Off-Ramp

Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Turning On Tomorrow: Dublab's Proton Drive Fundraiser

dublab family

Dublab is a nonprofit internet radio station currently celebrating twelve years of existence, and in those twelve years, they've introduced some of the brightest up-and-coming and established musicians and DJs across all genres to Los Angeles and beyond. They're now mid-way through their bi-annual Proton Drive, where they invite the dublab extended family on air to raise 40% of their operating budget. Labrats Frosty and Ale speak here about what they've learned about fundraising since starting twelve years ago, and how we can we can support them.

How's the Proton Drive going?

The Proton Drive is always a blast.  We love broadcasting live and connecting with our audience in real time.  We have live audio and video streaming from 8am-8pm Monday through Friday and occasionally beyond.  We also have a chat room set up to communicate with our listeners and provide them a place to connect and exchange ideas.  Inevitably there are a lot of beautiful, bizarre and hilarious moments to be shared.
You have so many amazing flash packs this time--can you tell me about some of your favorites? Do more people donate knowing they get something cool like out of print records or signed posters instead of just donating straight cash?

Flash Packs are still a pretty new concept for us.  We created these bundles as a way to lower our fundraising costs while offering donors special thank you gifts.  These limited quantity prizes are donated by some of our favorite record labels, bands, stores, clothing companies, magazines, restaurants, museums, cinemas, performance arts spaces, etc. They in many ways represent our favorite things in the universe.  Oprah turns her audience onto her faves so we Labrats should too!  Here are a few currently available Flash Packs...

FLASH PACK: DAFT PUNK "TRON SOUNDTRACK" MEGA PRIZE

dublab supporters Daft Punk have donated an autographed, glow-in-the-dark vinyl test pressing of the Tron Legacy soundtrack.  We decided to offer this rare item through Ebay. Check out the auction and bid.


Akikounico is one of favorite artists.  She hails from Tokyo but calls LA her home. Her husband Hashim B is a dublab dj and they are both deeply supportive.  "Kao" means face in Japanese and this particular face is a gorgeous piece of original, embroidered artwork.

Sumi Ink Club always stun us with there intricate worlds of hieroglyphs and detailed mazes of magic.  This pack is filled with everything from limited edition pillowcases to a wallet.

Dublab's in its 12th year--what have you learned about fundraising? Is there any DJ/musician you've invited in this time who's particularly skilled at getting people psyched to donate?

We learn a lot during each Proton Drive and strive to improve on the blueprint.  We're trying to fine-tune this ship so we can sail into the future on bright seas with the wind of wonder at our backs.  We ask our listeners to reflect on the joy dublab brings to their lives and contribute a complementary amount.  We know the main reason people donate is to support our music mission so we're trying to spend less time and money on producing wild prizes and more energy focusing on exclusive digital download music bundles and "Flash Packs" donated from other companies.

Each DJ brings a different vibe to their pitches so the programming is always fun and diverse.  dublab dj Take is always really effective on the mic.  He takes it quite seriously and raises money with ease.  Daedelus always has a heartfelt approach that resonates with listeners.  Danny Holloway is like a wise hypnotist who coaxes donations so naturally that the donors forget they've fallen under his spell until they review their next bank statement.  We need 20 more Holloways!

One of the things I really like about the drive is we not only hear you, we SEE you guys playing music in the office, AND we can talk to you and other dublab fans via the chat on the site. How did your partnership with Yowie come about? Has it changed how you guys do your fundraisers?

When we launched dublab.com 12 years ago we were streaming live video and audio transmissions with a real-time chat room so in many ways the Proton Drives are a return to our roots.  We love talking with listeners as we dj but more importantly it's a great forum for dublab fans to communicate with each other.  We even had a couple who met in the chat room for the first time and later got married.  So if you're single and lonely the dublab Proton Drive chat room could be a great place to meet a creative person to make a love match with!

Yowie has been a great partner.  A longtime Proton named Phil Merkow (dublab's Kutmah and I djed his wedding) started working at this video streaming company and connected us with them.  It has been a really positive relationship.  We did a five day joint broadcast together from Austin during South by Southwest and we stream via Yowie each week for our Monday Music Meeting.  You can see our archived programs at yowie.com/dublab.  Yowie is a great alternative to UStream because there is no in-stream advertising and they are small enough that we can communicate directly with their tech team to explore new concepts in video streaming.  dublab is a great beta-testing ground for technology companies of this sort.  When nerds of the world unite creativity blossoms!

Why is it so crucial that we donate to dublab at this time?

dublab is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and 40% of our funding comes from listeners.  We love being community supported and people powered.  We find it to be more a beneficial relationship to be funded directly by our audience than by corporations.  We're happy to keep our listeners happy!  Proton Drives only happen every May and November so it's vital that we raise at least 20% of our annual funding during each three week fundraiser.  These generous donations help us stay on track so for the rest of the year we can focus on blowing minds by producing progressive music programming, vibrant films, and highly-themed happenings.  Being a non-profit allows us to focus on really far-out ventures that turn-on our audience but would have little viability in the commercial realm.  It's creativity for pure joy!


What other ways can we support dublab?

We have set up an Amazon Wish List of items that would be really helpful in accomplishing our music and arts mission.  The full amount of any purchases made through this list are equivalent to Proton Grant donations and donors receive the corresponding thank you gifts.  We are 100% open to donation of new or used or audio, video and office equipment that can help our creative cause.

Telling friends is a really easy and effective way to support dublab.  We often urge our listeners to spread the Proton Drive details via twitter, e-mail and word of mouth.  If their friends get turned onto dublab now they might become supporters down the road.

We also have underwriting and sponsorship opportunities available to companies and incentives for individuals interested in becoming major donors.  We are flexible and appreciate all the support we receive from the community.  I will leave you with our newest fundraising tactic...

FROSTY'S WEREWOLF PROTON CHALLENGE:

If a company or listener makes a major, tax-deductible donation of $10,000 to dublab I will schedule a special full moon live broadcast on the dublab rooftop where I will proceed to transform into a werewolf. I will cut off my hair, glue it onto my face, howl at the moon and play a special dj set of monster jams in your honor. To take me up on this offer of making myself into a hairy fool while supporting dublab's positive music mission in a huge way please donate $10,000 to the Proton Drive fundraiser or e-mail info@dublab.com to arrange sending payment.

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