Friday, January 22, 2010

There Once Was an Indie Radio Station....

Named Blockhead Radio. This radio station was built by two people, Rod and Annette. This radio station had the greatest of ideas....a place for people to hear great indie music and artisans to join together as a community. Here's my side of the story.

I had a part of BHR for roughly 5 months. I was "hired" to be Public Relations for BHR on the condition I'd be paid 30% of the advertising revenue. BHR had fantastic potential and I liked the people immensely. I met some fabulous people and artisans. I learned a tremendous amount of things about online life, handmade art and running a business.

I also learned not to trust too much.

Things went swimmingly for awhile. Then Rod (Blockhead Rod) began to get fishy. He was UBER controlling about the way the station was run, basically vetoing any idea anyone had other than himself. Cancelling shows, backing out on promises, and changing his mind constantly. I put in roughly 20-30 hours per week for 5 mos for BHR.

I NEVER SAW A DIME. 

Things started to change after a few months and I began to wonder about Rod and Annette's actual intentions. We constantly kept hearing that not enough money was coming in, yet we were selling ads right and left. I have no doubt that radio equipment costs money but I don't think it cost THAT much. For example, a Skype phone number (which is what we used for the most part) cost 30 bucks a year. Everything else can be run with fairly inexpensive audio equipment on your computer.

Good shows got cancelled for no apparent reasons other than Rod wanted it that way. Good show hosts got told off for no good reason. I spent many hours on the phone with Rod and I thought I had a good read on him. I was wrong. In time I began to get bad vibes but I loved the artisans I'd met and I had invested so much time and money in BHR I felt like I needed to see it through. I also ended up on the air for a short time on my own show that I was quickly removed in yet another of Rod's changes.

Countless artisans invested time and money in listening and participating in BHR. Ads were bought, they promoted BHR for free all over the place. They all got screwed.

I want to say now I deeply apologize to EVERYONE I got to be involved in BHR. I'm sorry if I dragged you in, although I'm grateful we met :)

I was 'let go' around the summer because I was apparently not needed any more. Did I ever get paid for my time? Nope. I knew then Rod was an a*hole for sure because in our conversation in which I was fired, I said, "Well, you're welcome for my work." and Rod replied, "HAh You're Welcome." As if I should have bowed down and kissed his feet for allowing me to be on BHR?? I spent roughly 200 dollars in ads, donations and more to help BHR. I was SUPPOSED to get paid for my work and NEVER DID and he said I needed to THANK HIM?

Oh but no.

I disappeared for awhile, not going into chat, but I missed my friends so I stayed around a little quieter. Then 48forLarry came.

It sounded like a great cause, this man, who we all supposedly "Knew" was dying and hundreds of artisans banded together to come up with an auction for Larry where artisans donated items to be auctioned off and donated money. Things went fine until the end of the auction for me. My brother, who'd recently started an Artfire shop came in and offered to set up a site free of charge to continue to help bring money in for Larry. Even after I talked with both Larry AND Rod about who  my brother was, they continued to accuse him of trying to steal money from Larry and acted like they didn't know who he was. EVEN after I talked to Larry and told him who he was...they then commenced to slaughter him in Artfire forums. I know suspect that because Rod and Annette were part of a scam around this 48forLarry thing, they were doing illegal things with the money and that is why they freaked out about my brother creating the website (on his own dime!).

That was the final straw. (And Yes my brother still has all the emails from Rod and Huck where they trashed and were evil to him.) You don't try to destroy my friends and family without me getting mad.

I defended my brother in forums and at his request, stopped talking about it. He asked me to let it go, so I did. I also cut off all contact with Rod and Annette other than an occassional chat in plurk. I missed my other friends who still used BHR chat but I just could not go back in there. Not many knew what all had happened and I kept it quiet.

Then I started to realize how many other people got screwed by BHR. Items that were donated never got sent because Larry was supposedly to ill to send invoices and addresses. Ads were not put up on the BHR site. Suddenly the whole family was having to leave their home and travel the country in an RV? And they were selling ad space on the RV to artisans??? I wanted so bad to warn people about this but I kept my mouth shut. I'm sorry I did. Now those people are out money because of course there is NO RV and Rod and Annette have cut and run.

No one has seen hide nor hair of them (though Rod has logged into his Facebook account in the last 10 days.) and lots of worthy artisans are out money!

Because Rod is a genius he never changed the Artfire account so I logged in the BHR artfire account to do some digging. Sure enough, they sold roughly 2151.00 worth of ads on Artfire ALONE. That doesn't even count paypal invoices and Etsy sales! 2151.00. So I should have received about 645 bucks of that income and so should have the other artisans who were supposed to get paid.

