1.) How long have you been on the air?
Can you describe your first broadcast.
I’ve been broadcasting for just shy of 12 years now. Our first broadcast was not intentionally public. XRP was initially a music studio in Birmingham UK. We ended up getting a lot of people from the states to contact us for studio time in Alabama which took us a while to decipher. Once we realised the location name crossover we approached some small studios in Birmingham Alabama to see if they had the same thing happening, which they did! So we created the XRP Job Share network (i.e. if we got work for AL we would send it to them and in return we got more UK jobs). We ended up needing a platform so we could ask each other for advice and opinions on our broadcasts and we found this little live broadcast platform UBroadcast which allowed for 8 listeners. Just so happened we were a group of 8 producers which was perfect. So our first ‘broadcasts’ were short little segments of us playing our weeks worth of work to each other for opinions. However Spams (now a DJ on XRP) stumbled across us and started taking up one of our listener slots! It was incredibly annoying at the time and we didn’t think it would end up moving us into a universal media broadcast format at the time. There was just one listener always there taking up one of our producers' places! DAMN YOU SPAMS!.
Anywho, it expanded a bit and a few more people started listening, so we thought bugger it, a 15 listener account back then was only £1 a month, so we signed up and just did what we were doing sharing each others music. But that was XRP Music Studios and hardly a ‘Radio Broadcast.
After a while a LEGEND of a man, Mr. Oliver Tooley Esquire, approached us with this awesome sounding campaign. G.U.B.I.C. (Get an Unsigned Band Into the Charts). He had a website with 300 different artists on it set up in a competition. The idea was to scroll through all of the musicians and give each one a 5* ranking to come up with a number 1 after a few rounds. The act that won this whole thing would have their track bought by the members of all the other acts, and hopefully their fans, on amazon or itunes (or both) which would get them into the charts. Olliver asked if we would be interested in playing these 300 Acts (with their permission) in a more entertaining manner as it seemed people would get a bit bored skipping through 300 pages of music. Honestly at the time we thought, well hopefully there are some Birmingham based bands in here we could work with and didn’t expect how much fun it would be, with the intention of only running it till the competition was finished. Our first show was 40 of these artists over a 4 hour show with an online chat box as it was so much fun! Making the website and graphics and branding us as an actual radio entity was something new and exciting, and we were one of the first Independent outlets on the Internet radio flex so we had an amazing niche way back when. The show went down well and we were begged to do it weekly. A few short weeks later and we had bands from outside the competition started emailing us tracks for airplay consideration (though I STILL don't know where they got my email!). We were asked over and over again so we decided to start a second show to cope with the volume of music we got sent in. And it just kept growing!
2.) What's your favorite part of hosting a radio show?
I’m not really big on being ‘popular’ or any of that stuff. But one of the BIGGEST pleasures I have is that feeling that all these people want to give me their music to entertain others. You know? Here you are, here is something I’ve worked so hard on for you to listen to and show others you think may be interested. Thats insane! Even crazier I get thanked for being entertained afterwards! Imagine if you went into a cinema for free to see the latest Star Wars and Gorge Lucas is at the door saying ‘thank you for watching my film, here's another free ticket for 10 of your friends’. That privilege I will never get bored of.
3.) Can you tell us about some bands that you have played as "underground" that went really big?
I would probably say the act that has really gone big was Sound of The Sirens specifically. They went to playing XRP Gigs to a crowd basically made up of the musicians that were playing and venue/sound staff, and some weird places. I remember seeing this acoustic girl group with beautiful voices playing a gig in a tiny little dark room with that looked to be a pentagram on the wall painted in blood. Anyways going from their to playing the Olympic Village, Major UK Festivals and even play Chris Evans T.F.I. Friday alongside the likes of U2 is amazing. What I also love about the sirens is they are still humble, still making amazing music that is true to themselves and they have retained their rights and consider us friends. A lot of labels will put restrictions on their artists. Hannah and Abbe basically said to theirs ‘XRP are our mates so they are gonna play our music and we don’t care!’ haha gotta love that! Great girls and amazing to see them go so far.
