Amelia Jenner, Music Director for FBi Radio offers TIO readers an insight into her role and her top tips for pitching music.
What do you see as the biggest hurdle for community radio right now?
Staying competitive and relevant in the digital age. Evolve or die as they say.
Most community radio charters call for diverse radio programming. What’s challenges are inherent in that? What are the current diversity rules that are in place right now?
FBi Radio exists to serve youth and emergent cultures in Sydney. We broadcast to greater Sydney and our job is to expose a broad audience to Sydney music arts and culture. The number one challenge we have is how we can speak to a culturally and linguistically diverse audience in a way that seems inclusive, personal, authentic and unique. In order to do this and to build strong audiences all over Sydney we need to ensure that the talent we have both on air and off air is diverse to begin with, which is something we’re constantly working on. We have also developed a number of initiatives like Tracks and Dance Class (and are working on many more) to help speak to these diverse audiences.
Musically, my team and I have a number of targets that we aim to meet each week and we’re constantly having appraisals to make sure we are meeting these targets. These targets include making sure the weekly playlist additions are balanced in terms of gender, and that we’re representing a range of voices from artists from culturally, linguistically and ably diverse backgrounds.
Are they dictated externally or internally?
These are driven internally via our response to our charter to serve youth and emergent culture in Sydney.
How many new songs do you listen to in a week?
It’s impossible it say exactly how many as it can fluctuate dramatically but it would be upwards of 500.
What’s your preferred way of receiving music from artists, and what information do you need from them?
Digital is always preferred. It’s best to always include a streaming link and a download link, both of which can be private if the track/EP/album is yet to be released. We need to be able to listen to your music and then download it if we like it. If you include it in your initial submission, it will create less back and forth and make the process easier for everyone. We have also recently set up an online submit form at www.fbiradio.com/submit for unrepresented artists and emerging managers to make it super easy for them to submit their music.
How can a band catch your attention?
There are many ways, but I’d say number one is by being authentic and being active in your community. If you’re out there doing stuff, we’ll notice it.
A few weeks ago I was in a servicing meeting with a band and they brought in their latest song on a phone with headphones, so we all had to sit there in silence while I listened to the track. The lead singer proceeded to empty contents of his bag and wallet out in front of me in order to keep me entertained while we all sat there awkwardly. Today, I added their latest single to rotation… hehe
What’s the general rotation lifecycle of a song?
It’s different for every track, some are there for a good time not a long time and others can be on rotation for a number of weeks. We have three levels of rotation, A, B and C so it depends heavily on the level of rotation the track is on.
How many meetings do you take from radio pluggers, labels, artists and publicists each week?
Again it varies, some weeks I’m in back-to-back meetings, other weeks no one comes in. It’s increasingly easy to service music digitally now, so face to face meetings are becoming less and less. That’s neither a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just the way things are going.
Amelia Jenner has curated the Red Bull Sound Select Christmas Showcase (December 15), which features Basenji, Mallrat, Haiku Hands and Genesis Owusu.
About Red Bull Sound Select:
In 2017 Red Bull Sound Select hosted a number of acclaimed events around the country with highlights including the reuniting of infamous Sydney indie-rock band Red Riders, after a six-year hiatus; a Splendour In The Grass debut take over; a Melbourne Red Bull Sound Select launch; and national end of University tour with guest curation from the likes of RMIT, Dune Rats and One Day.