M4A’s Nitro-Mecha-Penguin recently had the privilege of conducting an interview with Voice of Rock CEO and Founder, Frank Riester. This article followed:
Most metalheads hailing from South Africa are frustrated with the fact that there are no radio stations dedicated to metal and hard rock music in our country. Long gone are the days of Barney Simon’s ‘Night Zoo’ on 5FM where one could get a modest dose of local or international metal, and even Radio 2000 showed a sign of promise during the mid-2000s when they started airing some daring material. However, they and other radio stations of national significance had such shows quickly stomped out by government pressure asserting that national assets were no longer allowed to serve the interests of ‘exclusive minority’ groups. Given the stance of government, it comes as no surprise that a private metal station based in South Africa has been started and is quickly growing in popularity. Voice Of Rock Radio launched as an online station and webzine dedicated purely to metal and hard rock music – and is even sweeping in fans from around the globe!
Frank launched the station as a professional means of conveying that South Africa indeed has a growing and genuine following of heavier genres such as metal, and to provide a dedicated station for the craving fans.
“The aim is to bring the best mix of both international and local metal music to both South African listeners and to listeners from around the world,” says Frank. He goes on to explain that Voice of Rock also hopes to stop fragmentation of the metal sub-culture and therefore includes all subgenres of metal, hard rock and classic rock in its playlists – a listener can expect to hear anything from Slayer, Cannibal Corpse and Metallica to Foo Fighters, Bullet For My Valentine and AC/DC, and even Cape Town’s very own Cold Hand Chemistry, for example.
The station, which broadcasts 24/7 all year around, relies primarily on word of mouth and social networking at this point and has grown from a mere two hundred listeners per month to an impressive figure of 4,800 listeners, and continues to increase.
“Of course, these stats are nowhere near yet what commercial FM stations have. But, for a metal-only webcaster, these stats are really quite amazing considering that we have not yet spent any substantial amounts on marketing, sponsorships or live events,” Frank told us. Voice of Rock is regularly represented at many of the top international metal festivals where they have conducted interviews with top artists such as Slayer, Twisted Sister, Opeth, Turisas, Alter Bridge, Firewind, Thin Lizzy, Apocalyptica, Alice Cooper, Doro, Nevermore, Helloween, Rob Zombie, Dimmu Borgir, As I Lay Dying and Children Of Bodom.
Besides all the international big names they have brushed shoulders with, Voice Of Rock also features selected local bands on their playlist to allow our artists to be heard by an international audience. One of the latest featured broadcast events of note took place in January this year when Voice of Rock hosted an exclusive album radio premiere for local hard rockers Sabretooth, streaming the band’s debut album in its entirety with track-by-track live commentary by the band members. Some other artists that have been features include: Crow Black Sky, Terminatryx, Strident, Juggernaught, SacriFist, A Walk With The Wicked, Machine OEM, Chromium, Sindulgence, The Warinsane, Knave and others.
As far as future plans go, Frank explains that they are currently working on a complete site revamp and are aiming to steer away from the traditional webzine style and focus much more on the station, introducing a subscription model that, in return for a small monthly membership fee, will give members access to amazing exclusive features such as browsing the entire Voice of Rock library as well as submit song requests in real-time directly from the site, dedicate songs to friends and many other features.
“Our radio player was recently revamped and now displays accurate, comprehensive meta data for each and every track played. Included are: cover art, country or artists origin; direct link to the artist’s wiki or website; year of release and, of course; the track, artist and album titles. Our player is extremely detailed in every aspect and there is nothing quite like it anywhere out there as far as we are aware.”
Frank also went on to tell us that while the radio stream is near CD quality, they are keeping it at a low bandwidth of 64 Kbps which ensures that a listeners monthly internet cap is not too far compromised. He also promises that with the completion of the new site, they will also launch a series of weekly shows our of which we can expect an exclusively metal show. In a final word, Frank says more info will be announced soon and it will be massive!
At M4A, we feel that this is certainly a step in the right direction for the South African metal community.
To listen to Voice of Rock radio right NOW, follow the link here: http://www.voiceofrock.com/radio/
And you can also find them lurking on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/voiceofrock