," a place where I can start again now that I can handle the responsibility of having a radio show, recognizing it as a privilege and not a right. I love being able to root and represent for others at Bondfire in various social media spaces as well as on the air. The station just added a new show to the schedule and it feels like getting a new family member.
At the same time, I know that the broadcast opportunity wouldn't have come without the podcast grind. I've been listening to some of the earlier shows on my podcast feed from 2008 lately and it's nice to hear episodes from seven years ago that I can still stand behind. In addition, I've been very inspired by my brother-in-podcasting, DarrenKeith of My Love For Music, who's been making up for lost time by releasing several shows within days of each other, providing the universe with hours of chill out music (the world can certainly use that right now). At the moment, I'm gearing up for a return in podcast form, reminding myself that, above all else, this should be fun. I'm feeling the feed to tap into the energy that I had back in 2008, or at least play around with the structure of the show a little bit so that I don't get bored. There has been no shut down for Camp Lo-Fi. A quiet period, yes, but no shut down.
Until the return, love and respect.