B2B ID: Joshua Braska, fundraising, marketing, outreach coordinator for Valley Free Radio, Florence
NAME: Joshua Braska
JOB TITLE, COMPANY: Fundraising, marketing, outreach coordinator, Valley Free Radio, Florence
WHEN THE BUSINESS STARTED: 2005
WHAT YOU DO: Valley Free Radio is located at 140 Pine St. in Florence. Our mission is to support the community through quality programming and independent news sources. We serve with a particular regard for those under- or unrepresented in the mainstream media. We provide the tools, equipment and training for community access.
EXPERIENCE: U.S. Army 1996-2000; Mass Mutual, financial services professional; owner of small telemarketing company.
THE MARKET: Listeners in greater Northampton, Amherst, Easthampton, northern Springfield, south of Greenfield and online who enjoy non-commercial and independent music; people interested in politics and community activism. The station was started with the intent of bringing in independent news sources, specifically “Democracy Now.” We have expanded to include science (Big Picture Science, Explorations), health and wellness and many other types of music and talk shows.
HOW YOU REACH OUT TO IT: 24/7 radio broadcasts, social media, events, strategic alliances with other independent media outlets, online stream, community involvement.
WHAT FINANCING HURDLES HAVE YOU FACED AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THEM? When I first got involved with the station, there wasn’t a real plan for funding beyond the twice-a-year pledge drive. I immediately started to organize events to serve the dual purpose of getting our name out and bringing in much-needed funds. The biggest challenge has been coming up with new ideas and figuring out how to make them work for us.
KEY TO SUCCESS: Persistence and time management. I do my best not to quantify success in dollars and cents. Instead I focus on the big picture and the overall impact we have on the community. If you are passionate about what you do, and you do quality work, the money will follow.
CHALLENGES: Working with all volunteers is sometimes like herding cats. Sometimes you get more help than you need. Sometimes you get none.
MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: We put on a show last year. We rented a space, brought in some bands and promoted it heavily. It was a lot of work, but the turnout wasn’t as big as I had hoped. I learned a great deal from that show about what not to do.
WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: If your goal is to be successful, you must first help others be successful. The less you focus on yourself and more on others, the more successful you will be.
WHO HELPED MENTOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY: My co-host, Steve Trumpy, has been very helpful both professionally and personally. Sometimes, I go overboard and think too big for what we are trying to accomplish. It is good to have someone who can reel me in and keep me on track.
TOP GOALS FOR 2013: Raise enough money to hire a part-time station manager and remote broadcast equipment. Make it into the Advocate’s Best for best radio station and radio personality. Create a network for independent media to work and collaborate together.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: Never refuse the opportunity to listen. The worst thing you can say to someone is, “I’m not interested.” To me, that is closing a door and the option to work together. Just because you might not be interested, doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity.
PARTING THOUGHT: Don’t be afraid to ask. The saying, “It isn’t what you know; it is who you know” has one more part: It is “who you know, that you ask.” You can know everyone in the world, but if you don’t ask for help or advice, it won’t do you any good.
The B2B ID is compiled by Janice Beetle of Beetle Press in Easthampton, a PR and communications firm. www.beetlepress.com. To suggest a subject for B2B ID, email Beetle at email@example.com.