Black Sparrow Radio: How One Music Venue Started It's Own Station

Follow the journey of how Texan music venue, Black Sparrow Music Parlor branched out into radio and launched their own station: Black Sparrow Radio.

Jamie Ashbrook

by Jamie Ashbrook in Review

Last updated 11.01.2022

Black Sparrow Radio Case Study Header

At Texas music venue, Black Sparrow Music Parlor, starting a radio station has been on their collective mind for a good few years. Since 2018, the team have dabbled in digital radio. But it was in 2020, they realised their vision of creating a free and independent station. With the help of Radio.co, Black Sparrow Radio or KBSR was born. Meet the station founder, Shannon, and social media director & show host, Ryan.

A Music Venue That Branched Into Radio

Situated in the Texan city of Taylor, Black Sparrow Music Parlor hosts some big names in American roots music. Punters can expect the likes of The Reverend Horton Heat, Dale Watson and Rosie Flores to grace the stage. Given the endless buzz of musicians and music heads passing through the doors, it made perfect sense for Black Sparrow Music Parlor to host a radio station too.

A band playing to the crowd at Black Sparrow Music Parlor
A band playing to the crowd at Black Sparrow Music Parlor

But Black Sparrow Music Parlor is not just a purveyor of excellent country, jazz and rockabilly. It’s a hub of independent businesses. It boasts a skate shop, vintage clothing & homeware store and Texan food - all under one roof. You could even say it’s not a parlor, it’s a lifestyle.

And now, thanks to Black Sparrow Radio, listeners can plug into the Black Sparrow lifestyle from anywhere in the world.

Getting Black Sparrow Radio Online

From running a music venue, Shannon came from an analogue world; amplifying live bands was her forte. But with the help of Radio.co she got up to speed with doing things digitally and broadcasting over the internet.

I’ve pretty much learned everything I know - as far as the platform and the digital side goes - from those [Radio.co] videos.
Black Sparrow Radio Host Shannon in the booth
Black Sparrow Radio Host, Shannon, in the booth

Within one week, Black Sparrow Radio were broadcasting the sounds of their Texan community internationally.

Black Sparrow Radio

Black Sparrow Radio draws in DJs and radio hosts not only from Texas, but from further afield. Great music is a KBSR mainstay but its shows also span gardening and politics. And with so much diverse content on offer, the Radio.co platform allows the Black Sparrow team to keep track of the impact of their station.

The Radio.co dashboard tells Black Sparrow Radio team in real time their number of listeners. This is a big plus for Ryan.

The biggest thing for me that I could not live without is the dashboard. It's the easiest thing to use and the thing that gives me the most insight.

A Community That Supports Itself

Black Sparrow Radio and Black Sparrow Music Parlor go together hand in hand. To know one means to know the other. This means both ventures benefit from their relationship.

Celebrations at Black Sparrow Radio
Celebrations at Black Sparrow Radio

For the days their regulars can’t make it to the Parlor, they can tune into the station. Likewise, folks enjoying Black Sparrow Radio can be enticed to check out Black Sparrow Music Parlor in person. And dedicated listeners can support Black Sparrow Radio through Patreon.

Conclusion

Wanting to enrich lives near and far? Then look for further than Black Sparrow Radio as an example. Ventures like KBSR show having an in-house radio station can harness the talents and inspiration of a particular community. And broadcasting globally allows countless listeners outside that community to benefit.

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