Adventures in Radio Land – Part 1

I often feel that I was born like thirty years too early! When I look at the technology available now and the possible opportunities I often do wonder what I would be doing if I was thirty years younger! People will always say that it is never too late to do anything in life and I try to live to this aspiration, engaging in what I would like to do rather than, at my age, what I feel society feels I should be doing. I don’t know whether it is something about being a teacher/tutor, but I do like to present and it was always a dream of mine to have a successful radio station. Well, I didn’t have the time or the money, so what did I do – you guessed it – started my own radio station…and this is the story so far…


mixer 1

When you look at the great Youtubers and Twitch Streamers, many of them focus solely on one game and become great at it. They stream/create videos about that content week after week and build up a great following. Yes, I know they take small breaks to indulge in some of the recently released games, but generally they focus. I’m someone who learned long ago that I am not good at focusing. I can focus when I have to work, but I’m not very good at focusing solely on one project and developed it. Currently I have several projects on the go;

  1. this blog
  2. Professional Blog
  3. Professional Youtube Channel
  4. Personal Youtube Channel
  5. Twitch Channel
  6. Minecraft Servers

I am managing to keep them all on the go at the moment, although whether I am doing this effectively is probably noticeable from the small viewing figures. On top of all of this, I decided to create my own radio station, Wilson Waffling Radio. I thought it would be interesting to see the steps I did in order to set this up, just in case you are thinking of starting your own – or even getting a show on mine!

  • License – The first thing that you soon realise is that setting up your own radio station is not going to be cheap. In order to play music online you need a license. I went to the PPL website. They were very helpful answering my questions and ensuring that I got the right license for my station and, perhaps most importantly, at the cheapest price. Every quarter I need to submit data to the company such as my total listener times, and they then assess whether my license requirements have changed or not. There was an initial yearly payment for the license, but as the popularity of the station increases (haha) the cost of this might also increase – so be prepared!

  • Music – This is another cost and I haven’t even got to the interesting stuff yet! In my 20s and 30s I was a member of an online company called Britannia – I think that what is was. Every month they sent me a CD and I had decide whether I wanted to keep it or return it. It was a clever marketing ploy since I often forgot to return it and therefore ended up keeping it and paying for it. I always thought that I had quite a good collection of music but when I actually started to play the music on my shows, I quickly found that I had to buy more music in order to avoid repeating the same songs and/or artists. I would definitely say, if you are thinking about starting your station, be prepared to be buying either CDs or, like me, spend time buying music from iTunes and converting to mp3 format.

  • headphones1

  • Hosting – This next one can be as cheap or as expensive as you want. Basically you need somewhere that you can stream your music to in order to allow your listeners to tune in and enjoy your shows. I looked at three sites primarily – MyRadioStream, Internet Radio and Radio.co. I actually wanted my radio station to be available 24/7 so I wanted some sort of auto DJ function. One thing I would encourage you to do is ask lots of questions and be patient. I looked at cost and customer service before I started so I knew what I was getting into. Eventually I went for Internet-Radio.com. They provided everything I needed, at a reasonable price and, when the trial went wrong, they extended it for me in order to ensure we got it right. They have also been very good at answering questions since I have been with them. I guess its quite personal – but do ask and do investigate.

  • Equipment – And finally -for this episode – equipment! As well as radio I have always been interested in streaming, Youtube videos and Podcasting. I was luck enough to stumble across an excellent podcaster called Colin Gray. He produces excellent courses, at a very reasonable cost, about starting off in podcasting including marketing, concepts and equipment. I invested time and energy in completing two of Colin’s courses since I knew absolutely nothing about microphones and mixers. I then went out and started to buy mixers and headphones and microphones. This was a huge learning curve and I spent many weeks after actually buying cables to connect things and, even now, I still get confused by sound levels and have, one several occasions, nearly deafened by listeners! Equipment can cost a lot of money, so I would definitely recommend either doing loads of research or completing a course of some description.
  • I’m going to leave this episode of adventure into radio land here and return to it at a later date to talk about the software I use, marketing, jingles and shows. If you are interested in listening to Wilson Waffling Radio, then I would love to have you along for the journey. You can also support the station by liking the radio’s facebook page. As ever, if you have any questions or comments about this blog post or the station then please add them in the comments below. If you are interesting in producing a show for the station or running an audio advert then get in touch and I’ll see what I can do!

    You can keep up to date with my content by following me on Twitch, Twitter and Facebook. If you are interested in joining or playing Minecraft, then you can join the server and website here. Of course any subscribers to my YouTube channel are always appreciated.

