New Pagan radio station seeks to improve underserved market

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Music aficionados who are looking for Pagan and Pagan-themed music have a new listening destination waiting to be discovered.

PaganRadio.org is a licensed online radio station operating out of Vancouver, British Columbia. The station was founded by Ian Adler in March of 2020.

“The mission of the station is to provide Pagan and folk music from Pagan artists,” explained Adler, who has several years of previous experience as a disc jockey for clubs on the popular user-created virtual platform Second Life.

“It’s, over time, my plan to cover a wide variety of artists as well as have some featured interviews and music.”

Adler said that while he has no formal training in broadcasting, he has been able to apply the things he learned about software and how servers operate from his work on Second Life. The interest he developed on that platform started him on the way to creating his own station. That interest and opportunity to intersected perfectly with his spiritual path.

Ian Adler of PaganRadio.org [courtesy]

Aldler said that being officially licensed is an essential part of the project.

“The station is fully legal and does not take advantage of musicians like 99% of online radio stations,” said Adler. “The server for the PaganRadio.org station is located in Canada. So, to be licensed and ensure that royalties are paid to the artists I have registered the station with the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). One of the things SOCAN does is oversee broadcasters and ensures royalties are paid for Canadian, American, and international artists.”

Adler is referencing the difference in royalties being paid in broadcast radio between songwriters and artists. Music that is broadcast by terrestrial stations are only required to pay royalties to the songwriter or composer of the music and not to the artists who perform and record the music.

This is because often two separate copyrights are involved. If the performer is also the songwriter or composer of the music, then they hold the copyrights to both. However, if they are performing music written by someone else, then only the songwriter or composer receives royalties for the song being broadcast. Internet radio providers like Pandora, SiriusXM, and other satellite radio and webcasters are required to pay royalties to the holders of both copyrights – composer and performer.

For programming, Adler says that he looks for established artists who have a current catalogue of published music. At this early stage, Adler said that most of the music in the rotation right now tends to be Pagan folk, traditional, and rock, though he does intend to diversify offerings within the genre.

“The current plan is to increase the audience of the station and to expand the variety of Pagan music played,” said Adler, “and over the next month or two, establish some specific programming around other types of Pagan music such as goth and metal.”

Artists ranging from the more “traditional,” such as Loreena McKennitt and Damh the Bard, to the Norwegian Nordic folk band Wardruna, to goth act Inkubus Sukkubus, are representative of the station’s playlist.

[Pixabay]

“Published artists are usually registered with international licensing organizations like the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), SOCAN here in Canada, and internationally via associated licensing agencies,” explained Adler.

That said, Adler does have plans to introduce music by up and coming artists in the Pagan scene, as well as playing music in different styles within the genre.

An option for listeners to suggest or request music is featured prominently on the station’s web site home page, and right below that is a section containing an invitation for aspiring artists to use to email Adler about having their music featured on the station.

“That would get things started,” said Adler. “I want the whole process to be friendly and informal.” The next step in that process is for the artist to send in recordings for consideration.

“Once I get to know them more it would move to a verbal interview via skype,” said Adler. “The interview would be broadcast on a Saturday and would be broken up with some of their tracks to add to the interview and feature their music. Then finally, I would put a selection of their music on a high rotation playlist for a week, if they wished, add the music to the general playlist after that.”

At present, the radio station is being run as a non-profit. Adler said that he is paying all operating expenses out of pocket.

“For the beginning, being non-profit is very important,” said Adler. “It keeps the fees paid to SOCAN low so between those fees and the hosting it remains affordable.”

Adler said that while the current plan is sustainable while the station gains a larger following, he is exploring options beyond soliciting donations for future financing options as operating costs increase. Adler specifically mentioned Patreon, a platform that content creators utilize to generate consistent income by offering consumers the opportunity to buy subscriptions to their product or service, as an eventual possibility for his station.

“I don’t want to be in the position of begging for donations,” explained Adler. “I really want it to be sustainable.”