PHOTO: Denise Halfyard, Founder of The Frog Radio

Surround yourself with like-minded people

September 18, 2021

Semi-Finalist Spotlight on Denise Halfyard, The Frog Radio

Meet Denise Halfyard, Founder of The Frog Radio from Wet’suwet’en, Tsimshian and Gitxsan. Denise is a Pow Wow Pitch British Columbia Semi-Finalist. We sat down with Denise to learn more about her, her business and her reflections on entrepreneurship. 

PWP: What motivated you to start your business?

DH: I listened to a podcast featuring the artist iskwē. So, I checked her out and became an instant fan. My love of music led me down a ‘rabbit hole,’ searching for more artists like her. 

I came across so many artists I’d never heard of and thought there must be somewhere to find Indigenous talent.

Although I found some music programs on radio stations, they aired at inopportune times for me to tune in, and I couldn’t find a place to tune in for 100% Indigenous music all of the time. 

I felt an immediate pull to create a station to call our own. We needed this. 

PWP: Can you tell me more about The Frog Radio? 

DH: The Frog Radio is an online station devoted to 100% Indigenous music, 24/7. 

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, I’m decolonizing radio by running an online station. I am the sole proprietor of this self-funded business. I launched the business in September 2020 when Indigenous artists needed another stage to showcase their talent. 

The CRTC (government) does not regulate online content, so I’m free to run my station the way I want. 

My ‘screening’ of music is inclusive. As long as you can carry a tune and your production is good, I’ll add your music. It doesn’t matter if you only have two singles or two complete albums.

One artist who a few stations had rejected was overjoyed and grateful for being picked up The Frog Radio. I love that I can have a relationship with a lot of these artists and encourage them on their music path. 

My long-term goal is to start a youth mentorship program in songwriting/recording. The result of this program would be airplay on The Frog Radio.

PWP: What has been the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur so far?

DH: The most rewarding part is the grateful messages I receive from artists and fans alike. 

It’s still surreal to think that, although I sometimes feel like a small fish, I’m making a difference in someone’s life. It’s an amazing feeling. I am proud of the impact my ‘little’ venture is having on people’s lives.

PWP: What has been the most challenging part about being an entrepreneur?

DH: The most challenging part has been my efforts to raise funding. 

I went to an Indigenous capital corporation, which has funded other ventures I’ve been part of, that compared The Frog Radio to a hobby, like a podcast. 

I want to hire DJs to produce original programming, and I want to approach businesses to sponsor various shows. However, it is a bit of a catch 22 because I need funds to hire a DJ to develop pilots and examples to attract sponsors. 

PWP: Why did you choose to apply for Pow Wow Pitch?

DH: I applied to get the word out that there is a place where, when you tune in, you are guaranteed to hear Indigenous voices at all times. So far, the best part has been the exposure and the growing fanbase that being part of Pow Wow Pitch brings. 

PWP: What advice do you have for Indigenous people thinking of starting up a business?

Find your passion, make it work and surround yourself with like-minded people that can encourage you, advise you and uplift you.

PWP: Thank you for chatting with us, Denise! Good luck with the Semi-Finals.

You can support Denise to reach the Pow Wow Pitch Finals by voting for her for the People’s Choice Prize. Click here to vote for Denise. You can also watch Denise Pitch at the British Columbia Semi-Finals Live on September 23, 2021, at 6 PM ET Click here to register to watch.