As with the first two years of our operation, DixieBroadcasting continued to grow exponentially in our listenership this past year. We now average 15,000 listeners per month, with an average listening time per visit now up to nearly three hours — an almost unheard of statistic for any station! Our biggest day on record took place in March of 2005 when we broadcast a special report in support of the elected Sons of Confederate Veterans leadership, which included the recorded teleconference of the GEC meeting; that same day also featured a live interview with Dewey Barber announcing that Dixie Outfitters had just signed on as the Title Sponsor of DixieBroadcasting. This record day saw over 3,000 listeners tune in to the station!
Overall, the listenership continued to grow to previously unreached feats. The rating service which currently rates DixieBroadcasting and about 10,000 other Internet broadcasts provides very precise statistics to us. At the beginning of 2005, we were in the top 300 or so stations in their rankings; but in October we reached the incredible height of # 42 out of 10,000 broadcasts based solely upon total listening hours! In fact, during the year 2005, we passed the mark of half a million total listening hours logged by our listeners since the station began in June of 2002!
Another goal that was established for DixieBroadcasting at the outset of 2005 was to get our Southern message out over other radio means than just the Internet broadcast… and we did it! During the course of the year, we achieved the feat of creating the first-ever Southern Broadcasting Network when we successfully worked together with no less than a dozen low-power FM radio stations across America who each agreed to carry all or parts of our programming each week. As a result, we have literally received phone calls and emails from listeners to DixieBroadcasting from places as far away as Missouri and Idaho who actually heard the broadcast over the air waves!
Even though the station’s website is not intended to be a "news" source, as such, it received an incredible amount of Internet traffic during 2005. The following stats do NOT include the broadcast stream which is also carried over the Internet:
- Nearly 47,000 unique visitors!
- Over 90,000 "visits" to the website!
- Nearly 28 million "hits" on the website (more than 2 million hits per month)!
There were many technical improvements made at DixieBroadcasting this year, which have further increased the quality of the broadcast and virtually eliminated any "downtime" with dead air broadcasting. These improvements included the addition of new, quality recording equipment for the studio, smaller equipment for carrying to remote locations for the purpose of recording live events, a battery back-up system to keep the broadcast going uninterrupted even during power outages as long as several hours, and a secondary broadband Internet source to continue the broadcast even if DSL capabilities are down due to BellSouth telephone problems.
With the advent of iPods, portable music players, and such, DixieBroadcasting offered several original content programs to our listeners as downloads on the station’s website. Each time that these downloads were offered, there were a number of individuals who availed themselves of this new feature, called Podcasts.
Additionally, we have added a wealth of new music and content from artists and speakers throughout the Southern Movement this past year, as many have learned of the station. New material arrives at the station almost weekly, thus keeping the broadcast new and exciting to the listeners. DixieBroadcasting also added a number of new programs to our regular lineup and even a number of new voice talents and freelance production artists. Some of the new programs that were added this year were the "DixieBroadcasting Daily News," "The First 350 Years" by Pastor Steve Wilkins, and "Straight Talk," an extremely popular weekday show hosted by Past Commander-in-Chief Ron Wilson of the SCV.
Other Contributions to the Southern Movement
One of the more important roles that DixieBroadcasting played during 2005 was the support of the elected leadership within the Sons of Confederate Veterans. When a small number of past commanders of the SCV sought to prevent the more unreconstructed elements of the SCV from pro-active efforts on behalf of Southern heritage, DixieBroadcasting was, at times, the only source for many of the general SCV membership to know exactly what was going on during the internal struggle. The outpouring of thanks from our listenership for performing this role was tremendous, to say the least. DixieBroadcasting has continued to provide an outlet for the elected officers of the SCV to stay in touch with their membership, as well as the Southern heritage community at large.
The year 2005 also saw our second annual Southern Heritage Music Awards, in which anyone from the Southern Movement was able to go online and vote for their favourite musical artists and music in the Southern Movement. The Awards expanded this year to 13 different categories and many more nominees than the first year. Online voter participation was also up considerably from the previous year, as more and more folks in the Movement became aware of the Awards. Each winner received a professionally-etched glass award, similar to those given by other music associations; and, as last year, the artists, themselves expressed much thanks for the appreciation shown to them for their labour for the Cause.
In conjunction with the Southern Heritage Music Awards, DixieBroadcasting released a second "best of" music CD entitled "Southron Anthology Volume II: A Taste of the South," consisting of some of our most requested songs from 2005. This CD was made possible by the artists, themselves, granting permission to use one of their own songs in the project. Not only has this CD outsold the first volume, but it has totally paid the expenses of the year’s Awards program and has actually had some songs given airply on traditional radio stations in some markets — thus helping to get the Southern message out to mainstream radio listeners!
As before, DixieBroadcasting achieved much more in 2005 than any of us, I believe, ever dreamed possible. It is certainly proof that both those already involved in the Southern Movement, and the Southern population in general, are hungry for something to encourage them in their heritage and Southern-ness.
The following is a list of goals that I have already set for DixieBroadcasting in 2006:
- More affiliate land-based stations carrying our programming
- The creation of the Southern Heritage Music Association to assist in promoting our musical artists in the Movement and helping to get their music out to more mainstream radio stations for airplay. The trademark papers for this name and endeavor have already been filed; and work has begun on this project. The model for this creation will be similar to the early days of country music, when the Grand Ole Opry and a flagship station started it all.
- A "Southron Anthology Tour," consisting of live events where our musical artists are featured is already in the planning stages. The desire is to debut the idea in several venues this year, with the possibilities of expanding it in the future.
- A powerful new radio automation software upgrade, along with other software applications, has been added to the station which will afford us much more flexibility of programming methods and of providing a much better mix of our listeners’ favourite music selections.
- More "live" programming during 2006… something that will make the content even fresher to our listeners.
Much of DixieBroadcasting’s success this past year was due to the support of Dixie Outfitters, who signed on as the official title sponsor of the station; Atlantic Bullion & Coin, owned by Ron Wilson; and beginning in the latter part of the year, the Sons of Confederate Veterans International, who signed on as a primary sponsor of the station. Many other individuals, camps, chapters, and businesses provided the much-needed financial support for us to be able to grow as we have.
I am careful to give the Lord the credit for our amazing growth and success at DixieBroadcasting; but that notwithstanding, the support of our sponsors and listeners has made something possible that we were told was "impossible" — namely, having our own media outlet for the Southern Movement.
We at DixieBroadcasting are excited about the future… for both DixieBroadcasting AND the Southern Movement!
Yours in the Cause,
Ray McBerry, President
To access DixieBroadcasting on the Web, click this link: http://www.dixiebroadcasting.com