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Chapter 9. SomaFM: Multiple Live Streams... > Building and Maintaining Community

Building and Maintaining Community

SomaFM depends on its community. An area on the site is available for listeners to post comments. An e-mail link and a telephone number (currently a toll call) are provided for requests and other commentary. Hodge attributes the current load of only five calls per day to the toll charges. A toll-free number is planned. Interestingly, SomaFM’s voicemail service makes WAV files of the phone messages, which can be used in the site’s programming.

As it is with any commercial-free, listener-supported radio venture, Hodge says: “the trick is to make it pay its own bills.” According to information on the site, it costs more than $15,000 a year to run SomaFM, including bandwidth, music publishing fees, hardware maintenance, connectivity, installation charges, and electricity. Site statistics state that almost 5% of the total listening audience contributes to the tune of about $15,000 between 06/01 and 2/02.


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