Artisans have bought items from Huck that never got received, people bid on items for the Larry auction and never received them (not through the fault of the artisans who donated, but due to Larry never sending the addy's to who the items should go to.)

I don't think things started out for Rod and Huck as a scam but I think they started to see the money rolling in and decided to go for it. I've heard of some other bad situations that have occurred with BHR and artisans and its not my place to share that info. I will say, if you got screwed by BHR, and want to share, please do so.

Despite all this, I do not regret my time on BHR. I learned a TON of things and I met some FABULOUS people! There are nasty people all over the web, and in the handmade world, but thanks to BHR I met some of the best people in the world! I will always be thankful for that!

Perhaps one day when the time is right, we can again have a crafty type show on BlogTalkRadio to again share our handmade lives.

The BHR domain was bought by someone else and is still related to music but not owned by Rod or Huck. (Anyone can check this by going to godaddy.com and looking at the url blockheadradiolive.com)

So while I and many others got burned by BHR, Rod and Annette Grambel (not sure if I spelled that right?) I am very happy to have had the experience because I learned alot and learned to stand up for what I believe in---

the TRUTH.

SO, Rod, Annette, Larry, if ya'll are out there and BRAVE Enough to come out and speak for yourselves, BRING IT. But put your riot gear on first.

You've got a LOT of artisans mad at you. As they should be.

I just have faith that karma goes around and they will get theirs.

amy/mama

31 comments:

TiLT said...

Love ya! Does the riot gear have sock monkeys?
Crappy ending to what seemed like a great thing...but totally agree with the finding of fabulous people!

M2bC said...

Some lessons are expensive. I paid the price, learned them and enjoy lots of new friends I made through them.

Moving on now.

WeeKnit said...

It makes me sad that things turned out the way they did. I donated two listings to the 48forLarry. I only received info on the one and shipped it off. After sending a couple of emails and receiving no response, I had assumed the other listing didn't sell. If someone got shortchanged because the info wasn't sent to me, that makes me feel even worse. :(

Debbi Andersen said...

Well my story is just a small part .. Mine was items not recieved that I won in the auction :( there was really 1 piece I bid quite a bit on that I REALLY wanted and never got :( But that aside .. i also met some great artisans due to the 48 for larry .. and that I am not sorry for :) so if the gal with the kick but bracelet I won wants to send it i would love to get it hahah

mamaslittlemonkeys said...

Debbi, if you knew who the seller was or what it looked like we can prob help track her down! The handmade artisans who donated def wanted to send their stuff out!!

Stitch 'N Love said...

I wasn't burned like a lot where, but I met some great people having been in chat! I hope that karma does it's work and I now know that I need to get back on Plurk more often to see how everyone is doing!

MommyP said...

Wow, Amy, I had no idea it was so shady. Do you have any recourse to get your money (it's the principle!)? I didn't get screwed with the auction like others did, but I did have to push a LOT to find out who had won my necklace I donated.

Was Larry even really sick? Did he end up getting his surgery?

Teresa Mode said...

Debbie I agree. The maker would want to send it.

I agree it has been a good thing but ended badly.

I love the new friends I have made and wouldlove to see a new crafters/music talk radio sho come out of this. I just loved it.

Thanks to Mama/Amy for the blog.

mamaslittlemonkeys said...

I actually called Larry after much internet research today. He says Rod left him high and dry with everything and he was innocent in it all. (I shall refrain from commenting and just share the info). He said he cannot have the surgery, he is still sick because he has scardosis of the lungs now. He used all funds received for medicine he said, because he can't get the surgery. Larry says 95% of the invoices for the auction got sent out. If you did not get an item you bid on please let me know we can try to find the seller you bid on.

I honestly don't know what to think about the Larry situation, all I can take is his word but I'm very suspicious.

Amazing Art Photos said...

Any, I'm glad you are posting about this now. Really, really sorry that you had to get hurt by it all, but hopefully others can learn from your experiences. That was one of the first lessons I myself learned when doing work like you did - get it in writing.

Have you, by any chance, talked to anyone at ArtFire about the whole situation - like ArtFire John? After all, they ENDORSED the whole situation, from Advertising to the Auction, whether they want to admit it or not. They sent emails, they had a special category for it, the promoted the event. They have promoted BHR. They are involved, whether they like it or not, and courts would agree.

I am curious that Larry claims to not have had his surgery now, since it was reported immediately after the auction that he had been given the money by a local group to have it done at no cost. I always wondered what happened to all that auction money - especially since all the money was donated to auction@blockheadradio.com and NOT directly to Larry himself.

