Curtis Machek - Young, Talented and Inspirational
Broadcasting World sat down with Curtis and asked him some adventurous questions about his radio career from the ripe young age of 17, wow!
You have been involved with Broadcasting for quite a while now, how did you first find out about Broadcasting and what interested you?
It was a very long time ago, when I was 11 years old. My parents bought me this "Radio DJ" toy, which put me On Air 20ft away on 1610AM. I never stopped using it, and I started using the little input jack to play music off iTunes on the computer, and eventually moved into Podcasting. I later discovered Shoutcast, and it slowly grew into what I have going on now.
Why did you decide on Internet Radio as a way to reach your audience?
I really can't describe my audience traditionally. My "audience" has always been people who listen to me. I couldn't care less if there were 5 people, 50 people, or 500 people on the other side. So, to me, Internet Radio wasn't a way for me to reach my audience, but rather a way for my audience to reach me.
How much planning was involved when you first started Radio Kick?
Very little. Near the end of November one year I decided to broadcast Christmas Music 24/7 all through December, and people liked it so much, in January I relaunched as a full time hit-music station. I've since changed formats twice (never let go of the name), and now consider myself a Hot AC station.
How did you reach and target your audience using the Internet and were there any other ways of advertising you used?
Again, I didn't really do a lot to reach an audience, other than try to get myself listed on as many radio directories as possible. I consider myself very lucky with my two major traffic sources. The first, iTunes, listed me within 48 hours of submission. The other, OnlineRadioStations.com, seemed to provide a lot of listeners who enjoyed my station (I went from 0 to 10000 hits, which is what I currently have, in 4 months). I have since been listed under "Featured Stations" on that site. Windows Media Player wont return my emails.
You have quite an advanced set up in your studio with radio automation, a phone line and mixing desk, do you think this is essential for Broadcasting?
Not completely essential, as stations can be successful without it, but I feel that there really should be a human element to broadcasting. If that means twice a week the automation gets turned off for an hour or two, and someone talks between songs, so be it, but I disagree with stations that are 100% music, interruption free. Having the setup just gives me a lot more freedom On Air when I do decide to go Live (whether that freedom be used to take callers, or to have a guest in-studio).
What do your parents think of your hobby and do they mind having a room/studio dedicated to Radio Kick?
My parents are very large supporters of my hobby (even if they never tune in). If it weren't for them, I would be running out of my bedroom, with a lot less equipment than I have now. Don't get me wrong, I pay for almost everything out of my own pocket, but they support me a LOT, and keep me on the air (our electricity and phone bills are huge).
Are you looking to expand in the future with Radio Kick?
Absolutely! I am looking at getting the station licensed for profit, and register as a business (when I am legally able to at age 18 in Feb).
Do you think you can see yourself working in radio in the future?
I am going to be taking a college course in Applied Communications for two years starting September 2011, and my goal in life is to one day be the PD or even General Manager at a Major Market station.
What businesses and software do you use to broadcast on the internet?
Oh wow, too many to mention. My big ones would be StationPlaylist for Automation and Music Scheduling, and SOCAN for Music Licensing in Canada. I don't use any stream providers, rather I host everything off a Canadian Dedicated Server from Netelligent.ca. Studio equipment from RODE, Mackie, Arrakis, Nortel, and 360 Systems. Finally, I have a Flash AAC+ stream through Icecast, and I have to thank Robert Andrews (Brutish Sailor) for helping me figure out how to stream AAC+ straight through flash, without Wowza.
How has Broadcasting World helped with achieving your goals with Radio Kick?
Broadcasting World is great. It has always been a very good resource for webcasting, as well as learning different things. It's a great community, filled with people always willing to lend a hand. I've also used the Buy/Sell area, and purchased a microphone.
We would like to thank Curtis for giving us access to his amazing life as a young dj/talent/producer/broadcaster/owner!
If you are interested in Curtis' station, you can check it out at http://www.radiokick.com.
Curtis was also featured on a local TV station which is shown below...