With a nod to March Madness, Soundtap has just released details about “Soundtap Madness 2012,” an 18-day tournament beginning this Thursday featuring consecutive rounds of head to head battles between independent college and community radio stations.
Soundtap, which bills itself as “the only crowd-sourced, show-specific way to enjoy independent radio,” is an online tool that facilitates both discovering and listening to individual programs on independent radio. Soundtap evolved out of its founders’ love for college radio and desire to spread the word about interesting stations all over the country (and world).
During the competition, each station’s listening hours through the Soundtap tool will be tallied and the winners will be based on a series of 3-day rounds where stations fight each other out for the most listening hours. According to the official rules, “The station which accumulates more minutes of listening during the three day period will advance to the next round.” Listeners must be logged in to Soundtap to participate and each listener can log up to 3 hours per station in each round.
Comprised of the top 64 radio stations on Soundtap (determined by amount of listening time), “Soundtap Madness” begins on Thursday, March 15 and will continue in a series of rounds until April 1st, when the winner is named. Stations have all been assigned a seed based on the number of listening hours they’ve received in the past 90 days on Soundtap.
Soundtap’s co-founder Trip Sweeney explained the inspiration for Soundtap Madness, saying, “We enjoy and follow independent radio stations like lots of people do sports with the weekly shows, star DJs, and great sets. It only made sense for us to celebrate this with a tournament and rally the community of independent radio fans.”
Sujay Vennam, also a Soundtap co-founder, said that the 64 stations were split into 4 different non-geographic regions so that the tournament could be broken into 4 “smaller playoffs.” Based on the rankings, the top four stations are currently KTUH (University of Hawaii at Manoa), WZBC (Boston College, Newton, MA), WRIR (Richmond Independent Radio, Richmond, VA) and KZSU (Stanford University, Stanford, CA). All were given a #1 seed and placed in different regions. The same process occurred for the #2 seed stations (KBOO, KFJC, KUCI, WVUM), and so on. Vennam explained, “This method of dividing the ‘strength’ ensures that each region is equally competitive and also ensures that the strongest teams won’t face each other until late in the tournament. This is pretty standard in bracket making.”
The first round (March 15-March 17) will feature head to head battles between 32 different pairs of stations. The winner of each battle will move on to face another winner from its region until the final round (March 30-April 1).
I love the idea behind this competition and it will be interesting to see if the rankings correlate to the winning stations. If they do, there could be some exciting battles between nearby stations such as KFJC (where I DJ– it’s ranked #2) and KZSU (just up the road from KFJC and it’s ranked #1). The top four semi-finalist stations will win prizes and there will be a special grand prize for the winning station.