Everyone wants to know how to be successful in internet radio. And, the truth is, as with most things, especially creative processes, there is no one way to be successful. However, there are some rules that you ultimately need to follow in order to have a legal and engaging internet radio station. So, to help set you up for success, we've broken down 5 rules to live by when it comes to your station.
5. Keep a Schedule.
This one may not apply to everyone, but generally speaking, keeping a schedule is important. Without a schedule, you will have no consistency and it will be difficult to improve and grow your station. This is especially the case for stations that do regular live broadcasts. Ensure that you have a set schedule for your station programming that you communicate with your listeners. If your listeners know when to expect a live show or any other special programming, live or not, it's obviously more likely that they'll tune in.
Your schedule is totally up to you, but it is important that your audience knows what to expect and hears from you on a regular basis. It can be much more difficult for listeners to become invested in your station if they are constantly wondering when there will be certain programming. Regular contact ensures that you are getting in front of your audience and reminding them to tune in. This can then translate to casual listeners making your station part of their routine, therefore turning them into loyal listeners. Simply put, consistency is key.
And even if you do scheduled events exclusively, such as playlists or clockwheels, creating a schedule and titling blocks of time can be a great marketing tool. Some stations may prefer to run a station with no schedule, utilizing AutoDJ and/or scheduled events, but note that this can make it more challenging to market your station and foster that loyalty in your audience.
In general, just remember that having a schedule and communicating it gives you a reason to stay in touch with your audience, which is extremely crucial. If you struggle with coming up with social posts or just general messaging to your audience, a schedule makes for some easy, reliable content.
4. Always Double-Check.
This really goes for everything and anything, but especially with your equipment, you should always double-check it before going live or recording to ensure that the audio is perfect. Audio quality is important. If you jump into recording without double-checking everything, even if you have the best equipment out there, there is a good chance that your audio quality will suffer.
If you aren't doing live events or recording shows though, double-checking is still essential. Check that your playlist is in the right order, the length you want, and scheduled properly in your events. When using clockwheels, check that your clockwheel is to your liking and scheduled properly as well. Ensure that you have all the tracks you want in your library and that they have correct metadata. Then, check that they are all marked accurately with Types and Categories.
Additionally, check that your station profile page is as appealing as possible. This includes your station name, metadata, genres, "About" section, logo, cover art, and links to your website and social media. Double-checking also applies to your messaging, whether that's your station description on your station profile page, information on your website, or just posts to social media.
The point is, help yourself out by double-checking equipment, your programming, your notes, your messaging, etc. and you will begin to notice that extra attention to detail is another key to success.
3. Keep Your Audience in Mind.
Whether you are selecting music, creating a playlist or clockwheel, creating a live show, editing a recorded show, planning your station programming, writing station messaging, creating artwork, or any other related task, you should remain mindful of your audience. What do they want and what do they expect? Even if you are just starting your station and don't have an audience yet, you should have a target audience that you are keeping in mind to direct your decisions. It's extremely important to broadcast your passion, but if you forget about your audience along the way, you will struggle with growing and even sustaining your audience.
2. Don't Forget About Legality.
Legality might seem like a non-issue since you're covered by Live365's music licensing, however, there are still some key things to remember.
Firstly, metadata. While we've got you covered on the music licensing end, we do need our broadcasters to provide us with the most accurate metadata possible. What does this mean? Just make sure that each track that plays on your station contains the following correct information: Track Title, Artist Name, and Album Name. And, aside from metadata being absolutely essential to the legality of your station, great accurate metadata just generally makes your station more attractive.
Now, with our music licensing, you are completely free to play copyrighted music with accurate metadata. However, using some copyrighted material, like film clips that are not covered under our music licensing, without permission is illegal. In some instances, Fair Use is applicable, meaning using bits of copyrighted material for educational commentary or for criticism is often allowable. However, generally speaking, you should avoid including anyone else's material that isn't covered by our music licensing unless you have explicit permission. This also applies to independent music. Our music licensing does not enable us to cover independent artists, but if you receive permission from them directly to use their tracks on your station (via email or written permission), then you are free to play that artist's music.
Another thing to keep in mind regarding legality is that you should have contracts with anyone that is ever involved with your station, whether that be guests, sponsors, artwork creators, producers, co-hosts, writers, etc. With everything laid out in contracts, you and everyone you ever work with know exactly what is allowed, expected, owned, and so forth at all times.
Also, stations provide an easy opportunity for defamation. You can be sued if you specifically say something that is false and hurtful about someone else. While it may seem like a minor thing, you should keep it in the back of your mind to ensure that you don't accidentally put yourself in a bad spot.
Finally, you should check that you are not creating a station name that already exists. The first person (or company) to use a brand name has the right to use it and to prevent others from using it in the same field. So, it's best to do your research and ensure you are coming up with a unique name to avoid later losing your station brand that you've built.
1. Engage With Your Audience.
There is no doubting that your station is about you and your passion. That should be a priority. However, your audience is an enormous part of your station and its success, so you should engage with them. Whether you engage with them on social media, via email, in-person, or through any other means does not matter. Some simple interaction with your audience will help your station grow, provide a great experience for you as the broadcaster, create a networking opportunity for everyone involved, and to your listeners, it can be a meaningful gesture. If you genuinely care about your audience, they will genuinely care about you and your station, fostering a wonderful loyal community that is the greatest asset of all.
With these 5 keys to success, you can be largely assured that your station is totally legal at all times, you are creating engaging content, your audience is happy, and you have high quality audio. At the end of the day, these couple things are largely the foundation of your station. And, a good foundation is what leads to an engaging and successful station.
For tips on internet radio broadcasting, see our article here. Check out our article entitled Starting Your Radio Station: What You Need to Know for more information on broadcasting.
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