Morgan Bain

Amrap Q+A with Home Brew Radio's Jenny O'Keefe and musician Morgan Bain

Amrap, 8th February 2016

Almost 5 million Australians listen to community radio every week and since the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap) started, Australian music airplay has increased by 7% to a new average of 39%.

Since 2009, community radio makers have ordered over a quarter of a million Australian music files for airplay from Amrap’s music distribution service - AirIt. Over 1,000 community radio programs now use Amrap Pages to log airplay lists, find online content to match the Australian music they air and to promote Australian musicians through station websites, social media and mobile phones.

Behind the Music celebrates the ways that community radio broadcasters and Australian musicians use Amrap to champion Australian music on air and online. It brings statistics to life with stories from the musicians and broadcasters who make it happen.

Jenny O’Keefe, Home Brew Radio, Community Radio Network (CRN). Jenny O'Keefe

Jenny O’Keefe has been a community radio broadcaster for over ten years, volunteering at PBS FM and Joy FM in Melbourne to get great Australian music to the airwaves.

O’Keefe was recently appointed as the new host of the all-Australian music program Home Brew Radio, which is aired on 45 stations nationally through the Community Radio Network (CRN). Home Brew Radio was founded by community radio legends Jason Velleley and Phil Bromley and has a long history of breaking new Australian music, airing in-depth artist interviews, supporting major Australian festivals and bringing listeners the latest from key music industry events including last year’s ARIA Awards.

What is community radio’s role in supporting Australian music?

Community radio is absolutely essential in supporting the Australian music industry. Everything has changed in the last few years – increasingly artists are doing it their way, without the huge marketing machine of a major label, and that's brilliant. It leads to a far more authentic cultural landscape. Community radio is where people can access this music easily. We spread the word and make it heard!

Why do you volunteer to make an Australian music program on community radio?

I get to connect with like-minded people to celebrate independent local music, which is very important to me and has been my passion since the beginning. What are some of the challenges you face when tracking down new Australian music for airplay? The main problem is that there aren't enough hours in the day (or on air) to play everything I'd like. With so much quality material sprouting up all over this country, it can be a bit overwhelming to keep up!

How does AirIt make it easier for you to access new music and put your weekly program together?

AirIt is a brilliant resource, and, to be honest, I've only just recently got my head around it. I've been notoriously pig-headed about digital downloads vs. physical CDs until this year but I've finally modernised my processes and embraced the technology of downloads! The way AirIt is laid out is so user friendly, the only thing that would make it easier would be if it delivered a hot cup of tea and some crumpets with jam along with the tunes.

You use Amrap Pages to log your playlists on your program website. What do you like about this service?

It makes sense to have centrally located playlists. Amrap Pages enables you to do this, making it easier for listeners to find out about the music you’re airing. By also popping a link to the playlist on Facebook you can instantly provide listeners with all the information they need to purchase those tunes for themselves or pass the info on. It's a win win.

Morgan Bain, independent musician, Perth.

Morgan Bain is an independent Blues & Roots musician based in Perth. At the ripe old age of twenty, he has sold out EP launches, toured internationally and won multiple awards including WAM Song of the Year. Bain’s music is loved by community radio stations, and program makers Australia-wide have ordered his singles for airplay via Amrap’s AirIt. His tracks have also gained spots in Amrap’s Regional and Metro Charts which show a weekly top ten of tracks most ordered for airplay by community broadcasters through AirIt.

How does community radio help you to develop your career and audience?

Community radio stations Australiawide have been so supportive! With their help my music has reached new audiences in areas it wouldn’t normally get exposure. It all helps in developing your career and I’m very appreciative of it.

Do you have a story about your first airplay on a community radio station?

RTR FM in my home city of Perth, Western Australia is very supportive of local artists including myself. They played my first EP, released 4 years ago and have been spinning my tracks ever since. The first time I heard one of my songs on RTR FM my mum was driving (I was only 16) and we nearly drove off the road from excitement! How important has airplay on community radio been in building your fan base? Incredibly important! Lots of people have attended my live shows after hearing me on their local community radio station. I’m regularly invited in to community radio stations to do interviews or play live to air. This was especially helpful during my last tour – I did a lot of community radio appearances which was great! We sent you a list of stations who have logged your songs on their Amrap Pages playlists.

Are you surprised by the variety and location of the stations?

Absolutely, there is such a wide variety of stations on that list. My current EP was picked up by stations and programs on Lord Howe Island and Cocos amazing is that?

Does the list inspire you to tour areas which are slightly off the beaten path?

Yes! I've tried to include regional areas on my touring route whenever I can, although coming from WA means it’s not always easy to do so. In planning my most recent Autumn tour I included Tasmania for the first time because community radio there has been so supportive of my music. The Northern Territory is another area that has asked me to come and play because they love my tunes and it’s something I’m looking into as well.

Since 2013 you've distributed your music via AirIt. What has this service taught you about community radio?

Amrap’s AirIt is such a great service and I think independent musos would be lost without it! There are so many community stations and broadcasters out there playing Australian music. More than I ever realised! It just goes to show that no matter where you live in Australia, everyone loves their music.

This article was first published in CBX Magazine in August 2015.

Australian musicians can track airplay and discover programs using Amrap Pages using Amrap’s Airplay Search here. Community radio program makers get your Amrap Page here.

Australian artists apply to add your music to Amrap’s Airt here. Community radio program makers and music coordinator get music for free here on Amrap’s AirIt.

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