I chose not to pursue anything after the whole Larry incident not because it wasn't worth pursuing, but because it was dividing the ArtFire community and causing serious hate & discontent, something that I could not condone. Knowing what I know now, I wish I had pursued it and exposed Rod and Annette for the scamming con artists that they are.

FWIW (For What It's Worth), I did get 2 of the 3 items that I bid on during the auction, after much emailing & confusion. They were both very beautiful and I made a couple of great Artisan friends out of the process. (The 3rd item, I was told by Rod in chat 30 seconds before the auction ended, I had won, but mysteriously never got an invoice for - another testament to his lying nature that he did not know who I was, since we chatted during the auction).

Anyway - chin up! 2010 is a New Year, with new promises!

Hugs, your "Bubby" :)

Scentful Indulgence said...

I almost did not read this because in my heart I will always have a soft spot for BHR...my first sale on Etsy came via Sneak Attack. It saddens me to read this and I am so sorry that you've gone through all this. I feel betrayed because I thought they were good people but I guess you're right, just can't trust everyone.

Pocketful Of Sunshine said...

I'm extremely sad to hear this but EXTREMELY happy you wrote this!!!!!!

I was so excited to be joining what seemed to be such a ture coming together of the handmade community but so heartbroken it ended in this way.

I'm fortunate to say that I met a lot of wonderful people, recieved my items from the auction and sent my items donated. All I lost was some money in advertising but most importantly my trust in people! I'm definitely more cautious of who I meet and deal with in the internet world.

storybeader said...

very interesting, Amy. I had an uncomfortable feeling for the two, and that's basically why I stopped listening to their radio hour. Especially Annette. Sorry they took you and your brother's money and good name. What comes around, goes around... I'm wondering whatever happened to witchey? Lost track of her a long time ago. {:-D

guitarsean said...

That's too bad. I was wondering what happened when Rod dropped off the map. I'm sad to lose an ally in the indie music scene.

I've seen what the old website has become. It looks like some kind of ad site. A bunch of "get good overnight" crap. Every link goes to a "buy this book the learn the secrets" site. They use a wordpress plugin to auto populate the blog with ad links. I'd stay away, and tell your indie musician friends to do the same.

mamaslittlemonkeys said...

Witchy is around, she was burned just as bad if not worse than I was, and she needed a break! :) Like I said, I never wanted to drag up old issues but after learning more about how more of my friends were burned (again not issues that are for me to discuss) I felt it was time. I've had a background check done on Rod and Annette and have sent it to those who were most harmed by them and might be able to use the info.

Sean, I do miss the music! I met so many great musicians, and am very grateful to my time with them, it let me be Chris Huff's intern! :) Sean you need to get your hiney to Plurk more and def let me know when you have new stuff out so I can share it :) And yes the new site is an ad site bought by a foreign company (according to whois). Really sad but such is life! Keep on rockin sean!

guitarsean said...

Ah, I don't have time to plurk. I don't even have a personal facebook page anymore. I still have one for the music and I have my blog. Drop by anytime. http://seangill-insidemyhead.blogspot.com/

Skyline Candle Company said...

I'm so glad you posted this! I'm still in shock that so many people got screwed in all this mess. I had a funny feeling about BHR as soon as shows got pulled. It seemed to me that something was not right. At that point I just pulled away.

I'm very glad that I was able to meet a lot of great people through all this mess! Musicians and fellow artisans. What a GREAT group of people!!

We may not get our money back, but I'm a FIRM believer in "What goes around, comes around"

BeadedTail said...

I'm very sorry to hear about all those who were betrayed by Rod and Huck. I always felt something wasn't quite right with those two but refrained from saying anything. Then I heard that a friend of mine was fired from BHR and treated absolutely horribly for no reason whatsoever. That was the end of my involvement with BHR. I'm glad you posted this Amy so everyone knows what really went on.

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this!
I bought ad space on their site and donated to the Larry funds...nice to know my money was wasted!!!
Sorry to hear about your situation...and the others harmed!

Tulips Talking said...

The following is all said in my opinion (IMO) and from in-hand documentation, and personal experiences.

Thank you so much Amy for putting yourself out there with this information. As you know, I was first to get the wrath of Rod. I kept my mouth almost shut, not wanting to do harm to the rest of the crew and followers...I should have shouted from the rooftops way back when.

Thankfully I've saved "EVERYTHING" that was in writing, and would really love to see the investigation that you had done.

It is my belief that they went into this knowing what they were doing, in hindsight of course. And I believe this was not the first time or the last time...

