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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is Internet Radio Really That Hard to Do?

As soon as I released the first review copies of my book, Internet Radio: How to do it! I started receiving e-mail from people who read as far as the Introduction and thought that I was acting like some kind of scare monger by saying that it is difficult to create an internet radio station. I guess that I should be happy that they at least took the time to read through my book that far, but they obviously missed the point of what I was trying to say, and the purpose of the book.

No, it's not difficult to stream music or some kind of program out over the internet. It's not hard and it's not expensive, in fact most 14-year-olds could do it. But doing it RIGHT is something that very few will ever accomplish.

Even given the resources that the major radio station group owners have available, how often to their stations change format? How many stations in the town where you live are the same as they were 12 or 24 months ago? If these large companies can invest the huge amount of money that it takes to research, develop and operate a radio station, particularly in a large market, only to see it replaced by another, equally expensive format a short time later, it should tell you something about your chances for success in radio.

If all you want is the thrill of hearing something that you've thrown together coming out of your computer speakers, then internet radio IS easy. If, however, you want to build something that will still be there in 30, 60 or 90 days, and will build an audience then internet radio isn't quite so easy.

The fact is that you have advantages that the big radio companies don't have: namely that you don't have the overhead and revenue expectations that these companies have. But if you want to attract and hold more than a handful of sporadic listeners then you need to spend some time and energy doing some basic planning.

Developing an online radio station is a PROCESS - you research and plan it like you would any other business venture. There are aspects that are unique to broadcasting but careful consideration and a SWOT analysis will help you cover the most important aspects of the project. Basic, sound PLANNING is the key to achieving your goal.

John Peterson is a 30+ year radio veteran and champion of online radio. He is an online broadcaster operating several stations, and author of the book Internet Radio: How to do it! - a book that molds traditional radio programming techniques to online radio.

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