We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark White and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mark, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I have always been somewhat in the business of music, singing, photography, videography, booking bands at clubs, then being offered a radio show timeslot. It seemed to be a natural progression in spreading awareness of music in my local area. I attracted a couple of volunteer helpers. At almost two years in, we were doing a successful weekly interview and performance internet radio broadcast. Then, one partner brought in two new people, one was a software programmer who introduced our live streaming capability and the radio station was born. We also started doing live event streaming.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
KCOS is the only 24/7 all Colorado music internet radio station that we know of. What sets us apart is that as a nonprofit we feature just about any solo artist or band that has music. We play a whole CD in rotation to fill a 24/7 format, our broadcast software ensures random generation to play all songs eventually. This keeps music present for indefinite future plays for unsigned, independent music that doe not get radio play anywhere else. In the five years we have been alive, we have generated a global presence on an economical internet platform much more so than a terrestrial FM business with exponentially more costs. It was not easy in terms of getting listeners initially. Building that presence has been mostly due to many forms of social media, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram. It still takes a daily regimen to keep up all forms of media. Having a weekly on location broadcast helped enormously with bringing awareness too. We also attracted a lot of attention with live streaming concerts and events. What we have learned along the way is getting community involvement, being true to the bands you attract and play and providing mostly free events, relying on sponsors. What we want the world to know is that our station stands up to any other corporate station in many ways, little or no commercials, DJs that talk too much and really great music. We have so much music, we now have multiple formats in our broadcast week, Sunday blues day, Saturday live music day, Friday progressive rock format, a weekly late nigh heavy metal format, syndicating another live streamer to our station and working with local record labels to bring awareness to their business and bands.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We do this often. We work with blues societies in Colorado Springs and Denver and support their events. With our heavy metal weekly format, there are exclusive venues and promoters that provide us with opportunities. Many restaurants, businesses and bars that have live music want our presence and endorsement. We are still recognized as the best live streaming capability in Colorado and get invited to do awesome cultural events. Live music is alive and well in Colorado and everyone wants to be a part of the excitement and business music attracts. We are the live stream provider for Sunshine Studios, the City of Manitou, the annual Blues and BBQ festival in Denver for Habitat for Humanity, Blues From the Top in Winter Park, the Greeley Blues Jam and many other local businesses.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First of all, you never really know who appreciates you and will give you opportunities. There are a lot of people who granted media passes to festivals, venues open to the advent of live performance streaming, video and photo work around the State of Colorado, bands (around 400 independent) that recognize your agility to attract attention and following to boost their presence. Sponsors that want to help you get established and maintain a presence for example the Blue Star Connection, the Colorado Blues Society, other nonprofits like the Help Autism Center and Hug It Forward organizations. The Manitou Chamber of Commerce for believing in us to stream the Emma Crawford Coffin Races for the first time ever for two consecutive years before COVID as well as the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon for two years. Volunteers that believe in what you are doing and want to help.