I spent about 30-40 hours a week, everything relating to BHR in one way or another. And I too was screwed out of a lot of money, even not charging back costs of being a host (example: buying headphones for Skype, sending all of the donations for the aution box when "they" decided it should be handled by them only" "due to legalities", "had a written contract giving me 3% of all profits from BHR" as one of the original hosts. Because of their cries of poverty, Huck working cleaning houses to help get the station off of the ground, I bought some of Hucks creations, and sent them grocery gift cards to help in that way too.

It took me months to get passed my "blues" after the rotten, disgusting encounter w/Rod when he fired me for no reason, and in the manner in which it happened ...and get this...none of those responsible for the administration of the show got with all of the artisan team leaders who'd been scheduled week after week, for a couple of months to let them know the show was canceled so I continued to receive contact, and the upcoming co-hosts of my show continued to advertise for BHR.

My firing was totally unexpected, and done so horidly that Witchy told me she was sorry and had nothing to do with it (she was on the line when it happened). When I plurked Rod that he owed me an apology for how he treated me, he said, "when hell freezes over".

I wonder what happened to Cindy of Sew Happy ... the "#1 fan".

I felt so sorry for the hosts that came later and "donated" their time not knowing us early hosts had a contract for payment, and had to sign a hush, hush agreement.

Now I have to watch for my identity being stolen... think about this one all of you early BHR "contractors" who also completed and signed contracts!

I also noticed how much things changed after ArtFire became involved, they do hold quite a responsibility in all of this IMO. And now that I think of it, the only reason that I have any AF sales is by redirecting a buyer from etsy so I didn't sit there for all of this time w/o any sales showing to a potential buyer.

When Witchy became hard to find around the station/shows, and was off doing "craft shows", I could feel that the shit was getting ready to hit the fan. I believe she must feel like a real dupe over this, at least I pray so. She hasn't posted on her blog since last year, and gave up the ArtFire Stalkers Guild.

There is so much more to be said, mostly...I'd love to be in on it when Larry, Rod, and Annette are charged and arrested on multiple counts...

Hugs Amy, you're still and Awesome Possum to me!

mamaslittlemonkeys said...

Lily, I'm glad you have spoken up! We missed you! Cindy is still around, she didn't know a lot of this happened, we're still good friends. Yes, Witchy was NOT happy with how it went down. You and I had talked after it happened so I knew we were good but I still had faith it was a good thing. Now i know better!
Thankfully I never had signed a REAL contract so Rod has none of my personal info.

Im learning more and more how nasty the online world can be (even though I've been in it since its beginnings basically!) and how quickly people can turn your words. You always have to watch your back, cover your butt and be ready!

Lily come on back to plurk! :) I miss ya!

Walk in the Woods said...

... not much for me to add at this point. I'm out some dollars for BHR advertising and some art purchased from Huck. It sickens me to think of all that have been harmed by this and the tarnish it has put on the "online community" for so many.

Even so, I am glad that was able to meet so many of you and feel that some true friendships have been forged as a result of that meeting - despite the origins.

It reminds me of the closing line in Desiderata ... "with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it's still a beautiful world."

Peace.

Rockerchic said...

I've been thinking for a few days how to respond to this...

I just want to say this:
We don't know what is/was going on in Rod and Annette's personal lives. I know myself that I have left the internet world for the last 6 months to take care of family issues.
There could very well be an underlying thing here that no one knows about, or any kind of issue...
Just think, if an emergency happened in your life... how would you handle your online life? If something terrible happened? What would you do?

So, please don't slam me or fight with me b/c I won't fight back... I didn't wear my riot gear. I am just stating that I know Rod and annette are good people and they were doing a good thing. I don't think the 48 for larry was a big hoax... maybe mishandled but everyone's heart was in the right place.

I enjoyed the time I spent on air with blockhead and off air for that matter. I was never promised any money nor did I ask. I also knew that there were contracts signed for hosts who there before me. I did this whole thing just for fun... and thats exactly what I got.

So, I'm just saying that Rod and Annette are human too and they could have possibly ran into some very real human problems. I'm not saying I know anything more than anyone else... just saying this is a one sided conversation so until someone comes to say otherwise... lets just remember... that no one knows the whole story....

kristie/ aka/ rockerchic

mamaslittlemonkeys said...

You are very right RC! There are two sides of every story! I'm obviously a little bitter about the entire situation because of promises broken.

You were missed on your hiatus, you! But you also told us you were taking a break and we knew that.

Like I said I am happy to have spent the time I did with BHR because I met some awesome people! I'm more upset about the things that happened to other artisans that I don't need to discuss here...for those I will continue to look into things.

