RadioandMusic
| 11 Dec 2018
Online radio station Boxout.fm to complete one year in April 2018

MUMBAI: Launched in April 2017 as an online community radio from India that would cater to the growing demand for alternative music, the success of Boxout.fm shows why independent radio is the need of the hour.

India’s youth are particularly under-represented in the online and radio space when it comes to alternative/independent music, and Boxout.fm has plugged that gap to a large extent, giving voice to a dizzying array of passions and converting casual music consumers into lovers of the radio format.

Between 11 April and 1 February, more than 1,000 hours of exclusive mixes, shows and podcasts were broadcasted on Boxout.fm, reaching four million people on Facebook alone. Boxout.fm is the platform through which its primary audience – based in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore – learns about new styles and sounds emerging not just from around the world but also within India.

Boxout.fm is now a part of global network of hyperlocal internet radio stations including NTS Radio (London), Berlin Community Radio who offer idiosyncratic music selection throughout the day – it programs 60 weekly shows that cover a wide variety of music from the 1970s to 2017. 

Some sets come from established DJs and selectors like Delhi Sultanate, Dualist Inquiry, Tarqeeb while others from passionate music fans from all over the country. And while Boxout.fm reflects the local community and rising Indian talent, it is increasingly catering to a worldwide audience – Boxout.fm’s listenership has reached 150,000 unique visitors with two million minutes streamed on Mixcloud.Boxout.fm was also nominated in three categories of the Online Radio Awards 2017 – including best new radio station. Run by Mixcloud, the Online Radio Awards is the biggest celebration of online radio in the world.

But it isn’t just online streaming that Boxout.fm has built its success on. Alongside the radio station, hosting events like Boxout Wednesdays in Delhi and Boxout Social around the country, and collaborations with festivals like Bacardi NH7 Weekender, Magnetic Fields, Goa Sunsplash have helped get the word out to receptive audiences.

“As with any radio station that has had to build a community following from the ground-up, there have been some ups and downs, but fortunately for us a lot of ups,” says Boxout.fm chief content officer Abhi Meer.

“Our flagship midweek event Boxout Wednesdays celebrates its first anniversary at the beginning of March, and the station itself turns a year old in April. While the numbers and stats speak for themselves, what really propels us forward is how receptive audiences have been to the very idea of a community radio station that puts music front and centre,” he adds.

“Boxout.fm is slowly becoming a name of sorts all over New Delhi and Mumbai and we're hoping to have just as strong of a reach in other cities and smaller towns. We've had a presence at big music festivals this year, and more and more people are reaching out to us in the spirit of collaboration. In year two on the radio front, we're keen on making our programming more presenter-focused rather than show or genre-focused, and that means the introduction of podcasts and spoken-word shows with beefed-up production all over. We've already scaled up to streaming 24 hours-a-day, and the coming year will see the expansion of our editorial plus new releases through our label Boxout.fm Recordings.”

One of its most successful offline events is Boxout Wednesdays, a midweek residency that has become a refuge for those unserved by the mainstream, while giving music heads in Delhi a chance to listen to diverse styles and artists like Johnny Osbourne, Mad Professor, The Whooligan, Clap! Clap! Compa, Seb Wildblood, Bjorn Trojkse, Philip TBC, alongside homegrown talent like Su Real, Oceantied, Moniker, AGENT, Sindhi Curry, Frame/Frame, Lacuna, DJ MoCity among others.

The Wednesday night gig at Delhi’s Summer House attracts a crowd of nearly 250 people week after week to a line-up that could either feature local DJs or visiting international talent.

In February, Boxout Wednesdays has lined-up New York-based promoter, producer and DJ Nickodemus with Aaron DRM and Scottish DJ Éclair Fifi, alongside Indian talent like Eng., Rohan Kale and Hemant Chotani. For its anniversary show on 7 March, Boxout Soundsystem will take over the console for an extended set at Summer House Café.