Friday, July 26, 2013

1€ a month to save Radio Helsinki

Since I just love listening to Radio Helsinki, I thought I'd offer my two cent to the pile of ideas on how to save the station.

The premises, one great radio station that play and says pretty much what ever they like, a growing international audience and annual budget deficit of around 350 000€.

Although Finnish is a beautiful language for radio, to address the increasing global audience, there is a need for more programming in English. My suggestion is that from 7 am to 7 pm the broadcasting would, like it is today, be in Finnish, but from 7 pm (which would be 9 am pacific in the US, or late afternoon in Japan and Australia) to 7 am the live broadcasting would be in English.

The question is, should this be done locally with talented DJ's like Nick Triani (host of the ever so popular show “8 ½”) or should the English broadcasting be done as a joint venture with some other North American “free/alternative”-station? Or bought programming like the great “Little Steven's Underground Garage”. Or would the “Radio Helsinki” feeling survive if the original Finnish shows where to be voice-over-ed?

How would this save Radio Helsinki? Wouldn't this just add coast? Well it would add coast, but couldn't this partial English broadcasting open up new audiences? And here comes suggestion number two, the webcast subscription model. The bulk of the money would still need to come from advertisers, but with a growing portion from web subscribers.

Listening to the webcast could be done “live” that would be just like listening to the radio, in Finnish or English, depending on the daily schedule. Or the user could choose a preferred language an listen to earlier broadcasts in that language, in a radio-on-demand kind of way.

The webcast would be free, for one hour of listening per day. If you'd like to listen for more than one hour a day, you'd need to buy subscribe for a very low fee of 1€ or $ per month, which would entitle you to unlimited listing time for as long as the subscription is valid.

Now suppose everybody (which is unlikely, but let's be optimistic) who likes the “SaveRadio Helsinki”-facebook page would subscribe for one year. That would generate 26 095 (as of July 26th, 11:28am) x 1€ x 12 months = 313 140€. Not quite the missing 350 000€ (plus the cost of the 'Englishsification'), but one would think that a global audience would be attractive enough to increase revenue from advertisers and by keeping up the high standard of broadcasting there could be a real substantial chance of growing the number of subscribers, so that in a year or two the station would be self-sufficient.

As a huge bonus for us locals in Helsinki, we could still listen to our beloved radio station the old-fashion way on 88,6 MHz!