Here at GaySA Radio, we get asked the same questions over and over again. It seems that our New Media format is confusing, mainly because we call ourselves “radio” when in reality we aren’t. So let me take a few moments to answer those questions and provide a bit of clarity.
What’s your frequency?
This is the question we get asked the most and it is understandable why. We are called GaySA Radio after all. so it is expected that we should be available on the radio. Well, the short answer is we do not have a frequency. Why not you may ask? Well, that’s a slightly longer answer. ICASA, the organisation that is in control of radio frequencies, is not handing out new frequencies at the moment. The reason for this is that the FM frequencies are full, there literally is no more space left for new stations.
Something called digital migration is supposed to take place, but this process is years behind. The plan is to move television signals from analogue to digital, for which a set-top box (or decoder) will be required. Radio is then supposed to move onto the television frequencies, which means there will be space for thousands of radio stations. This process will take another five to ten years to roll out, and if international experience is anything to go by, existing broadcasters will have first dibs on these frequencies and they will be protected for a few years.
This means that even if this process is fast-tracked, we would most probably not be able to get one of those either, at least not anytime soon. Now, remember that to get a frequency, whether analogue or digital, is very expensive and comes with many rules and regulations. And GaySA Radio simply does not have that kind of money.
So what is the frequency? Well, it’s an easy answer: The Internet! Yes, we broadcast our audio through the internet on www.gaysaradio.co.za. You simply click the Play Now link and if you have speakers on your computer, you will hear our broadcast. Or you can download the app for your smartphone from Google Play or the iTunes store. So as much as we call ourselves GaySA Radio, you must remember we are not a traditional radio station.
We think of ourselves as a media platform, or which the audio or radio part is but one aspect. We also make use of social media, our website, YouTube and podcasts to make it as easy as possible for you to get all the great LGBTQ+ content we produce. Just go to our website www.gaysaradio.co.za and all the links are available there.
Where do you get your funding? Sadly, we don’t get any funding from anywhere. We are a registered business and so do not qualify for donor funding. LGBTQ+ funding is very scarce anyway and is usually allocated to organisations who supply health and HIV services. And as you may know, support for micro- and small business in this country is practically non-existent. The government certainly does not support us, they just want their 28% tax on all our income.
So where do we get money from? Well, we rely on selling advertising. We have a rate card which details all the ways a potential business can advertise on any or all of our platforms. This is very difficult for two reasons. The first is that we are GAY, which means most businesses do not want to advertise with us, as they do not want to be associated with anything remotely gay. Others say that they advertise on major media outlets which gay people already listen to, so they don’t see the need to advertise with us. The second reason is that we are an ONLINE media platform, which most people do not yet understand. Media buyers at the big agencies simply have no clue how to deal with online media outlets like us, and rather spend their money on traditional media which they understand.
Add to this the fact that most gay owned and operated businesses do not want to invest their adspend with us either, and you will see our dilemma.
This, of course, leaves us with a big problem: No income, or at least very little. Like any business, we have costs, like rent, salaries, service providers and the like. And you will understand that without an income this business will not be sustainable. We are working really hard to convince potential advertisers that there is great value in advertising with us, but so far no luck. We are also working closely with a new advertising agency which only deals with online radio, Awake Online, and they have been doing their utmost to convince media buyers to invest their advertising spend with online stations like ours, so far also with no results yet.
We are doing all this work for the love of it, subsidising it out of our own pockets, and making huge personal sacrifices so as to keep it going until such a time when we can actually make a profitable business out of it.
If you want to use our platforms to reach our ever-growing audience, get in touch today.
Where are your studios?
Well, our studio is in the cloud. We are not a traditional radio station that has a large staff, fancy offices and well-equipped studios. For the first three years, we have been operating from one of our staff’s rented house, more specifically the lounge and spare bedroom. This is changing soon, as we have realised we don’t need fancy studios. We really only need a small office and recording booth, as most of what we do is pre-recorded anyway. This means that we will soon be working from wherever we are, doing interviews, taking photos, writing articles and making podcasts from anywhere in the world. This is a big opportunity for us to spread our wings and be more “on the ground” where the action is.
Many young people want to come and visit our “studios” and learn how to “operate the buttons”. We just laugh when we get those emails, as there are no “buttons”, we work on computers and most young people already know how to use computer keyboards. We do work on special software though, some to help us record and edit our audio, another which is programmed to play the music and the content without somebody having to sit in a studio all day. Computers have really liberated the way in which we can program our shows to go out, even when there is nobody in the office!
How many listeners do you have?
This is an interesting question and we love to get into the details of this. Traditional radio simply has no idea how many listeners they have in real time. They cannot see the number of people listening to them, as those statistics are worked out through a complicated process and only released every six months by an organisation who really guesses the listener numbers based on a few questionnaires that are sent out. And yet people trust those unverified numbers and traditional radio stations base their rates according to those numbers.
Here at GaySA Radio, we can see in real time how many people are connected to our audio. Not only that, we can see how many people have listened to our podcasts and have watched our YouTube videos. We can see exactly how many people have visited the website, are on our social media and have liked our posts or commented on them.
So we think broader than listeners, and recent research suggests we start talking about these people as listener-users. Yes, some may listen t to our live audio stream, but others will read articles like these, or interact with us in various ways. So, at the time of writing, we have a total audience somewhere in the region of fifty thousand. Around eight thousand people connect to our live audio stream every month, the rest of them consume our media in the various other ways outlined here.
Can I be a presenter at your station?
Actually, No. We do not have presenters. That is a concept that works in traditional radio, but for us it does not work, because we do not have a live studio. What you can be, however, is a contributor. We call these people digital presenters. This means that you can make content that can be used on our platforms from wherever in the world you are. In fancy terms, they talk about User Generated Content (UGC) and it is a concept we have just introduced and want to get as many people as possible involved in.
GaySA Radio was started by and for the LGBTQ+ community. With our limited resources we simply cannot afford to run a live studio and be everywhere covering every single gay event. So we are relying on those people with the skills and passion who are already out there to become part of our station. We have created a short little introductory training to explain UGC and how we will work in much more detail. You can read more about it and sign up here.
Can you find me a boyfriend?
You will be surprised to know how many lonely guys ask us on a daily basis to find them tops or bottoms. Sorry to say, we do not do this at all. We suggest you go to a hookup site or use one of the many hookup apps available for this very purpose.
Do you have any questions? Pop us an email and we will answer it for you!