We met Mike Lecuyer, Cédric Vernet, and Francis Rateau, the creators of Blues Café Radio just one year ago, on April 7, 2018. A niche radio station that has found its audience and relies on the commitment of these three real specialists and a 15,000-disc library!
Hello to you three, why did you create Blues Café Radio?
Mike: I already had a web radio station dedicated to blues in French-speaking countries, and I was looking to give it a new dynamic. It was while talking with the Blues Café Live team that I discovered that they wanted to start creating a web radio and we decided to join forces to create Blues Café Radio, a new radio station with a much broader musical spectrum.
Francis: For almost 15 years, Cédric and I have been hosting a radio show called “Le Blues Café Live.” It is a public show with live bands (a white label show broadcast on many radio stations). We wanted to go further, to share our discoveries and the many record releases.
Cédric: Yes, that’s why we wanted to create a web radio. Blues Café Radio was quickly born with the help of Mike who already knew how Radionomy works.
How did you hear about Radionomy?
Mike: It only took a few searches on the net to find Radionomy. We already had a few colleagues using it, and it seemed to present all the key options we were looking for.
Would you have created this radio if Radionomy had not existed?
Mike: Probably not, or with a lot more difficulty (laughs)!
When did you create this radio?
Mike: Just one year ago (April 7, 2018), we just blew out our first candle.
Tell me more about the concept… Why this name?
Mike: We searched for a name for a long time before deciding to rely on the notoriety of Cédric and Francis’ concert show. And the idea at the beginning was just to broadcast programs, including their own!
Francis: Yes, the concept is a music radio, but we didn’t want to be just a music tunnel. We also offer a weekly program with 4 shows about blues, two of which offer original live recordings.
Why did you choose this musical niche?
Mike: Blues is really the music we have in common; it’s what made it possible for us to meet. We are passionate, and we often meet each other at festivals, concerts, or on the web!
Cédric: Yes, and blues is living music, which continues to evolve. That’s what we’re all interested in, finding new trends.
How do you compose the line-up?
Cédric: We receive a lot of records from labels or artists all over the world. We already pick from these releases, but we also like to go snooping on the net to find some gems.
Francis: We went to explore our respective music libraries to find some older but essential tracks. We must be at 15,000 records if we put together our 3 music libraries, so it’s a great place to play (laughs).
Mike: I’m more into French blues bands and English bands from the 60s. I bring this awareness to the program.
Can you name two or three titles and/or artists that best symbolize your musical program?
Cédric: The programme is very eclectic. We go from Black Keys to Seasick Steve and artists like Bjorn Berge, Gary Clark Jr, Eric Bibb, Big Daddy Wilson. The French blues has a very large place with names like Fred Chapellier, Awek, Cotton Belly’s, Dirty Deep or Olivier Gotti.
Do you often add new tracks? How do you choose them?
Cédric: Yes, we add several new features per week; it’s our strength compared to other radios. We always listen very carefully to get great tracks. You don’t listen to the radio as you listen to your music library, you need tracks that capture the audience’s attention.
Do you do special programs? Do you have partnerships with events?
Francis: For the moment we have 4 weekly shows: Le Blues Café Live (Cedric and Francis), Blues Covers (Mike), Blues Prun’ de Blues (Francis, Christophe, and Rebecca) and Blues Emotions (Sylvie and Hanah).
Cedric: We did several special days this year: special programming for the death of Aretha Franklin, one for Christmas and the preview of some albums such as Little Bob’s new album.
Mike: We have partnerships with some festivals but also with Blues Magazine, which provides us with advertising for each of its releases and sponsors our “Classic Blues & Rock” section.
Do you have any contact with your listeners? Do you use it to develop your programme according to your expectations?
Cédric: Yes, we have a Facebook page and a group called “Au Comptoir du Blues Café.” Listeners can offer us tracks that we often enter into programming. Surveys are also conducted on certain borderline tracks that are put to the vote.
How much time do you spend managing your radio each week? How do you reconcile this with daily life?
Cedric: There are three of us, so we share the work well. It was a lot of work for the first few months.
Mike: Now the radio has found its cruising rhythm. The main part of the work is to schedule the programs every week, which I do. Cedric, with Francis, integrate the new features. We work there every day either on RadioManager or on our facebook pages.
How did you create your site? Via which platform?
Cédric: Our site was created with WIX. But today we rely more on social networks, Facebook in particular, on which we have a large community of fans.
How is the audience profile of your radio changing?
Cédric: Today we have about 1900 listeners per month, which represents a listening volume of 140H/day. The audience is gradually increasing, we feel that we have more and more loyal listeners.
Mike: It takes time to implement radio, people don’t always have the reflex yet but as we often say “Try it and adopt it! »
How did you manage to increase your radio audience?
Cedric: Mainly through our communication on social networks. We communicate on each new disk entry in playlist. And then word of mouth works to the full!