Your radio station name might seem like a low priority when it comes to creating your station. However, your station name should actually be one of your highest priorities given its high visibility and lasting impression. Your station name has a large impact on the success of your station, meaning settling on the first name you come up with could have quite a detrimental impact on your station. And, with voice assistants, like Amazon Alexa, growing in popularity everyday, it's more important than ever that you evaluate your station name now rather than later! So, to help you out with the process of selecting and/or evaluating you station name, we created a small guide below. Check it out!
Why is My Station Name Important?
There are a few reasons that your station name is important. Firstly, your station name is very closely related to your station's discoverability, so an over-complicated name means a station that is hard to discover. For example, consider if someone uses a voice assistant, like Amazon Alexa, to listen to your station and they can not get their chosen voice assistant to understand the name of your station. Or, perhaps a listener is telling a friend about your station and their friend does not understand the name. In both of these instances, you are unknowingly and unintentionally making it harder for people to listen to your station.
Given that listeners can listen to Live365 after enabling the official Live365 Alexa Skill, it is especially important to evaluate your station name to ensure Alexa understands it since Alexa uses your station name verbatim. Listeners can pick a station by saying "Play [insert station name]" after requesting to listen to Live365 with the phrase “Alexa, play Live365.”
Since listeners can pick a station, your station name needs to be understandable for Alexa to navigate to your station properly. If you have extraneous letters and numbers, special characters, or even a lot of words or repetition in your station name, Alexa may not understand your name and therefore will not play your station on command. Another thing to note is that if a genre is in your station name, Alexa may confuse that for a genre request instead of a station request. Also, if your station name incorporates an acronym or miscellaneous letters, Alexa does not usually recognize the letters as a word, so the only way for Alexa to understand is if the listener spells out those individual letters for Alexa. Now, Alexa does learn and get better over time, but it only takes one time for a listener to unsuccessfully call out your station name to Alexa for them to move on to a different station that Alexa understands more easily.
In addition to discoverability, your radio station name is important because your station name is ultimately part of a potential listener's decision to listen. Your station name appears in front of all listeners, meaning the name you pick always leaves an impression. So, note that your station name, as well as the other information and images on your station profile page, can make all the difference, especially if a listener is deciding between your station and another one that plays the same kinds of music. If your station name is confusing, doesn't communicate the right message about your station, is boring, etc., then potential listeners may leave without ever listening to your station.
With all that said, your station name is clearly crucial to the success of your station. Although it may seem frivolous, you should really put some time and effort into deciding your radio station name. While you might not necessarily notice the benefits of a great station name, you will certainly notice the detrimental impacts of a bad station name. So, it is best to be informed about station names and carefully make your selection, instead of settling for just anything that you can think of.
Key Things to Remember When Selecting Your Station Name:
Making sure that your name is informative should be a priority. Having a name that tells potential listeners what to expect from your station, specifically making your niche known, is extremely helpful for drawing in your target audience. Things you may want to convey in your name could include your niche, genre(s), topic(s), target audience, personality and/or background, and so forth. (Keep in mind, as discussed, including a genre in your station name can cause some challenges when listening via Amazon Alexa.) Note that if your focus is more on creativity, you should still ensure that your station name is appropriate for your niche.
A great way to make a descriptive title is to include one or two keywords that convey your niche. Keywords are helpful in making your name communicate clear information, and they help with SEO. While creating an informative title, be careful not to lose out on creativity though. A strictly informative station name can turn potential listeners away if they deem the title boring or uninspiring. And, you can always help out your SEO by inserting keywords in descriptions, tags, and repurposed content.
- You should not add keywords to the end of your name (ie. "Station Name | Keyword, Keyword, Keyword") as they will potentially make your station harder to find.
- Using your name in your title is not ideal unless you already have a reputation and following.
You should aim to have a unique title to make your station stand out from the crowd and to ensure you aren't engaging in trademark infringement by using someone else's station name.
Some things that can help you create a unique, but informative name are references to your ethos, culture, and/or values as a radio station brand and as a host. Thinking about different common phrases that are used around your niche can also make for a great starting point. Additionally, playing with tone can be a good way to make your descriptive title more interesting. Your station can reflect your tone as a host, which, when chosen carefully, can make your title more personal and memorable.
It is possible to get too creative with your station name though, especially if you are starting your station with no reputation or existing audience that follows your work. An abstract or overly unique title would not communicate anything about your station, meaning potential listeners would likely scroll on by because they have no idea what the title means. Although your listeners will be clued into what your station is based on the listed genres you select, it is important that you don't simply rely on that because other stations also play the same genre(s) as you. More simply put, your listed genres don't differentiate your station, your station name and overall station profile page do, so that's why a balance of descriptive and creative is important in a station name.
