At the Beatles-A-Rama!!! website, you are entertained with music from the Fabs and others, in a classic rock style format, while up-to-date Beatles news scrolls on the right, and a schedule of upcoming shows is listed. The Abbey Road Webcam is also there.
A few weeks ago, Pat (who’s real last name is Helmstetter) approached the Beatles community with the urgent news (read here) that Beatles-A-Rama!!! needed “some help from his friends” and quick. Pat has run the show successfully since 2001. But in 2008 his diagnosis of prostate cancer, on top of a myriad of other set-backs, began a downward spiral of financial issues that has placed the show’s operation in jeopardy. It has all taken a gigantic toll on his wallet to keep up with the fees to produce the show.
Sadly--only 44 listeners out of 30,000 have opened their wallets so far. Please help Pat save Beatles-A-Rama!!! Donations can be as little as $5 and are done through this site: http://www.indiegogo.com/beatlesarama.
As with other fundraising campaigns, there are prizes for each contribution level:
$5 – a magnet with the International Beatles Fan Day logo
$25 -- 160k streaming subscription to the station for a year,
$75—Pat will record your voicemail at your home or cell phone.
$100 --a selection of various CDs or DVDs
$200 -- Beatles-A-Rama host Michael Solof is offering up his "Off The Beatle Track" shows!
$300 -- a lifetime premium subscription to the station.
Background on Beatles-A-Rama!!!
Pat first became a part-time DJ in Harvey, Louisiana in 1970. Ever since he first heard the Beatles’ song, I Want To Hold Your Hand in 1963, he was totally hooked on the Fab Four. The burgeoning world of Internet radio in the late 90s gave Pat a niche to start his own show in 2001, and now with over 30,000 daily listeners, he’s never dared look back. In 2006 Rolling Stone Magazine called the show “brilliant” in an article about internet radio.
The show offers a unique, broad approach that listeners love. In a recent interview with Jude Southerland Kessler, (author of the John Lennon Series), he said, “We play hundreds of other artists besides The Beatles. We now get unlimited server space and have a library of over 4,000 songs! We started the station because the world needed to know that there was a station which would keep The Beatles legend alive.”
Pat’s show has also recently partnered with The Beatles Website as their “official” radio station, and big new projects are promised as a result.
In the You Tube video to the left, Pat explains to his listeners how his situation became so dire. They lost most of their income when their national sales representative sold out to a large company who began only paying the station for listeners who were listening on a certain player. Then Google cancelled their website ads. That was all before the cancer diagnosis. Now after four years of trying to stay afloat, Pat’s credit lines are totally maxed out, and he’s got nowhere else to turn, but you, the fans.
Here is our interview with Pat, who explained why his show stands out from other Beatles internet shows. He talked about the current fundraising efforts and where the donations will be used. He emphasized the need for the fundraiser, but also for new subscriptions for a high-quality stream service. Without funding, the station, he said “will be gone by the end of the year.” Let's not let that happen.
INTERVIEW WITH PAT:
Lennon Examiner: “How does your show stand out from other Beatles shows on the Internet?”
Pat Matthews: “Shelley, first and foremost we have a more complicated format than all the others. There are other Beatles ‘Jukebox’ Internet stations that come nowhere near us. For example, we comply with the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) rules. We have 18 different categories of music, all from the era of the greatest music ever recorded. That's why we call it "The Beatles & a Whole Lot More". I come from a long history of radio, and we bring back the way radio was in the ‘Glory Days’.”
Lennon Examiner: “What will happen if your fundraising goal is not met by July 22, and what happens to the funds that are donated?”
Pat: “Well, I may try to extend it past the end date. They may have me just start another one. I am working behind the scenes with a potential investor, but I've had this blow up in my face before. Indie GoGO keeps 9% "commission" on funds raised. If you reach your goal, they rebate you 5%. So far, the monies raised have paid a one month streaming bill, with the rest earmarked to pay another month and music licensing fees. So, it's all going back into the station."
LE: At what point, if worse comes to worst, would you have to shut the station down?
Pat: "I'm doing whatever I can to keep the station running. I want to remind all listeners that we need their support! We are trying to bring attention to our subscription service which offers a super high quality 160kbps stream for only $11.95 per year. We MUST get this feature going big time. We initially offered it 2 years ago and projected that we would sell 1,000+ per month (since we have 25,000-30,000 daily listeners. Well, needless to say, that never happened. We have sold a grand total of 466 subs in the two years.
"So, if I were to project a drop-dead date, it would be that if normal, everyday sales of iPhone Apps and subs and ads, etc. don't pick up, we'll be gone at the end of the year.
"The fundraiser is sort of like a "band-aid" at this point....if it were to take off and we have moderate success in the other areas of income mentioned...everything will be fine! I hope that happens since I have put SO much work into it.”
Thanks to Pat for his photos and for this interview. Remember: “Burdens aren’t heavy if everyone lifts.” Donate here to keep this great internet radio station Beatles-A-Rama!!! alive for Beatles fans: http://www.indiegogo.com/beatlesarama.