I've learned a lot the past year....do not trust everyone and don't believe everything you read! I actually HOPE they did cut and run with our money because that is easier to deal with than if something horrible had happened. I just hope the kids are okay.

Again I dont think it was ever set OUT to be a scam, I think things just turned out bad and they decided to bail rather than deal with things. We'll probably never know. I do hope they are well. I'm glad Larry is doing okay and at least the auction money paid for some meds (he said).

All's well that ends well and I hope they can find peace in their lives! I know I am continuing to work on that myself :)

Splendid Little Stars said...

I'm commenting because I read through your post and the comments. I joined the blogging world only last year, but was made aware of BHR through my association with the etsy bloggers' team. I never got involved (for which I'm grateful), but remember when negative things were beginning to happen especially with Lily. I am writing here to lend my support and to say that I'm sorry this happened to good people.

Steph said...

I got what I won for the auction, but probably since it was from you! :-) But you got notice I was the winner and when I emailed Larry about that AND the person that won my donation, he gave me your info but never told me who won my item so I finally listed it in the shop (before Christmas). I'd make a custom one for the person who won if I ever find out, but I bet they never got notice they won. (It was a felt travel tic tac toe game, I believe the winning bid was $10).

mamaslittlemonkeys said...

Steph if I find the winner I will let you know!!

Handmade Soaps Today said...

First and foremost... Witchy is still around :) Although in a limited capacity these days. I've been dealing with the ups and downs life has been throwing our way these days.


I'm with Mama in that I do not think either BHR or 48forLarry started out as scam. Like Rockerchic, I think quite a bit of it was grossly mishandled.

I devoted quite a bit of time to BHR. Because I loved the sense of community and helping other artisans.

When the situation with TulipsTalking came about I was appalled, angered, and hurt. Rod's actions put a rift between Hot Lips and myself. After that whole fiasco I seriously considered walking away. Hindsight is 20/20 and I wish I had.

I'm saddened by all of this. Truly. I'm left feeling a bit jaded and quite duped.

I would like to hope that Rod and Huck have just fallen on hard times, Rocker. However this does not excuse certain things that have transpired. It is true that we don't know both sides of the story. Yet with no communication or explanations we're left to speculate and assume.

As the saying goes... if it looks like a duck it's a duck.

Rose Works Jewelry said...

I just want to thank Amy and everyone for sharing what happened. I wasn't around as much at the end, but a large part of that was that I was just too sick, and it was hard for me to process anything let alone make judgements about what was going on.

I wish I had known more when Lily was fired - that really upset me - but she didn't want to talk about it and I admired her not trash talking them because I had a feeling something bad had gone down from the way Rod mentioned it. And he specifically targeted me to make sure I didn't know what was going on. (I call Lily my cyber-aunt)

I was in towards the beginning, and I put a lot of time into this too. I was supposed to get things out of it...but never did.

Having said that...I loved the community and I love the friends that I made out of it. I just wish things hadn't ended up the way they did.

SpottedCow said...

This saddens me that so many folks have been hurt. I remember the great times we had in the chat room, had Ruthie interview me live on the radio, and had even considered hosting a show on BHR.

I have to admit that I had a hard time with the irrational/impulsive changes that would come about at the drop of a hat. I'm all for folks being able to change their minds, but it seemed excessive to me and began to wear on me as time went on.

Back when BHR was on Blogtalk Radio, the Artisan's Shoppe was birthed. Yearly ads were being sold to sit in prominent locations on the blog...this was shortly after the outburst claims that an irate person was giving Rod grief over something about their listing on the Artisan's Challenge. A red flag went up but I ignored it. I couldn't believe someone would shut down a good thing they had going over one irate comment from one of the participants.

What really bothered me was that I managed to allow myself to be sucked into buying a year ad on the newest (at that time) blog. Relatively thereafter, I want to say a month, maybe two months later I saw the plug was pulled on that site and then the creation of the BHR site and saw ads being sold for that site as well...and Huck's blog, etc. A few short weeks later the ads appeared in a very hidden location somewhere on one of the BHR blog/website pages and then disappeared entirely shortly thereafter. By that time I had already cut my losses and moved on. And I don't regret it to this day.

Big group hugs to everyone that was hurt.

Rockerchic said...

Witchy (nice to hear from you girl) and Mama.. I do want to say that since my hiatus... I do not know anything that may or may not have transpired...

David's Mom died in August and thats when I left, right after 48forlarry, and just now returning... alot has happened since then...

So, I guess I'm saying... I don't know the whole story... Just trying to stay open minded b/c I don't know anything that had happened to anyone as far as bhr goes...

So, to sum it up... I'm speaking without knowledge... which is usually a dangerous but common thing for me! (lol!)

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