When you click the “donate” button in the right-hand column on the webpage, the money you send goes into our PayPal account. PayPal takes 2.9% plus $0.30 off the top of every donation, so your donation minus 2.9%, minus 30 more cents goes into the BlackLight Radio PayPal account.
The BlackLight Radio account is used STRICTLY for BlackLight Radio… nothing else. I’m not getting a cheeseburger out of the account, or buying DVDs at Amazon with it, or anything like that.
Four bills come out of the BlackLight Radio PayPal account:
#1 — $19.38 to LoudCity, monthly. LoudCity is our music licensing service. We launch our stream from their site and pay them $19.38 / month, and they cover our payments to ASCAP, BMI, SESAC (all 3 are songwriting copyright holders) and SoundExchange (who holds the rights to the mechanical reproductions). If we didn’t pay LoudCity, we’d have to pay these organizations independently, which would run into thousands of dollars a year… or, if we didn’t pay licensing fees, we could have our equipment confiscated and we could be thrown in jail. As you can imagine, we LIKE paying LoudCity.
#2 — $29.99 to Cloud Broadcaster, monthly. Cloud Broadcaster provides our bandwidth, or our listener slots. $30 / month gets us 150 slots on their Dallas, TX server. Without Cloud Broadcaster, when you tried to tune in, either you would get an “all slots full” message, or it would just time out. $30 opens up 150 “seats” for you and your friends to sit in on the show. We like playing Cloud Broadcaster, too.
#3 — $29.95 to Top 40 Music On CD website, yearly. This is a subscription to a database containing every song to hit the top 40, including the 80s. Through my subscription to this website I’ve been able to track down numerous radio versions of songs I never could have found otherwise. It’s not just a database, but a community. If something is out of print, generally another member is able to provide me with a high quality copy for airplay. I could give this site, but it would handicap my ability to accurately add the “hit” versions of songs. Renewal is in February; if it’s between LoudCity and / or Cloud Broadcaster, I would not renew with the site.
#4 — $1.29 to iTunes, infrequently. As I continue to add songs which hit the hot 100 in the 80s but didn’t make the year end charts, or as I add PartyMixes for our Friday and Saturday night shows, if there’s no other way for me to get it I will grab it from iTunes. This is infrequent; some months I’ve bought as many as 3 songs, other months I haven’t bought any. If our account is low and it’s a question of buying a song or paying LoudCity and / or Cloud Broadcaster, I skip the iTunes purchase!
The only exception to the above list was once, a few months ago, when a friend found out we were personally in financial trouble. The fastest way to get the cash to us was through the PayPal account; we withdrew exactly what he donated (minus what PayPal charged, of course). No listener donations were or are ever moved to our personal account or used for our personal expenses. In fact, the only other time money has moved either way was we were doing better financially and moved money IN to the account so we would have to ask for your donations.
I hope this explanation makes you feel a little better about donating to BlackLight Radio. First, you can see with only about $50 / month in expenses, when I say “every dollar helps,” it’s really true! 50 people donating a dollar every month would cover our expenses. 5 people giving $10 = same thing. Your donation isn’t just a “drop in the bucket;” it can cover much, most, or all of our monthly expenses, depending on how much you give!
Second, I hope you notice there’s no salaries for myself, my wife, Anonymous John or Shar or anybody else connected with what we do. This is a labor of love for all of us; and your donations re-focus my dedication to serve you, our listeners, with the best programming possible. I want you to be confident the money you give is going to what you want it to go to… in fact, if you want your money to go to LoudCity specifically, or Cloud Broadcaster specifically, or whatever, just shoot me an email… I’ll make it happen.
Perhaps I should also mention that if two people give $50 in one month, that second $50 isn’t treated as “play money.” It will sit there, ready to pay for the NEXT month. If a dozen people gave $50… yeah, we’d be set of a year of webcasting.
One question I haven’t covered is, why do we ask for donations in the first place? Most stations asking for donations are either religious or National Public Radio. You might think BlackLight Radio “just plays the hits.”
Due to LoudCity’s contracts with ASCAP, BMI & SESAC, we can’t run commercial ads in our stream. That is to say, we can’t get PAID for running commercial ads in our stream; you may hear classic ads from time to time, but we’re not getting paid for those. The only way we can make money is through people clicking through on-site banner ads… and that’s not yet generated enough for us to even get a check cut.
My wife & I had covered the costs of BLR for quite a few years, but since a little over a year ago we have been in financial straits. We’ve taken it back over for a month here and there when we thought we could afford it… but those times have been few and far between, and right now we are certainly in no financial shape to keep BlackLight Radio on.
BlackLight Radio is on because you, the listener, won’t let it die.
We do need your help; we need your help every month. This month has been covered, but next month the clock starts ticking again. A regular monthly donation from you would mean the world to us!
If you have any questions about any of this, email me or hit me up on Facebook.