I STARTED MY OWN RADIO STATION!
|Click on the boombox to hear 80s Throwback Party - http://www.radionomy.com/en/radio/80sthrowbackparty|
For eons humans have used a unique technique in order to get through the monotony of routine jobs - singing. I'm picturing; Viking oarsman paddling across the Atlantic singing heve-ho songs, Coal miners rapping out tunes to the beat of their pickaxes...that kind of thing.
Fast forward to modern times and the use of music to get through repetitive tasks is still in use, only in the form of MP3 players and the like. I am one of those users. A heavy user you might say. A chunk of my day is made up of data inputting. The mindless input of the same twelve piece of info can really wear you down. But, add music and your productivity increases exponentially...and more importantly you are so distracted that you don't feel like your mind is turning to mush. This kind of repetitive computer work is the perfect set up for listening to music, and is also the ideal breeding ground for an internet radio user. You have a computer, you have the motivation, you have the time.
That is how I got hooked.
As I sat in my cubicle and typed those dozen data points over and over and over and over...I found listening to my limited collection of CDs from the early 90s became just as mind numbing as the inputting. I needed some variety. I tried tuning into local radio, but, there was too much talk and too many commercials. Then I found internet radio. A seemingly unlimited number of radio stations that broadcast everything and in every way. There were lots of conventional, professional, stations that were streaming over the net. However, what really grabbed my interest were the countless amateur stations - basically someone with a laptop and a playlist. Heaven! I had found the variety I was looking for, and an endless well of it.
This was the spark that lit my fire. I had been considering the idea of starting my own internet radio station - my DIY nature and my years of cataloguing the good points and bad points of numerous stations made me an armchair expert (not to mention the rekindling of my long lost love of 80s music when we had that throwback 80s party last year). I could put together something great (and unique) that I, personally, would love to listen to. It started out purely as a selfish way to hear the music I wanted to hear...but, as with most projects, that quickly changed.
I found a site, radionomy.com, that offered potential broadcasters, like me, a free station. They had a great set up for novices like me - a huge bank of songs to use, easy to use software that put together play lists or song shuffles...even a chance to incorporate advertising and possibly make some major cash! All they asked for in return was that the station become big enough to support itself within nine months. They base this on number of listening hours (how many hours people tune in to your station). You need to make it to an average of 30 hours after three months, then a much more challenging 120 hours after another six months. If you fail to do this, they delete your station. I had little to no hope of ever making it above the few hours I'd be listening every weekday. And, that is how it was for the first couple of months - average listening 5.5 hours a day.
During that time I had experimented with all the gadgets the site offered to the broadcasters - adding jingles, putting together podcasts, scheduling shows, etc. It was fun, creative, and challenging...a great mix.
Then I received an email reminding me that if I did not have enough listening hours that my station would be deleted from the universe forever.
Darn it! I had become pretty fond of my station, with the amateurish jingles, and the badly researched program I had made up. I couldn't just let 80s Throwback Party disappear!
I did a little thinking, and a little research, about internet radio listeners - specifically how a listener finds a station.
One way is through directories. Typing 'free internet radio' in Google brings up suggestions for radio directory sites. They range from a page with a big list of stations to a complex interface where users can vote, comment, save favourites, search specific songs playing, etc. Most of these sites have a little button on the bottom saying 'submit site'. You give them some info on your radio station and *poof* you are on their listing. Easy.
The other thing I found out is that a good chunk of listeners are actually people tuning in from their smart phones. There is an app for that. The hard part is getting your station listed on those apps. Itunes for example is a bit like jumping through firey hoops while you are covered in oil. First off, they do not have a handy button for submitting your site. You have to search around until you run across a blog or article on how to get listed on itunes. Then you need to follow a rigorous set of specific instructions, fill out a spreadsheet with specific info that cannot deviate from a specific format - you get a good lesson in patience and perseverance when you try this road. Same thing with TuneIn, an android based app. However, once you get through this ordeal the payoff is worth it - most of my stations listening hours come from android devices and iphones.
|The numbers keep growing|
The station has been over the 120 hours per day for awhile now and only keeps growing, which brings a great feeling of satisfaction to my heart. If you are interested in checking it out go to http://www.radionomy.com/en/radio/80sthrowbackparty
Fun fact - Germany is the country that listens to my station the most.