There’s little doubt that starting an online broadcast service has a low bar to entry.
In rough figures all you need is money for music licenses, pocket change for a streaming service account, and using something such as Centova – included in most streaming packages – you can automate the playout of music, jingles and pre-recorded shows. You can manage it from a laptop.
Fact is, you could be broadcasting your selection of stuff within an hour of reading this post. Then the real work begins.
Had I written this post 20-odd years ago your chances of broadcasting anything (legally) would be near impossible unless you had millions of dollars/pounds to spend on government licenses, premises, staff and hardware.
The upside of having a radio transmitter is that – marketing activities aside – people would happen upon your broadcasts while searching for something to listen to on their radios.
People don’t do too much of that using their smartphone when it comes to finding something to listen to.
For example, this morning I fancied listening to some 80s music. I launched TuneIn, typed in ’80s’ an 80s station popped up and I pressed play.
I didn’t much care who it was or what they were playing – just so long as within two seconds of me pressing play that music emerged from my speakers. I did notice though that it had 4,500 likes on TuneIn.
But that was the total sum of my search. The station didn’t have to be local to where I live, nor even in the same country.
So while starting an online station is easy; the barrier to success is marketing. Not only that; it requires constant and ongoing marketing. It means the success of your station is as much to do with marketing and publicity as it is with the content you broadcast.
We have all seen some very good stations close down as the listeners numbers didn’t make it worthwhile – owners ran out of steam. And low numbers (often less than 10 people listening at any given moment) means advertisers aren’t interested. No listeners = no income.
The perfect team for any online broadcaster must include people who absolutely know how to use all social media channels to successfully promote their station.
People who know how to use social media when it comes to paid-for advertising. Listener engagement has to be high, and remain active, to build a strong listener base.
As I have written before; I believe the key to building a successful (success = high listener numbers) is to keep the station focused on your local area.
Do this and your marketing spend can be focused to your geographical location. And to do this you have to have a picture in your mind of who your listeners are. Their age range, education, income, interests and location.
So before you rush to launch your station, work out who your listeners will be, where they are, and have a good marketing budget to target them week after week; month after month.
You will be broadcasting online, so that’s where the vast majority of your listeners will find you. They need to be told to search you out.