4.) What are you looking for in new music?
Passion, Passion is ALWAYS key. We have a more complicated submissions policy due to having our own digital downloads store attached mixed with fully international multi stream broadcasts and the biggest team in independent radio history. Thus we have to have things submitted in a certain way. This amusingly has really cut down the bad music we get sent. It’s so easy for someone to send a mass email with their track attached that my inbox is always at limit. To tell them to submit in a certain way gets rid of the lazier and unpassionate musicians and its has literally been years since we have had bad music submitted. After 11 years, 2 million + tracks and 600,000+ artists and bands played, and some may take this the wrong way, but I feel like I can now tell what the quality of someone's music is by their attitude towards it and in every single case I’ve been proven right. So yea, Passion is what I look for in music, the drive, the want to not just want to ‘become famous’ out of hand outs or getting annoyed with someone trying to help you because ‘well I sent an email to everyone else and they were fine with it’. Go the extra mile with everyone.
5.) What's your average audience?
Depends on the show or time, month, season quite a lot with XRP. For instance football and festival seasons we take quite the hit and we have so many different shows with different levels of support. My Tagged show has always been a keystone show and averages out at 200-1500 uniquely identifiable listeners per hour running as a 4 hour show. The chart is more of a community show (for more regular loyal listeners) so is more stable at 200 an hour over 4. Since our new server came into play last Novmber (2019-April 2020) we’ve registered over 100k UIL but stats are always awkward depending on how you look at them and what you are looking for. I could massage those statistics and say ‘we have 5 million stream hits per month’ which although is true, isn’t an accurate reflection of what happens. I would say out of anything, get involved in our networks and see our community and the benefits, reviews and fun you get out of it to get a true feel of how popular and useful XRP is as a station.
6.) What's your plans for the future?
Next up is a re-release of our website. We are building social network like features into it which are going to be very exciting. In fact there are too many new features to the new website to even list. We will also be releasing our own mobile and tablet applications and expanding possibly to multiple channels. We have just expanded into an on frequency broadcast in the Netherlands and hope to keep expanding in that manor too.
7.) Can you describe to us your relationship with Wes of Metal Coffee PR?
He’s a promoter. He puts good music our way and knows we trust his judgement and will play bands that submit to us. He does a damned good job on his promotions in our eyes, because we see the information he sends out. Can be a tiny bit intense sometimes and pulls some moves I would consider very risky but I wouldn’t hold that against him as such. What is very nice is he is approachable and unlike many people I work with, open to thoughts and opinions and takes those on board. We spoke once about his mailing lists and whilst other promoters would be put off, especially when someone younger ‘advises’ them of something (i have been told ‘F*CK OFF AND WE’LL KEEP OUR MUSIC THEN’ a few times), Wes actually discussed the topic, and i also noticed a change in how the mailing lists were dealt with so thats excellent and progressive. Thus you know his promotion isn’t just hard spamming and annoying people, he actually spends a lot of effort researching and tailoring his work to cope with new outlets he finds. That’s very cool and quite unusual in these days of being able to spam and harras people so easily on the internet.
*Very kind, thank you Wes J
8.) Can you tell us a funny / interesting story about your radio station.
Nobody actually knows what XRP Stands for, and that includes the majority of the staff. Mainly due to a large bet I had with someone a long time ago that would result in me paying him a rather large sum of money if he found out. To be honest I even forget sometimes. All we know so far is that the P in XRP does NOT stand for professional ;-).
9.) How do bands submit their music to you for airplay?
Grab and artists account @ XRPRadio.co.uk - fill in all your details in your profile menu and use the same menu (top right hand corner) to create an album slot then upload tracks to it. It’s pretty quick and simple and here’s a 3 minute video on how to do this if you get stuck: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVW5G1HFsEI&t=3s (it should take less than 3 minutes if you have decent internet as you don’t have to wait for me to finish speaking ;-)