Success of FragRadio, the UK’s only licensed gaming radio station shows PC gaming is still alive

We go behind the scenes at FragRadio to find out how they are just one part in a community of PC Gamers that is still going stronger than ever - Alex King talks about where they came from, what they do now and where they plan to go

FragRadio manager Alex King tells us that the name FragRadio has only recently appeared on the gaming scene, however the station and it’s “ethics” as he put it, have been around for much longer. When we asked Alex why FragRadio started, he told us that “…we thought there was a need for gaming radio, which can not only be distributed on to [game]servers in game, but can be a website to provide gamers with the latest news and information on the gaming scene”.  It’s clear Alex has real ambitions for the station. Alex is also entirely self-taught, from a young age.

Frag Radio

Alex runs FragRadio when he can, whilst also working 9-5 in his parents business as ‘IT manager’. Though Alex tells us it would be nice if they did make money, he runs the station using a dedicated team of twenty one volunteers which he says, enables 24hour running of the station. All of the volunteers were recruited through their community forums, which are based from as far afield as the North of Scotland, and the English South Coast in the UK, and also abroad in Europe and the United States. To his credit, he told us how the whole team works well together, and he resolves any minor issues with regular team meetings. Some members of his team are studying, others are in full time work but everyone finds time for their shows, and it looks as though it would be valuable experience to anyone wishing to launch a radio career, as their audience according to Alex is in excess of 20,000 listeners per month, based across the UK, Europe and the US.

FragRadio plays a wide range of music, and Alex says that’s one of the main reasons people are attracted to the station – but he tells us he’s noticed a growing trend towards high energy music, unsurprising really among gamers.

They also work closely with their audience, and their fans especially with request shows.  Alex tells us they’re “always updating the way they play and steam music”. FragRadio also hosts many community servers for listeners to play on whilst listening to their shows, with direct interaction with their live DJs. They also use Steam, IRC, TeamSpeak, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, communities like 1000fraggers and their forums to communicate with their audience on multiple platforms – something which is clearly a key to their success within the gaming communities.

Another very important aspect of FragRadio’s success, is their in-game plugin, as it delivers their content “right to the heart” of gaming, and tells us that installing their plugin, for any game server administrator is most certainly a no-brainer as it doesn’t interfere with gameplay. Alex also describes how they “keep the finger on the pulse” of the gaming industry, attending LAN events, listening to their audience, the FragRadio team, and the entire gaming community. Attending LAN events is also plays a big part in their operations, as it means they can interact face-to-face with their audience, and it also gives the opportunity to the audience to put names to faces in meeting the radio DJs. Also whilst at these LAN events, they conduct interviews with high-profile gaming teams, and also produce video footage.

In order to produce and stream FragRadio, Alex uses Icecast for the streaming server, and they broadcast from anywhere with a good internet connection as they don ‘t currently use a dedicated studio. FragRadio is also licenced with the PPL (Public Performance Licence) and PRS, meaning they can legally play any recorded music they like.

We’re told FragRadio is looking to expand, and is open to offers for sponsorship, whilst they’re also eager to cover live gaming events in the UK and elsewhere. They’re ambition is to become a “centralised media hub” providing gamers with their “favourite music, interviews and also reviews”.

Since FragRadio is based around PC Gaming, we asked Alex to comment on the supposed decline of PC gaming, Alex told us that “from what I have seen, there has been no real decline in PC gaming…” continuing to say that “…the rise in console gaming will never replace PC gaming, due to the abundance of readily available hardware upgrades”. It’s clearly the pro-gamer audience Alex is after and he seems to be doing a good job at that – their audience figures are going from strength to strength; whilst few gamers outside this scene would realise there is such a thriving and strong, passionate community in existence. Is PC gaming seeing a revival? Will new iterations of classic pro gamer favourites like Counter-Strike lead to a new wave of interest in eSports? Whatever the future of PC gaming, FragRadio is just one example of how this community is still well and truly alive.

You can meet some of the FragRadio team at Multiplay’s Insomina Gaming Festival, in Telford this weekend, and if you can’t make that be sure to tune in at some point.