It's also important to note again that if you get creative and make an acronym for your station name or use miscellaneous letters that you intend to be a word, Amazon Alexa will most likely not recognize the letters as a word, so listeners will have to spell out the letters individually when requesting your station via Amazon Alexa.
You should remember that having a unique name does not mean that you should have an over-complicated title that is confusing, hard to say or understand, or vague. Having an over-complicated name will negatively impact your station's growth. If potential listeners can't understand your title, you might lose out on listeners. Focus on creating a name that is easy to spell as well as easy to pronounce.
Lastly, your name should be minimal and thus easy to remember. A long name makes everything more difficult in terms of discoverability, so try to aim to have a name that is about four syllables or less with no "FM", special characters (ie. !, (), ?, ', |), repetition, or other extraneous letters, numbers, words, etc. (As a reminder, these extra letters, special characters, and so forth make it extremely difficult to listen via Amazon Alexa.) As with any of the other qualities of a title, you don't want to overdo it and create a name that is too brief to the point it conveys almost nothing though.
How to Select a Station Name:
Brainstorming is key. Take some time to brainstorm unique station names, but evaluate how understandable any of your options are before making a decision. Think about what you want to be known for, what you want your title to convey, who you want your station to appeal to, what makes your station different, how straightforward or creative you want your name to be, and so forth. This would be a good time to write out your thoughts and ideas about names and your station more generally. Seeing things written down is very different than saying them, so you should jot down your station name ideas. Remember that ultimately you are looking for a balance between creativity and simplicity, both visually and aurally.
Whatever you do, don't rush your brainstorming process. Think about getting a few friends or family together that you think understand your radio station vision best and have them contribute to your brainstorming. You might also consider searching synonyms to keywords or checking out books, blogs, other radio stations, magazines, and podcasts in your niche to gain inspiration.
In coordination with brainstorming, you should ask for feedback from friends and family. Ask them to tell you what they think the station is about and what their first thoughts are upon hearing the title(s). More in-depth feedback is certainly helpful, but the most important feedback is the initial reactions since that will mimic the first impressions that potential listeners will have. It is also helpful to ask for feedback as to whether your title is unique, but still comprehensible.
In addition, you should check to see if your preferred title is already taken by another station by checking with a Google search as well as on various directories. If you use someone else's station name, even unknowingly, you could be engaging in trademark infringement, which is something you should be mindful of and do your absolute best to avoid. It's also important to check if your chosen station name is available as a domain name for a radio website, as well as on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. You want consistency across the internet to help out with SEO, so you should prioritize selecting a station name that you can use as a domain name and usernames on social media.
Note that now would be a good time to check out the search engine results and evaluate where you could potentially rank eventually with some work. If you already have your station on the air, whether you are just starting out or have been broadcasting for awhile, this is also a good time to try to listen to your station via Amazon Alexa. If you test out your station name with Alexa before settling on your name, you can know for sure whether or not your station is easily discoverable when tuning in via Alexa.
After narrowing down your options through brainstorming and feedback as well as making adjustments where needed, you need to pin down what title fits you and your station. You might consider making a pros and cons list if you have multiple options. If you are left with one title after moving through the process, it could still be helpful to write down any challenges you anticipate regarding your station name. This will be extremely helpful as you move through your broadcasting journey because you will be ready for any hiccups related to your title so that you can hopefully avoid them, or, at the very least, quickly and easily handle them. For example, if you feel confident in a station name, but know that it may cause some small challenges with Amazon Alexa, consider making a list of of those challenges and the resolutions that you can then make accessible to listeners.
Note that if you feel any hesitation about a name, that is likely a sign that it is not right for you. Don't worry about time. If it takes several weeks to decide on a name, then so be it.
Selecting and/or evaluating your radio station name is a difficult process that you have to move through with intention and care. There are a lot of factors that you have to think about, especially with the current increasing relevance of voice assistants. Working through the process to ensure you have a discoverable yet creative name that makes sense for your station is certainly a challenge. It will take time and effort to find that perfect name, but the time and effort spent will absolutely be worth it in the end. And, if you skip through the station name selection process quickly and carelessly, you will see the negative impacts. That is why we recommend taking the process seriously and really finding the name that is perfect for your radio station.
Note that if you have an existing business, podcast, blog, website, or other career-related endeavor, you should use that branding for your radio station to keep things consistent. Even if your existing branding doesn't make for a great station name, try to think of derivatives of your branding that could make for a great title to still keep things relatively consistent, or at least related.
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