    2 comments for “Let Me In! – Simon’s Cat – YouTube

    1. Profile photo of Longshanks
      February 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Would be cool to play an one off, one of the dungeon crawls you made! Maybe the 8 level one!!!

    2. Profile photo of David Thompson
      March 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I miss those early days so much. The current state of rpg’s , the rpg xubculture if you like, doesn’t feel like it did back then. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      I was introduced to Advanced D&D 1st Edition, by my sisters boyfriend (the BEST boyfriend of the many she had IMHO..), who showed me S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module after discovering I enjoyed computer based adventure games, I was hooked immediately and it wasn’t too long before I was hanging around the local game shop, Games Gallery, from which I was invited to join in a game run by the assistant manager, who was to become my long and good friend Steve, who was coincidentally, the reason I got to work at the local branch of Games Workshop for a time. Working there, in those days, before it became a Warhammer only shop, was amazing. It was the proverbial kid in the sweet shop!. Staff discount made it even sweeter – 50% off GW’s own products, and 25% off everything else. We also ran a great rpg club, with about 60-80 members at its peak.
      I was always the GM for my main group as no one else had the time it took to prepare a game properly, though after a few changes to the group, and people from the club popping up, I eventually got to play. Games by a company called Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU) were very popular in all of my groups. FGU sold games such as Bushido, Aftermath,Space Opera, Chivalry & Sorcery, Freedom Fighters, and Bunnies & Burrows, but there were many many more games, by many different companies, covering all sorts of genres – and I still have them all. Many were, as was the style back then, table and chart and rule HEAVY. We loved that. Comparing themto the current crop of “rules lite” systems, I would certainly go back to the old games instead. We played these games sometimes 5 days a week, as for a time we were all unemployed. It was all we did.
      I often spent days creating scenarios, making maps, creating player characters as well as npc’s. I found it quite therapeutic, as is miniature painting – thousands of the little buggers packed away testify to the time I spent doing it. My “toy soldiers” as my brother in law calls them…
      I used to get quite attached to my favourite characters, and whilst one or two died over the decades, most did not.
      For almost all of my characters I would go overboard by most people’s standards. I like to have an image for my characters, whether a photo or artwork. Sometimes I will see an image and that is the base for the whole character, built around the image.
      I always believed as a player, that giving the GM a detailed background, list of goals, motivations, friends, contacts and enemies, will help the GM bring my character into the game more, by using some of what I have given him in the game. As a GM I like to see what players come up with for their characters, and will often use it in the game. It involves the player more, makes the game more personal if part of the game is suddenly about them, and it can help the players become more invested in their characters.
      For myself, I would often map out the characters home, create a family tree, siblings, etc.
      For our Star Trek RPG (by FASA Corp), I created the whole crew of a 500+ personnel star ship… All as detailed player characters. Unnecessary and a bit OTT I know, but it helped bring every department on the ship alive, every member of the landing party was a person not simply a red shirt.

      I am often bemused whilst watching streams when I see the gm of a streamed game pull some “new” idea out of his box of tricks, and the players are like “wow!”, “that’s original”, “I would never have thought of doing it that way!”, knowing we did it 30-40 years ago.

      The games my most recent group and I played/ran, were very detailed games with a lot of depth. Quite dark games too, mature themed, and often very emotional and intense. Having played with the same people for nigh on 20 years, you create a bond, a closeness and familiarity that allows you to communicate in a way you couldn’t, with people you don’t know very well.
      I have been brought to tears several times in recent years during the last (decade long) game we played ,as some scenes were simply too emotional or powerful, overwhelming (GM was a bastard – but an EXCELLENT GM).

      Sadly the group folded, but the GM offered to keep the game going for just me, which he did for a few years, which to be honest I really needed, as it helped me through a bad depression at that time).
      Over the years I have experienced a lot of things because of rpg’s, and made some great friends, too. I have a lot to be grateful for, regarding rpg’s. I was discussing with my brother in law, my collection of rpg’s and miniatures. When he realised how much they are worth, (some regularly sell for £100’s!) he always tells me to sell sell sell. He doesn’t grasp what they mean to me .
      Yet I won’t. Part of me hopes and prays that I will get a local group together (even some of the old group!) and start using them again. But aside from that, as my memory fails, little by little each year, these boxes and books and miniatures on the shelves are my constant reminders of happy and sad and exciting moments, and great fun, and more importantly, great friends.

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