Storm Cellar is a cozy bar filled with art and colorful lights. The atmosphere is brimming with conversation and the aroma of drinks being prepared for the evening.
This is also the home for the Basement Creators Network (BCN), a live streaming interactive concert broadcast that hosts various Nebraska bands.
Every Wednesday night, one can walk down the stone steps to the live music venue and witness how BCN works with the bar and the music group to make the broadcasting process possible.
BCN was started by producer and host Vince Ruhl, as well as cameraman and brand manager Charley Morris. The live streaming process began in Ruhl’s basement and has since progressed to the Storm Cellar.
“We looked into live streaming, and it seemed we could release content easily,” Morris said. “Eventually we opened it into a community based thing instead of keeping it to ourselves, and that’s when BCN came to be.”
Working alongside Ruhl and Morris, BCN’s team includes Bryan Daize, a co-host and intern, and Christopher Steffen, BCN’s audio engineer.
“I play in a band called Ghost Town Radio and we were booked for the show,” Daize said. “After learning about the show more, I was instantly blown away. I know of so many bands that have trouble having people come out to shows, but after they would play for BCN, it allowed me to share music from some of my favorite local bands with my friends.”
The event starts with a countdown for the band to play as Ruhl and Daize set up their equipment for the evening. The equipment includes a sound table, cameras, microphones and a TV monitor facing the audience to display the broadcast. Steffen works behind the scenes to mix the audio of the live music session clearly to those watching the live stream. Morris helms the camera by circling around the band, capturing every angle of the band’s instruments.
As the countdown comes to a close, the livestream begins. The hosts introduce themselves to both the live and online audience. They regale their weeks and explain how the BCN platform works. During the broadcast, audiences can leave tips online for both the band and BCN members. Fans can also interact through the comment section of the stream where the hosts will respond to any questions or comments viewers have.
After encouraging audiences to support the project by subscribing to the BCN YouTube channel or liking the video, Ruhl and Daize introduce the band for the evening.
“The Midland Band,” a 1970s jazz-rock inspired music group from Columbus, Nebraska, took the stage on Nov. 6. They physically rocked the stage and had the live audience bobbing their heads the whole way through.
In between sets, the hosts would read comments left from various online tippers as the band was playing. They would read any comment that would pop up on their screen. Some comments would express enjoyment of the show, and some would give outrageous requests like reading the entire script to the FitnessGram Pacer Test.
At the conclusion of the night, BCN assist the band in clean-up. After getting equipment organized, the members of BCN and the band engage with the crowd at the venue.
“My favorite part of the show is meeting the band members afterward and making fans of the show through the musicians that play at Storm Cellar,” Morris said. “It’s really fun shooting the breeze with those guys afterward and building that music community.”
BCN is consistently brainstorming new ways to progress their platform. Ruhl said BNC would love to give back to the community more often.
“We once did a benefit show for flood relief in Nebraska,” Ruhl said. “All the proceeds … went directly to an organization that helped aid those affected. We ended up raising around $450, so we would love to continue doing that by having a potential telethon that brings the community together toward a good cause.”
Currently sitting at 524 subscribers on YouTube, BCN has a goal of reaching 1,000 subscribers. After that milestone is reached, BCN can start monetizing their content and not just make money from online tips. Also, when a channel reaches 1,000 subscribers, viewers can conveniently leave tips directly on the YouTube live stream instead of being redirected to a separate page.
BCN’s next show will be on Nov. 13 and will be featuring the alternative rock group “The Long Awaited.” This admission-free concert takes place down the stone steps to the luminous Storm Cellar venue.
“It’s rewarding to be a part of a group that showcases and spreads the word of the musical talent that Nebraska has to offer,” Daize said. “What if one of these bands go viral? That would pull up all of the other bands that we’ve hosted with them, which is a pretty awesome proposition for why BCN exists.”