Remember when you listened to the radio in realtime and you had to tune out for a week each year because of the pledge drive? Swapping the dulcet tones of Renee Montagne and Steve Inskeep for abrasive local morning shows was never pleasant. But while most of us have traded our FM sound waves for on-demand podcast programming, public radio still operates on a shoestring budget. And in the food world, where Heritage Radio Network broadcasts amazing programming from their tiny yet prolific shipping container operation behind Roberta’s, becoming a sustainer is just as important as always. While they won’t ruin your morning commute with donation pleas, their crowdfunding method does take one page from the NPR playbook: Support their Kickstarter campaign and receive radio’s favorite thank you gift (a tote bag).
HRN’s website is written in a coding language that will become defunct at the end of 2015. They currently write the HTML code for each podcast by hand, a process deputy director Allison Hamlin likens to Brooklyn’s small-batch artisanal movement. “It’s a romantic idea but a terrible way to run a website,” she laughs, and adds that streamlining the process will free up time for other projects and improving other aspects of the site.
The Kickstarter campaign will pay for a new website that automates a lot of the current website’s most tedious work and creates a more user-friendly interface. To realize the site, HRN is collaborating with boutique design agency Operation CMYK, another small-scale startup. “We’re like foxes who mate for life,” Allison says, “we want the right person to get in bed with because we’ll be together forever. Building our team is one of the most important things we do.”
The mockup for the new website shows a sleek design and several intuitive organization systems. You’ll be able to search shows alphabetically or by air date and HRN editors will be able to group relevant content. And infinite scroll will ensure that you find plenty of archived programs for your pledge drive-free morning commute. Support Heritage Radio Network, get yourself a pizza tote, and don’t forget to listen to their great programs. Check out our Allison’s recs below:
- Tech Bites — Michael Madrigale of Bar Boulud, Social Media Som
The head sommelier at Bar Boulud on popularizing magnum pours.
- Chef’s Story — Soulayphet “Phet” Schwader
The Umi Nom restaurateur on eating Laotian food in Kansas and opening an Asian fusion restaurant in Brooklyn.
- Cherry Bombe Jubilee: Change the World, One Bite at a Time
Missed Cherry Bombe’s annual event? Hear movers and shakers talk about navigating the intersection between social change missions and successful food businesses. Moderated by “Chef’s Life” star Vivian Howard, the panelists include three powerful women who are fighting systemic problems in the food system.
Featured photo credit: Joe Martinez