So I’m finally crawling out of the black hole that is the academic Spring Semester and looking forward to a summer chock-full of composing, preparing for classes…and figuring out what to do with my Composer Next Door project.
Three years ago I was marooned in central Oklahoma with few job prospects, so to keep my mind distracted I threw myself into a project that I’d always wanted to try – creating a radio show based on contemporary concert music. The folks at KCSC-FM on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma were kind enough to give me an hour slot and within six months I was making radio shows on my laptop with a decent USB microphone and a healthy collection of CDs kindly donated by composers across the country.
Things seemed to go quite well until my teaching & composing career improved to the point where I had to impose a six-month hiatus on the project – it had been getting increasingly more difficult to give it the time that it needed while tending to small distractions such as finishing commissions and revamping curricula. Now that I’ve taken said hiatus, I’ve finally gotten things at work more-or-less organized and my commissioning schedule seems to have spaced itself out well enough that I can get back to TCND and figuring out what’s best for it.
My conundrum is what medium and format would be best for such a project. Radio is a safe way to go about it but unless you’ve got a national syndication, you’re limited to a local audience (online simulcasts help with this, but you’re still limited in terms of how often someone can listen in). Podcasting is tempting but the copyright limitations/royalties issues are daunting, especially if one wants to focus as much on label-affiliated CDs as on self-produced works. At the speed at which new opportunities come about, I wouldn’t be surprised if a third option hasn’t come about recently that I’m not aware of – I’ve also thought about working video into the mix (giving due props to John Clare who seems to do everything right these days). All I do know is that this is still an important project and that I’m sure there’s a viable way to make it work (either on my own or in conjunction with others).
So…if you were in my shoes, what would you do?