The Rabbit revolution

For those in the know of where to find their fix of local grass roots arts, culture, food and entertainment, the Rabbit + Cocoon (R+C for short) Creative Precinct in Miami is THE place to partake in such pleasurable pursuits. R+C is home to the bustling street vibe of Marketta Street Food every Saturday evening, as well as the mini-festival styled Miami Marketa on the first Friday of every month. Not to mention the precinct’s recent foray into regular live music and multimedia entertainment platforms.

And those with their (rabbit) ears attuned may also know of another frequency transmitting from amongst this teeming creative hub. Because tucked away in this vibrant metropolis of food, culture and entertainment resides Rabbit Radio, the Gold Coast’s first independent and progressive online radio station.

Broadcasting live from R+C every day of the week, Rabbit Radio’s frequency is attuned to the cultural heartbeat of the Gold Coast, delivering daily doses of vibrant music and cutting edge topical content across a range of genres and interests, with a particular focus on supporting the plethora of singers, musicians and bands bubbling away beneath the surface of this city of ours. And being that the Gold Coast is in fact the sixth largest city in Australia, an independent online radio presence is a vital lifeline in connecting the local population with the best of the arts, music and culture that this region has to offer – something well beyond the surface level ‘glitz and glamour’ vapidity so readily and lazily portrayed from the outside looking in.

To learn of the genesis of Rabbit Radio we chatted with local fly-guy Freddy Holler, who was one of the key players in getting the project off the ground from a mere hole in the wall to the bustling rabbit-warren that it is today. We asked Freddy about the early days of Rabbit Radio and how it all came about.

“The idea of an online radio station was being thrown around the R+C precinct for sometime, until one day my good friend and local PR Queen Kylie Mitchell-Smith convinced me to come and develop the idea with herself and kickass video producer Polly Snowden. We sat down and devised the Gold Coast’s first online cross-platform media ‘empire’ that would pump local culture out of a little shed, to be experienced on devices all over the world. It was exciting and I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into it!

“In the beginning, Kylie focused on programming the shows, co-ordinating presenters and seeking sponsors, while I produced and maintained the online platform, back-end systems and studio. At this time we also ran an online social media branding competition, resulting in the birth of the distinctive Rabbit Radio logo, designed by Perry Hawkins.

 

“Those behind the R+C precinct made the whole thing possible with providing a venue, start up capital and endless organisational support.

 

“The project was very fortunate in attracting some tremendously talented people as volunteers and interns from the get-go, some of whom have continued on in a more permanent role and played an integral part in Rabbit Radio’s development, such as our much valued Station Manager Mella Bunker.”

Freddy himself took on a very hands-on role in turning the Rabbit Radio concept into a physical reality…

“I had about six weeks to produce a physical studio, media website, subscriber system and broadcasting server, as well as program the music and develop some killer branding to represent the cutting edge Gold Coast flavour. After extensive research into studio designs and materials (and with the much appreciated support of Barry Martin from Love Street Studios), we came up with a practical, functional studio which delivered reasonable internal acoustics and, most importantly, blocked out all external noise –  trucks, industry and the clang of dishes from the cafe on the other side of the wall.

“Two of my closest friends, Sebby and Dale, went above and beyond in constructing the sound bunker, with Gloffy Constructions providing the bulk of the materials. I designed and built the online platform and systems mostly from my home production studio, then worked away on aspects such as the social media campaign on my sawdust coated laptop in the warehouse driveway, while the boys constructed heavy duty sound walls.

“Once the burrow was built I went shopping and pulled together the materials required for a functional radio broadcast studio, such as computers and audio equipment. From there we were ready to hit the airwaves.”

The embryonic days of a community radio station are typically littered with trials and tribulations. Budget constraints combined with the involvement of passionate but inexperienced announcers has delivered its fair share of challenges and chortles, as Freddy illuminates…

“We faced the same road block that many arts/cultural projects face – financially challenged with minimal resources and no marketing budget. But thanks to the support of the Rabbit + Cocoon Precinct together with a whole heap of awesome locals contributing their time, we have been able to keep operating and develop the platform over time, despite the constraints.

Our concept was to invite super passionate volunteers to present our on-air content, and learn the radio-ropes as they went along. Combined with a shaky internet connection this resulted in the odd technical meltdown, random volume levels and the occasional offensive on-air content, some of which wouldn’t have even been on-air if the microphone had of been switched off while the song was playing – funny times!”

Just the Facts…

Rabbit Radio is exclusively an online radio station, so for those technologically challenged this means you can’t find it by fiddling on the dial of your old skool transistor radio. You can however tune into the rabbit Radio frequency at: www.rabbitradio.com.au or by accessing your favourite streaming radio hub such as TuneIn Radio.

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