To those who click on my articles and read Radio Friendly religiously,
I’m not one to typically follow trends (notice how I haven’t bleached my hair blonde), but I can’t help that others think it’s a suitable time to review their year in full at the end of the calendar year. So, in following, I’d like to go over what has been Radio Friendly’s 2018.
I started Radio Friendly in January 2018. In what might call a spur of the moment. I still remember the feeling I had on that weekday afternoon back at the start of the year. I was feeling good about my life, after having a rough six months prior, but creatively I was in a rut. The publication I was writing for had fallen a bit flat, as many publications do towards the end of the year/start of the next. I had so many ideas for stories, so many opinions on music that I wanted to share, but no one would take me on. I also had little self-motivation to write. And I had this selfish seed that began to sprout in my head, I didn’t want to put my content out into the world and have other people take credit for it. Which, upon reflection, is the thought a writer would think after rejection from multiple publications. I sat on my balcony and thought, “fuck it, I’ll just do my own thing.” Radio Friendly had already been a working project that had lied dormant for a year or two, I had the blog in limbo and the artwork ready to go. All I had to do was pull my finger out my ass and do something with it. So, I created an Instagram for the social media presence and pressed the preverbal GO button on the blog.
Upon reflection, beginning with an Instagram is a solid, albeit small, foundation for launching a blog. But it’s fucking hard to push your written content out into the social media universe when all you can use are pictures and a couple paragraphs of text. I learnt a lot about Instagram this year. A lot about its algorithms, hashtags, bots, but most importantly, it’s bloody hard to try and grow an Instagram profile. You need the images to be captivating, you need the content to be consistent, and it doesn’t hurt if your profile is aesthetically pleasing. So, I set myself a goal to reach at least 100–150 followers by the end of the year. I’m over 200 now, fingers crossed the bots don’t unfollow me before New Years. Half way through the year I created a Facebook page. That’s still growing, but it’s easier to maintain. If you’re reading this and haven’t liked RF Facebook, you know what you need to do.
One of the pros of writing about music, and live music in particular, is the opportunity to go see live music for free. A privilege I became accustomed to when writing for Society of Sound for over four years. I’d be lying to say that going to gigs for free wasn’t an incentive to begin Radio Friendly. But more importantly, Radio Friendly has given me the power to do my own thing. I could now review what I wanted, write what I wanted and say whatever the fuck I wanted. Which is kind of the ethos of Radio Friendly anyway. I do still enjoy taking a shot in the dark and reviewing some of the EPs/albums that are sent my way from local bands, it keeps me on my toes. I can also write about how much triple j annoys me, or how I reckon PornHub will be the one video-site to rule them all in a couple years’ time. (Both articles up on Radio Friendly, check them out). My point here, and one of the goals I set in January, was write for myself. And in the timely exercise of reflection, I think that has been successful.
My final goal I set myself was to cover BIGSOUND. It was a goal to work for that would be both beneficial to the blog, and rewarding for myself. For the past couple years, I went to Brisbane’s week-long music festival/industry circle jerk, and wrote about all the upcoming bands. It’s my favourite time of the year. I wanted to do the same in 2018 for Radio Friendly. And I knew I had to get the blog in a place where it looked shmick, and the content had been consistently good. And I also needed somewhat of a following. I applied for the media pass, and reluctantly got an email back a few weeks later saying I was going to BIGSOUND.
I still get little butterflies in my stomach when good things happen, the BIGSOUND accreditation was one of those moments. I relate the butterflies to the satisfaction of achieving even the smallest of goals. I’m not setting myself major goals throughout the year; I’m not saying I want 1k followers on social media or I want to produce records for underground bands. (They are dreams). I got butterflies when I was given access to the Car Seat Headrest gig at the start of the year, only weeks after starting this blog. I got butterflies when I saw a Radio Friendly quote on the Gurrumul press release. I got butterflies when the manager of a Brisbane record store recommended Radio Friendly to me when I was purchasing a record I had just reviewed. And I got butterflies when I achieved my main goal of going to BIGSOUND. (EDIT: I have to mention the fact I went to festival in Melbourne for Radio Friendly, I can’t leave that out. Still pretty chuffed.) It’s about setting minor milestones, and being happy when you achieve them. It’s simple.
I’ve got new plans in motion for 2019. There’s some expansion I want done, that will happen fairly soon if I get my shit sorted. I want to do more video content and continue to write more as well. I think I’ve got a handle on the balance of work life and creative life. I’ve got a secret project I’m working towards, so I’ll see how the balance holds up once I get that ball rolling.
In closing, I had a conversation with my writing mentor the other day. I told him about Radio Friendly, I told him it was a blog and he cautioned me about the toxic and competitive culture around blog writing. His advice was don’t get caught up with the superficial shit. All fair points. My response was, Radio Friendly is no different to the plethora of other blogs out there. I know plenty of blogs write about music, poetry, film, current events. The difference is I can write better than 80% of them. 85% on a good day. You’re in good hands if you’re one of those keeping up with RF. You might not see content every day, but you know it’s worth it when it comes around.
Thanks for following Radio Friendly through its first year.
Stories published in 2018: 79
Subpar Photoshopped images: 208
Playlists curated: a lot. Let’s say 20.
Videos painstakingly filmed/edited: 11
After reflecting on this here article, an After the Hype of 2018 would probably have been funnier.