There are thousands of internet radio stations out there, but few of them are remarkable. Why is that? Basically, most of the station owners see their stations as a side job or a hobby and thus don’t aspire to deliver a professional broadcasting service. Sure, selecting good tracks and having a live show or two is super important for a music radio station, but that’s not enough.
So, either you want to launch an internet radio station and learn what mistakes to avoid in advance, or you already run a station and want to take your station to the next level. Either way, in this post, we will unveil the biggest and most common mistakes internet radio stations make, saving you the trouble.
#1. Having poor sound quality
Having a bad stream that’s glitchy and cuts off every now and then is the biggest mistake a new station owner can make. There is nothing more annoying than listening to a song or a show and getting interrupted. Your listeners won’t stay long if they can’t listen to your station without interruptions. That’s obvious, right? To avoid this common error, make sure you choose a stable and reliable internet radio broadcasting software (like Airtime Pro).
Another common mistake internet radio broadcasters make is using a cheap, low quality microphone to broadcast. Nowadays, a decent USB studio quality mic will cost you just a few bucks, so don’t be stingy. Our favorite budget mics are the Blue Yeti Mic and the Rode Podmic. Do you want to take your internet radio to the next level? Check out these 10 essential pieces of gear for online radio broadcasters.
Also, if your studio is in a busy neighbourhood and has a lot of ambient sound, you may want to reconsider if you need to broadcast live or just play music. Having a talk show with background noise can be worse than having no talk show. If you definitely want to have your show, try to soundproof your studio so that you minimise the external noise as much as possible. There are various DIY ways to do that on a budget. Check out this video.
Finally (and this should be obvious), avoid playing poor quality MP3s.
#2. Being unprepared
As Alexander Graham Bell once said,
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
We can’t agree more. There are many advantages for your radio show and your station when you prepare in advance. Being prepared helps build confidence about what you are going to talk about during the show – from the music you will be playing, to the news and information you will be sharing. Being prepared results in a well-planned show, which equals professionalism. Before your show, think about the topics you want to cover, do some research on those topics, and find music to match the show and topics you will discuss. Some hosts would even take it one step further and write scripts for their shows. The more prepared you are, the better. However, a note of caution: don’t simply read what you plan to say. It’s better if you have some notes that would remind you what you want to cover. Also, keep in mind that too much planning might make your show sound rigid and boring. Therefore, aim for a balance between planning and spontaneity so that your show sounds natural. Check out this guide on coming up with interesting topics for your show.
#3. Not having a clear identity
If you want to build a strong radio show you need to have a clear brand identity. For instance, pick a name, then choose the type of show you want to host and the genre of music that you will be playing. After coming up with the main “ingredients” of your show, stick with them. If your show’s point of focus is experimental music, and you only talk about the story behind each track, in between the tracks you play you don’t want to mix that music with other genres, or start talking about politics while the track is playing. Once listeners fall in love with your show it’s difficult to lose them. Stay committed with the show they fall in love with.
#4. Not monetising your station
Many small internet stations never consider the fact that they could make money from their station. While doing so takes a lot of hard work, you will never know if you can make money from your station until you try. There are plenty of ways to start monetising your station. The first step is to make a decent media kit to share with potential sponsors and advertisers. Then you’re ready to move to the next step and start making money from your station. For more, check out this guide for tips and advice to monetise your internet station.
#5. Ignoring audience growth
You wake up one day, you prepare your coffee, turn on your laptop to check how many listeners have tuned in, and you see a magic number ending in several zeros. Then you realise you’re dreaming – like Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception – and you fall asleep again.
One of the most common mistakes amateur broadcasters make is failing to attract new listeners. After they get their first dozen listeners they sit comfortably back and forget about growing their audience. They’re just happy with the number of listeners they have and wait for new ones to come. But I’m sorry to say that those new listeners will never come if you don’t try to bring them in to listen to your station. New listeners don’t magically appear out of nowhere (except in dreams). We are here to help. Here are some clever ways to attract new listeners to your internet radio.
#6. Having dead air
The big advantage internet radio stations have over traditional FM stations is that they can attract listeners from all over the world (although nowadays, FM stations also broadcast on the net). That means that you need to broadcast 24/7. Therefore, you have to plan out your broadcast for each day of the week so that there is no dead air.
Avoiding this is easy with the Rotations and Auto DJ feature in Airtime Pro. On top of that, Airtime Pro’s Smart Blocks are a great way to speed up your programming. You will need to specify specific criteria (like genre or time since last play) and the software will populate that block according to those conditions.
Finally, try syndicating radio programmes to bring some diversity to your station.
#7. Mimicking other radio show hosts
We all have our favorite radio presenter, someone who “speaks” to us as if they were a friend. When you first jump into the radio broadcasting world it’s common to try mimicking someone you admire. After all, they know best, right? However, the best thing you can do is to just be yourself. Trying to be someone else means that you’re faking it, and people can sense that. Your personality will be the major identifier of your brand identity. So, don’t be afraid to show your real self and your audience will appreciate that. Be open and interactive, share your stories, ask questions, and involve your fans in the conversation.
#8. Listen to your fans, guests, and callers
Don’t just talk; you also need to listen (here’s what I mean). If you have a chat where you interact with your fans, be sure to pay attention to what is said and respond accordingly. . People love to know that their radio hosts acknowledge them. If you’re hosting an interview, try not to interrupt the guest as it’s impolite and sounds bad. Also, when you interview someone don’t just stick to the questions you have prepared, otherwise the interview might sound too rigid and will lack soul. Ask the question and then listen to the answer carefully. At the end of the answer, if another question pops up in your head, feel free to throw it on the table. In that way, the interview will have a better flow and will sound like an actual conversation rather than a typical, boring interview. You might even get some interesting information that you would never imagine.
#9. Talking over songs
Imagine you’re a listener, listening to an amazing song for the first time, and the presenter talks on top of the track. You want to smack the device, right? So let the music speak. Also, another annoying thing presenters do is to talk over songs with lyrics! That sounds just awful. Talking over instrumental songs or at the beginning and the end of a song is fine, but it’s important to stop talking when the lyrics start.
#10. Make adverts relevant to show
When you place ads on your radio page be sure that they are relevant to your audience and style of radio. Making sure your ads match your listeners’ interests is super important. In that way your station and brand is consistent and potential advertisers will be more likely to spend their money on your station.