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Tuesday, March 15, 2011
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Getting Around Radio's Latest Challenge

Within eighteen months, this will be the biggest hurdle faced by the radio industry: how to describe your radio station. The sheer number of competitors faced online is staggering, and the words used to describe your station will be its most powerful draw. Why?

"Unlike in the broadcast radio industry, an internet radio station is first chosen not on its sound but written words...." Here are a couple of facts. 1) Most people people find new internet radio stations through search engines (see chart). 2) The second most-used method for finding radio stations online is through radio station portals.

(click to enlarge)

What most helps you find new Internet radio stations?

Either way - search engine or portal - your choice requires a summation of what your radio station is about and what it represents, using words that briefly describe what you offer to the person doing the looking - before they listen.

Unlike in the broadcast radio industry, an internet radio station is first chosen not on its sound but written words appearing in a search engine return or radio station portal. And, from what I'm exposed to by internet radio station owners who request a listing at RadioRow, there is lttle thought given to explaining what purpose an online radio station serves.

Here are examples of comments on submissions that I receive which are intended to describe stations. Change the station's name and format, and I've seen these sentences multiple times since 1999.

We play the hottest and newest Hip-Hop & R-B
(Station name) Radio offers the best in eclectic programming from paranormal
to politics, hit music to the oldies

Radio (Station name) plays the best local (city name) bands and artists past
and present.

The radio industry is beginning to get traction online, and how you set your station apart from competitors will make or break your business.

What combination of words would you have appear on a search engine return? When submitting your station to a radio portal like RadioRow, what would you put on the submission form? Think carefully, because online those words are likely to be associated with your station for eternity.

Playing the badass women of rock!
Playing the best in underground hip hop.
(Station name) Radio is an Internet Radio Station that only plays Independent
and Unsigned Hip Hop and R&B.

Anything grab you yet? Me either.

How an internet station owner describes their station is going to grow in importance within the radio industry now that following listeners online is getting serious attention. (We're talking both broadcasters with a stream and pureplays.)

I don't know what this particular radio station owner is trying to say, though I will give two points for attempting to build atmosphere: Playing the best kick-ass, steel guitar-dripping, bass-thumping, sawdust on the floor, barroom-brawlin', honky tonk music and a little killer bluegrass.

Give careful thought to words that describe your radio station online. They matter, especially when your station needs to be found on search engines, or when it's listed in a radio station portal like RadioRow.

We play great music isn't enough reason for someone to sample your program, anymore.

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