10 Questions with ... Michele Tharp
June 13, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I have spent over 20 years in marketing, public relations and promotional capacities primarily within the radio, entertainment and lifestyle industries. Beginning my career as a Promotion Director in local radio, I have held marketing positions with several media companies including Capitol-EMI Records, Jones Radio Network, Showtime Networks, and Paragon Media Strategies. Currently I am overseeing marketing and engagement activities for VuHaus - a non-profit video platform, created by the country's leading public radio music stations.
1. Give us an overview of what VuHaus is all about.
VuHaus is an independent digital music video service that introduces emerging and established artists to national audiences. Comprised of public media's leading "Music Discovery" stations, VuHaus aggregates their live in-studio and location performance videos, and live stream events from markets across the U.S., thus creating greater exposure for these acts, and providing a unique window into the country's most vibrant music scenes.
2. How did you get involved in the marketing?
I have been working with Mike Henry of Paragon Media Strategies and one of VuHaus co-founders for 10+ years, and when VuHaus was getting off the ground as a concept, I joined the team and have been guiding VuHaus' marketing activities ever since.
3. What have been some of your biggest challenges?
Like with any start-up, breaking through the clutter with a new brand and getting noticed can be challenging, especially on a limited marketing budget! We are learning to be nimble, flexible and a bit more creative in capturing and establishing our new audiences. VuHaus continually works with our stations to create unique promotional campaigns to broaden the VuHaus reach within their universe, as well as expanding beyond the public media spectrum.
4. You are one year in now, tell us how VuHaus is doing.
VuHaus is gaining strong momentum. We are proud to say we have eleven station affiliates and are poised to add nine more by the end of the year. By building up our station network, we will be able to provide more amazing content and create unique station collaborations. Record labels, artists and artist management are recognizing the value of the network of stations working together to help develop artists. Our audience continues to grow each month as people are finding a sense of place in VuHaus, where they can go and find a beautifully designed presentation of highly quality HD videos of innovative artists, all in one place.
5. Tell us about the new Song Of The Day initiative and how it is reaching beyond the current participating stations.
The Song Of The Day is a new, free website feature (delivered as an embeddable player) that is available to all CPB-qualified non-commercial radio and TV stations. This is a great opportunity for public radio and television stations to take advantage of the amazing content that the VuHaus stations are producing. By using Song of the Day, stations are able to play a curatorial role in the music discovery space, allowing them to serve new and younger music fans in their communities. NPRMusic and dozens of other stations have signed up in our first few weeks of this service.
6. VuHaus has started doing live streaming events. Has that boosted site views?
We knew live stream events were vital from the start. In our first year, VuHaus has live streamed over 150 artists from in-studio performances at our network of stations, as well as from SXSW 2016, WXPN's Non-COMM and XPoNential Festival in Philadelphia. It is a great way to encourage appointment viewing on the site, which then leads to exploration of other content, and as a follow-up we generally feature archival footage from the live streams. This year we plan on multiple live streams every week.
7. In what other ways can the public participate?
Help spread the word about VuHaus! Share their favorite videos and artists with their friends, and go out and support their local public radio stations who are paving the way for these amazing new artists. We want to create a community where music creators get connected with music lovers, and the VuHaus stations hope to be the conduit between both.
8. How is the cooperation of the participating stations evolving?
When VuHaus first launched, it was viewed as a platform to help support the station brands and featuring their unique video content. Over time, we have created a unique platform for collaboration and have become the connective tissue for a growing number of the best public radio stations from around the country. Stations are now talking to each other more regularly, sharing ideas, working with national sponsors and partnering on campaigns and live events, which ultimately feeds everyone's common mission: to be a premier destination for discovering emerging artists.
9. How can other stations become members?
We are actively growing our network, and are about to announce several new stations. For any CPB-qualified station interested in joining VuHaus, they just need to reach out us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. What lies in the future for VuHaus?
The VuHaus network of public radio stations play a critical role in the early development of emerging artists. Some of the best known musicians got their start on our stations - Vampire Weekend, Adele, Lorde, Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon - the list goes on and on. As we add new stations, we will be gaining access to an even greater number of talented artists. And with so much amazing content being added to our site every week, we're looking forward to VuHaus introducing these bands to a larger and younger audience through our web and mobile platforms.