WNY.FM is a virtual museum of the music culture of the Buffalo/Niagara region of Western New York State. It is dedicated to digitally documenting that culture in as many media as possible.
We live in an era when media are merging and evolving at breakneck speed. Our goal is to utilize those media to tell the stories of Western New York music. Elements of journalism, oral history, social media, online audio and video, linked data base items are involved, and where the project goes will depend on how it and the media it uses evolve.
All of those things – each blog story, piece of interview audio, photo, poster, video – add up to tell the story of the entirety of music in the region. And the music helps unlock the overall culture of the Western New York area.
So the overriding idea is that – to paraphrase an old commercial* — that you really can have it all. And we’re determined to provide it.
THE LEARNING LAB
WNY.FM is also intended to work as a learning lab for the interns and volunteers who contribute to it. They’ll be able to polish their skills in journalism, audio and video production, social media and other areas.
HOW IT WORKS
Essentially everything on WNY.FM is linked, so if you search for one name, every place where it is tagged will be shown – the aforementioned songs in the data base, photos of the artists, blog stories mentioning them, videos featuring them. It’s also scalable for viewing on smartphones and tablets as
well as computer screens.
We’ve gone with a minimalist visual approach. You can see the latest blog post/stories, the latest artifacts posted and how to sign in and contribute on the front page. Everything else builds off that.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
Creation of the data base. Over 1,000 songs have already been entered, many in video form.
Photos and publications are starting to enter the data base. One of the key features is the ability of anybody to create an account and enter information, but for that data to be vetted for accuracy by the site administrators before being published.
Creation of a blog: The digital history element of the project is intended to parallel oral history, providing a place for people to tell their stories about the Western New York music scene. Thus far the “45 Friday” feature has been the main regular feature, with record expert Bob Paxon focusing on the stories around the early – and frequently rare – records in the region, linking to YouTube videos where people can hear them. Podcasts have also been submitted.
Social Media Integration: The project has included a Facebook element, with a “video of the day” feature that has featured over 400 locally connected videos thus far, plus occasional news. It has been particularly effective in transmitting reliable new regarding the deaths of several local music stars and in covering the closings and openings of major music venues. There is also a twitter page which transmits the same information to a different audience in a different format.
Creation of a media production team to record music performances and – perhaps more importantly – interviews with key performers in the Western New York area, with the goal of adding them to the archives.
The overall digital design of the first phase of WNY.FM has been completed with the assistance of a $2,500 grant from the City of Buffalo.
ELEMENTS THAT NEED TO BE IMPLEMENTED
A searchable video channel is very close to being activated.
An audio player, searchable by genre but limited to streaming music, is also in development.
Other features, such as geographically linked items, are just starting to be developed. Such features would allow site visitors to see a history of a location through area maps (for example, that Jimi Hendrix played as a sideman at the same place that birthed punk rock in Buffalo – and that is now a 7-11 convenience store).
Phone apps that would create a living history of area music as it is being made by combining geographic tagging with twitter-style messaging.
The program has entered a phase of integration with the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, which is in the process of taking ownership of WNY.FM. The Hall of Fame facilitated acquisition of the City of Buffalo grant.
Three interns have already been involved with contributing to the WNY.FM project and more volunteers and interns are already recruited for 2014. The project will serve as a useful educational tool for students at SUNY Fredonia and other Western New York institutions as well as documenting the region’s musical heritage.
*-The commercial was actually for Enjoli perfume. Few people remember that now, but they remember
the words to the commercial. http://columbiahomemagazine.com/health-happiness/mommy-chronicles/have-it-all/