The Future of the Radio Streaming Industry
For many years radio has been satisfying a human’s basic need by giving its listeners both diversion and musical satisfaction. It was only a short time ago that traditional radio was limited to two primary forms; AM or FM. Local radio stations attracted their listeners with programming and made money by selling advertising. To find a station with satisfactory programming or one that met your musical taste, you needed to do a quick scan through the local frequencies. You would hope that you would not pick up any interference in the signal when you found a station you liked. You may get the impression that the way I am describing radio is as if it is ancient history. Realistically though, FM land based stations are not yet dead. However, now thanks to the internet, radio has evolved, and we have the power of choice. Undeniably Internet radio has many advantages over terrestrial radio stations, but already the discussion about internet radio’s future has begun.
Those involved in land based stations will rarely admit that FM stations are in danger. They argue that people still want the local news, weather and enjoy the DJ personalities. Those invested in the online internet radio world swear that FM radio is in danger of extinction. Whichever way you want to see it, the reality is that the internet is here to stay. Terrestrial stations will need to adapt and get creative in order to survive. It is very easy to start your own internet radio station, and the costs are minimal in comparison with land based radio stations. Not all internet stations out there are very good, and a very small ratio actually stands out amongst the thousands that exist. The future and success of internet radio stations will depend on a few very important factors.
Automobile Industry Radio has always had a very special place in automobiles. AM and FM radio and local broadcast programming have long held the monopoly in cars. Most recently, automakers have been adding features in the dashboard such as Wi-Fi hot spots for in-car streaming. Listeners will be able to listen to their favorite internet radio station. According to State of the media, since January 2015, more than a third of U.S adult cell phone owners (35%) have listened to online radio in the car. This is more than the 21% who did so in 2013 and nearly six times the number (6%) in 2010. The automotive industry has recognized this technology trend and is working hard to make the car as connected as possible. This is without a doubt an enormous opportunity for internet radio.
Every radio station needs a continuous stream of revenue. Land based radio stations are required to play many commercials just to pay the expensive costs of running their business. Advertisers have long kept terrestrial radio alive, but now advertisers may be shifting their business to the estimated 143 million (half of Americans) that have listened to internet radio in last month of 2015. However, be warned not just any internet radio station will qualify.
It seems that every Tom, Dick and Harry have either attempted to run an internet radio station or are currently running one. Let’s face it; there are thousands of so-called internet stations out there. Many recognize the tremendous potential that Internet radio has to offer, but they do not meet quality programming standards that listeners are looking for. Therefore, they are not attracting many listeners at all. Internet Radio Stations need to have a clear objective, quality compelling programming and a target audience. They need to identify and analyse how their direct competitors are enjoying success. You will need to invest in a quality server and work with a reliable SHOUTcast/Icecast hosting service. Digital marketing is the key today, and it is important to have a strong web and social media presence. Radio stations that enjoy success offer incentives and always engage their listeners as much as possible. Simply put, the success of an internet radio station will depend on the creative ingenuity of the individual(s) running the station.
There is no doubt that internet radio is growing in popularity at a very fast rate. There is now an unprecedented opportunity in owning and operating an internet radio station. However, remember you will not enjoy success unless you are doing it right.
This article appeared in May Edition of The Media Streaming Journal and was written by Radiosolution’s Derek Bullard