Getting Listeners and Keeping Them

Posted By James on Jun 09 2009 12:00 AM
First, and foremost, be patient. Station growth takes time. But if you have a good product, the growth will be exponential over time (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 etc). Why? Because people tell their friends about good stations.

The basics
Don't be a part time station. To have any hope of building an audience, you need to be on the air 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Make sure you are pleasing the listeners you already have. Even if that's just one or two on a good day. People will usually give you one try. If they don't like what they hear, they might not return.

So before you mount a massive campaign to attract new listeners, evaluate your stats to see if the ones you have - however few - are sticking around for a while. The best test is to look at your connected listeners at around 4pm on a weekday. How many of those connected have been there for four hours or more? How many do you recognize from the day before? The week before?

If those numbers don't look good, attracting more of the same will simply increase your tune-ins. But not truly the number of listeners. Things to potentially tweak include audio processing and general stream quality, crossfading, playlists, sweepers, transitions, hosting (Yes, hosting - nobody stays connected to a stream that rebuffers all the time), and overall music selection.

Talk to your listeners. Don't be a 24/7 jukebox. You've just lumped yourself in with AOL, Yahoo and other 24/7 music services. Give your station some personality - yours! Invest in a mixer, a good mic, and go on the air every now and then. That's why you got into this, right? So give your station some flavor... Make it different.

Make it easy!
You would be amazed at how many station sites I visit where I can't find the link to tune in! Or sites that offer a format of audio that my iTunes or Windows Media player don't support.

Holy cow... talk about not helping matters. Your "Tune In" link should be in the visitor's face the instant they hit your site. It should reach out from the monitor and slap them! "Look here", it should scream, "CLICK ME RIGHT NOW!!!". If you have a site for your station, its number one purpose should be to guide weary travellers to your stream! (Via your LoudCity launch page, of course)

And don't make your listeners download plugins or special software to tune in. In this day and age, people have been conditioned not to download stuff from the Internet.

Bottom line - remove as many barriers as you can so that tuning into your station is like falling off a log.

So it's time to spread the word! Here are some ideas for you to achieve growth.

-If your programming is local oriented, put up flyers in nighclubs and bars, or bulletin boards at local colleges, stores, laundromats and schools.
-Make use of the web directories that are available to you. IORSN, StreamFinder, Winamp/SHOUTcast, AudioRealm etc.
-Run sweepers and IDs on your station encouraging listeners to "Spread the word" about it. Make sure you run IDs frequently to "brand" your station so people can remember it, and tell their friends about it.
-If you run Windows Media streams, seek a listing on the Windows Media Radio Tuner
-Get friends and family to also pass the word about your station to others.
-Always make it sound as if you have hundreds tuned in even if you have one listener. Sound big, become big.
Remember, getting listeners is only part of the fight. Keeping them... well, that's another story. I firmly believe that for every person who listens to radio at home, there are 4 or 5 tuned in from work. Those folks listen for 9 hours a day, Monday through Friday. Could you listen to your station for 45 hours a week and not get sick of it after a month? Keep the content fresh, rotate, and add new stuff on a regular basis. Give people a reason to keep listening, and many of them will.

I hope this is helpful for those who have struggled to grow their stations. Comments, additional tips and feedback welcome.

Source: Loudcity
Thanks to John!



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