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Monday, February 10, 2014

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Stand Out in a Radio Industry of Sameness

I'm an admirer of Impressionist painters. Monet, Renoir, Morisot, Degas; there were dozens of these extremely talented persons who could make a landscape (or whatever the object) pull your focus to a central point on the canvas and then start you exploring the rest of the painting for its subtle shades and nuance.
"The radio industry has acquired a style where it's hard to distinguish one station from the next, especially when those stations share format."

If you squint your eyes while looking at a number of these paintings simultaneously, they disappear into sameness, mostly looking like each other, making it difficult to spot the brilliance in any single one. But pay attention to them individually, and the style of each painter becomes apparent. The brush strokes, colors, and approach to interpretation are distinct. You can usually tell the difference between a Monet and Degas.

What do you hear when isolating a single station online? Paying attention to tempo, construction of IDs or playlist, does your station blend with others or offer a difference that listeners can identify?

The radio industry has acquired a style where it's hard to distinguish one station from the next, especially when those stations share format. It's so simple to find something else, somewhere else; too bad the new find usually sounds the same.

Online, the radio industry is a bucket of playlists. Or, in the case of broadcast radio's attempts at streaming, sameness is a similar playlist accompanied by far too many commercials. The internet is not the same delivery vehicle for audio as a transmitter and antenna; yet nearly all broadcasters regurgitate their over-the-air signal as a stream - in competition with pureplay operators featuring 4 commercials per hour.

No longer does a radio station compete against a handful of competitors fighting for a piece of the local market. Online, radio-like options are in the tens of thousands. They include audio sources that radio industry trades have long argued "are not radio." (Who cares?)

When streaming, a radio station has multiple ways to stand out to both audience and advertisers. The word "accountability" goes across both groups, due to a need to funnel exactly what the audience wants and to deliver the data advertisers are becoming more knowledgeable about each day.

Online, the radio industry is in a state of need: to become like the great master Impressionists. Programmers must find the sound and content which makes their station stand out amid all the jukebox sounds one finds today. That's the single most important way to get someone to come back, to metaphorically put you on their preset dial - you don't need an app for that.

For advertisers, they continue to hear how online is accountable while being pitched non-accountable advertising packages that sell impressions. Even the major radio companies are selling ads by CPM online. For the analytically savvy media buyer, that's a reason to stay away from audio online.

Put some color into your sound. Vary the shadings, and create a central point in programming that allows your audience to expand its focus once they find your station. Become a master of sound impressions. Your incentive is like those of the grand master painters; competition is too stiff to just blend into the other available choices.

Today's indie introduction is to...
Jazz artists, The Connie Lansberg Quartet
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When an artist has the power to please they should be given a chance to be heard.

Give The Connie Lansberg Quartet's "Crush" a listen.

Add it to your playlist, free!

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