An interview with Kim Paris, founder of FM Radio Archive
Can you share your most popular search terms?
Per the data on archive.org, the 3 most popular search terms by topic on FM Radio Archive are: 1. FM broadcast, 2. live concert & 3. aircheck.
Co you find certain genres more popular than others, and theorize as to why this happens?
Based on views, it seems that rock concerts (Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac) are the most popular. I think this is just because those bands were all very popular and played a lot on FM radio. It appears that jazz concerts are the next biggest draw, which may be due in part to many mentions of FM Radio Archive on Marc Myers’ JazzWax blog, including this one.
Do you see a difference between traffic and download activity?
I can’t see the download activity from archive.org‘s data, but FM Radio Archive currently has >950K views, and I expect to pass 1M views on the third anniversary of my archive in January 2023.
What surprises you most about user data?
I’m often surprised about broadcast recordings that get lots of views, when the band or artist is not so well known, or from a long time ago. Two recent surprises have been Poco from 1973 (currently #1) and Linda Ronstadt. I think the Linda Ronstadt recordings experienced an initial surge after a relatively recent TV special about the singer and how she lost her singing voice. The other surprise is where listeners are located, I get a lot in the Netherlands, the UK, and South Africa.
Have you ever expected something to surge and find it goes flat?
I have sometimes been disappointed when a broadcast recording I post doesn’t trend well on views. But then I can also be surprised when they trend higher months after I post them.
What would you do with this archive if you had infinite resources?
I am the sole creator and curator for FM Radio Archive, although I have a few “regulars” who send me broadcast recordings to post. I plan to publicize it more on Facebook and/or Instragram after I retire. I also donate often to archive.org, which is the world’s largest online digital repository for music and many other types of media, and I encourage everyone to support the archive’s mission to preserve and share historical media.
Do you get requests for additions and changes?
Yes, if I list the wrong date or location for a concert recording, or the wrong band members, I often get reviews with the corrected info. In some cases when I post a show as a single track, I’ll get the setlist added in a review, which I appreciate.
Can you share other sites you find helpful in maintaining this one?
1. Other collections of broadcast concerts and radio shows on archive.org
2. JazzWax by Marc Myers
3. CTProduced by Mark Cathcart
4. The Music History Calendar to celebrate anniversaries related to artists, concerts or album releases
5. Setlist.fm for the song lists and other facts about broadcast concert recordings.
Any tips on computer streaming wifi setup?
I have a whole house Sonos system with speakers in 6 rooms, so we can listen throughout our home, either the same music in all rooms or different music in various rooms.
Do you sense any overlaps between FM Radio Archive and youtube… does stuff show up in both places, or shortly after you’ve posted yours?
Yes, I occasionally pull music clips from YouTube, and often find someone has lifted music from FM Radio Archive and posted it on YouTube. Here’s an example, this cover art is mine.
Who do you consider your strongest competition if any?
As there is no financial incentive for me with FM Radio Archive, I don’t think about competition. The goal is just to share the music, via the archive and my Melting Pot radio show on Freeform Portland. I feature 30 minutes of FM Radio Archive tracks at the end of most of my 2 hour radio shows.
Where do you go to find stray obscurities, broadcasts?
I get most of the music for FM Radio Archive from my music trading network. Also other postings on archive.org and from some internet blogs and searches.
Has anybody compiled the complete King Biscuit Flower Hour archives? Or other radio/TV programs that deserve attention?
Discogs has a list of all the albums that were released on the King Biscuit Flower Hour record label. King Biscuit Radio streams recordings from the radio show and I’m also a fan of NPR’s Jazz Night in America program.
Where can others follow you on Instagram or Twitter?
I don’t use or plan to use Twitter, and I don’t currently post much on Instagram or Facebook. My Melting Pot radio shows on Freeform Portland can be found on FM Radio Archive and on MixCloud. I plan to do more on social media after I retire next year, when I have more free time.
How do you promote this content to your target audience?
At this time, the only “promotion” of FM Radio Archive is when I write to Marc Myers on JazzWax (like this post about Creed Taylor & CTI Records), or when I play tracks from the Archive on my Melting Pot radio show. I plan to do more on social media next year, after I retire.