Founded in 2009, sold six years later, and initially operated from my bedroom Soundpond.net (along with sister enterprise Beatshed) was an Australian first. Two regular blokes watched a movie about pirate radio in London during the 70s, and thought, “That seems like a splendid idea!”. Realising a huge market gap for under-represented music, and lacking the budget to buy a fully fledged FM broadcast ship and place it in international waters, they turned instead to the internet and Soundpond.net was born in little ol’ Adelaide. It was an entirely live, entirely online radio station, combining live chat, live video streaming, articles, and more into an individually curated experience. The degree of instant interaction with the studio itself, and all other listeners, was unparalleled.
While this concept is somewhat ubiquitous today, in 2009 there were *zero* “turn-key” platforms for live video streaming. No youtube live. No Facebook live. No Ustream. No Twitch. We had to figure out how to do it all, including setting up our own media server and the like. It grew to 52 live shows a week in dedicated CBD studios, all individually curated by passionate deejays and original producers, to ensure a fresh, constantly evolving, quality experience. We presented the best, picked by living breathing humans, with a living, breathing smile.
In the past, this lack of representation for underground beats was solved by the odd speciality show on an FM channel, interspersed with playlists chosen by small teams of music directors subject to their organisations bias and putting their own personal influence on the station as a whole. This either worked, or didn’t. Regardless, it wasn’t fully crowdsourced. Soundpond.net’s predecessors/competitors included every music station, worldwide, ever. Clearly, competition was stiff, but it thrived.
Eventually it grew into a truly complex entity in it’s own building, comprising a fully fledged bar and performance space, live studio, a second training studio and teaching arm, external events company, and online media outlet ft a huge range of interviews, tips, opinion pieces, reviews, and more.
Soundpond.net presented more live content than most free-to-air tv stations in Australia combined. Every day. Eventually the business was sold after ~6 to 7 years to members drawn from the community, and components of it still operate to this day.
Some key achievements and responsibilities are listed below, and amongst other portfolio posts.
● Founded + grew company to 200+ clients, 20+ casual staff, 15,000+ social follows
● Wrote and negotiated all building, commercial lease, liquor, noise management, and emergency plans and gained approval for all of the above to enable a move into our own dedicated premises.
● Ran several external street party events, as licencee, with much of the same planning required.
● Directed several large-scale external liquor licenced events as licencee (300-700pax)
● Wrote several successful grant applications to state and local government bodies, resulting in $80k+ total funding.
● Directed Kickstarter-style funding campaign totalling over $20k in donations.
● Created content across social media, live broadcast, videos, and web articles
● Scheduled 50+ live radio shows a week, including interviewing new show hosts.
● Landed cash + sponsorship from Coopers, Stereosonic, Allans Billy Hyde, William Grant & more
● Wrote press releases and gained coverage in The Advertiser, The Australian, Messenger Newspapers, Rip It Up & various online media
● Implemented apps + databases for email, calendar, staffing, accounting, 100+ volunteers, etc
● Negotiated partnerships with the Government of SA, Adelaide City Council, Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival, Feast Festival, Pilot Records, Allans Billy Hyde, Volleyball SA, Freestyle Session, all local Universities, Fresh 92.7, Stereosonic and Future Music Festival
● Provided entertainment & technical services to external clients from simple DJ provision to setup and design of festival stages (sound, lighting, staging) & live on location streaming.
My most memorable experiences include
● Multiple show hosts that had experienced extreme personal hardship confided that without the station, their regular show that was a point of stability, and a place with many warm and friendly faces where they knew they were genuinely welcome, they might have struggled far more through difficult times. More than one credited it with saving their life, and this is something that I will forever cherish and hold close to mind when building new teams, and inclusive environments.
● The face of the Assistant Commissioner of Police when we informed him we wanted to throw a rave on a carpark rooftop, something that hadn’t been done before to date.
● The phone call awarding us a massive state government grant, hard fought for, hard won, that would enable our move into our own dedicated premises.
● When a drunk fool broke into our office, had a nap, ate 2 week old dumplings from the fridge, stole a jumper, and left themselves logged into facebook on our computer. All caught on CCTV, and eventually documented on the local news, going viral globally.
● We were the first organisation to live-stream with video on-site at a major music festival in Australia, at a VIP arena that we crafted and presented the lineup for.
Awards – TBA
Grants – TBA
Media – TBA