Paul McLane is editor in chief.
VuHaus is a new collaboration of several public radio stations that specialize in music discovery. This week it formally announced its launch as a video platform and mobile app. “VuHaus showcases gorgeously shot, in-studio live sessions best experienced in wide screen with the volume on high,” the organization promises, with added features like an artist of the week, local spotlights and playlists. The mobile app is available on iTunes and Google Play. To mark its launch VuHaus is streaming three days of live performances from the Non-COMMvention in Philly. I emailed with Erik Langner, right, to find out more.
RW: How did the VuHaus concept take shape, who prompted it?
Langner: Public Radio’s Music Discovery stations are incredibly prolific producers of high-quality video, and as a community, there is a strong ethos of cooperation and collaboration amongst these stations. A few years ago at a public media conference in Atlanta, Mike Henry and I were both socializing the concept of aggregating all of these great music videos with several stations and with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. At that time, Public Media Company (PMC) had just constructed Channel X, a digital platform that allows public broadcasters to more easily share, preview, license and broadcast new independent news and music content, so the backbone for the service was already built. Shortly thereafter, the five founding stations (KCRW/Los Angeles, WFUV/New York City, WXPN/Philadelphia, KUTX/Austin, and KTBG/Kansas City) committed to collaborating, CPB signed off, and we were off to the races.
RW: What was the funding amount from CPB?
Langner: We received a generous $750k collaboration grant from CPB.
RW: Where do you envision additional funding coming from, in your plans?
Langner: Moving forward, we envision continued philanthropic support as we build a premiere destination for new music and artist discovery, and we will be working with a select number of sponsors to help support our non-profit mission.
RW: Why is the concept of music discovery important in public radio?
Langner: Non-commercial stations play a very important role in breaking new artists. All of the VuHaus stations have their own programming slants, but the main thing they all share in common is a real passion for sharing new music with their audiences. In the past few years, so many of the new artists that are getting attention today got their first radio airplay at non-commercial radio. That’s where VuHaus comes in — we will be a new platform to showcase the dedication and care these stations show in choosing the artists that perform intimate sessions for their listeners.
RW: What is Public Media Co. and what role does it play in this project?
Langner: As PMC’s managing director, I will serve as VuHaus’ first president, and PMC will sit on the VuHaus board with the five founding stations and will be managing the VuHaus operations. PMC is a national non-profit organization that has advised more than 275 public broadcast organizations in planning for and executing a wide range of strategies, partnerships and transactions aimed at growing audience, local impact and financial capacity. As part of this work, PMC has helped to acquire, finance and launch a number of Music Discovery stations around the country, including KTBG in Kansas City, KUTX in Austin, WXPH in Harrisburg, WNKN in Cincinnati, Open Air in Denver, and KXT in Dallas.
RW: Our readers are public and commercial radio owners, managers and engineers. What else might they want to know about this project?
Langner:Investing in content is a good thing. As VuHaus continues to add stations, everyone will benefit from a bigger pool of content and web streams of live events. Many people in the industry find non-commercial radio to be perplexing because all of the stations are programmed so differently. We view that as its biggest strength. Each station will bring their own slant to VuHaus and have their own locally curated city pages. All of the stations have passionate and educated listeners who are looking for new music. VuHaus will make it easier for stations to reach their audiences, and for the audiences to find the new music they are looking for.
KUT is providing NPR with live recordings from its own broadcasts plus links to KUT's music blogs including KUT's Song of the Day. Eleven other stations helped launch NPR Music including WGBH(FM) in Boston; WFUV(FM) and WNYC(AM/FM) in New York; and KEXP(FM) and KPLU(FM) in Seattle.