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Sunday, November 24, 2013
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Answers to Online Radio Industry Questions

Received a comment on the article "Defining "Success" for Internet Radio Industry," yesterday. Thought it's answer should be shared more than by just posting it in the comments section of that article's page. The questions were solid, and deserve more. (Read the comments here.)
"Radio's problem has long been trying to mold the internet for its use, instead of altering radio's business model to fit the internet."


Thank you for taking time to comment.

There's no short answer to these questions, so let's try a medium approach starting with "I don't see any articles at the moment on this site which gets into the "how" a streamer might make a better and more profitable effort."

Audio Graphics has been online since January 1997, and I've written hundreds of articles on this subject. Please check our archive and deep archive. Or, just type "revenue" in the search box on the right side of this page. You'll get 237 returns posted at Audio Graphics. Not all answer your question, but many do.

I keep writing because it helps me clarify the options in my own head. Unfortunately, I feel, these articles fall on deaf ears. The reason: Radio's problem has long been trying to mold the internet for its use, instead of altering radio's business model to fit the internet. When that mistake is corrected we'll see a turn around. I just don't see it happening anytime soon.

About your "You might add to this any other advertiser support you know that works." One which I know works - having done it, and written about it for over a decade - is that radio needs to get away from selling impressions and start delivering post-campaign analysis to advertisers. Offering clients A/B Testing of campaigns; helping with landing page and checkout construction; forming concepts that use the internet's unique ability to track are all items absent from the online radio ad package.

On "Would love to read more of your thoughts about how one or more streams can be operated at a reasonable profit." Thank you. Two tips mention here frequently, which are continually ignored: 1) Create something different. All of radio (online and off) has mostly become a jukebox on steroids; 2) Pursue advertisers that can sell products online, and help them integrate your station's ad campaign with their web site's checkout. (Click here for an example of the latter.)

Here are a few more suggestions: Audio Graphics has long offered the radio industry songs at RRadio Music, and "Intro to Indie Artists" programs. Both are free of royalty performance fees.

We also have RadioRow - an online radio station portal. Have you submitted your station for a free listing there? I also released a new series of 1-minute programs to help Americans understand the Affordable Care Act at These programs are free, yet you can sell adjacencies or sponsorships and keep 100% of the revenue.

Have you taken advantage of these above free services? It's a good place to start for creating programming that's different from a one-song-after-another format.

As for the "many ad networks claiming to serve the internet-only radio streamers..." Most of these are not interested in serving a single station with minimal audience. Have you tried Google's AdSense, and created audio campaign that send the audience back to your station web site to click on these Google ads? AdSense is a proven revenue stream which, to my knowledge, no radio station uses in this way.

You mention third party measurement, but that is of little value when the price of what's measured is so low (which is the case with selling online radio ads by CPM). There's simply too much available inventory for a single, or small station group to make profit this way.

Also in your comments you mention Quantcast offering accountability. Do you use it in conjunction with Google Analytics, giving a reinforced reading of your site's audience? Neither measures stream counts or audio ad delivery, though. That needs to be done through landing page metrics - something I've not seen in the online radio industry.

To date, for third party stream measurement your sole option is to pay a company like Triton Digital for its Webcast Metrics.

I started out with "there's no short answer" because everything described takes understanding multiple disciplines, like analytics & metrics. I fear there's no making profit until radio gets deeper into offering this accountability. That pretty much makes most of the radio industry that's online an "enthusiastic amateur" pool, with little hope of getting advertiser dollars.

To wrap this up: Your "Knowing the aggregate tuning hours per week and per month is just one metric a streamer must know." is far off-base. Aggregate tuning hours means little in an online world that's delivering actionable data to the advertiser.

Education in most of the above areas will help. Without education, online, the radio industry will remain in the doldrums for the foreseeable future.

That said, best wishes. Don't give up. Adjust your approach to fit the times. There's more than ample opportunity when using new media, and many companies are showing a profit.

Ken Dardis

Today's indie artist introduction is to...
The Connie Lansberg Quartet
sample song

Download Song


We listen for songs that evoke emotion; fast, slow, female, male, group, it doesn't matter. 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! Such is the new world of music distribution.

It's time internet radio programmers reach into a huge pile of untapped talent.
It is here where new hit songs will increasingly be found.

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