When I was a kid, I often wondered why I was so interested in radio. At that time radio, vinyl records and tape were the only ways to hear our favorite songs but that wasn’t the only reason why I loved radio. I remember waking up every morning and hearing positive, upbeat voices, great music and very memorable jingles as well as news and events that were happening in my area. I immediately felt good and was ready to face the day. So for me radio wasn’t just the music. It was a combination of many elements.
As I began my radio career, I was blessed to work with some great mentors who gave me the structure I needed to grow and improve.
In order for radio stations to have any chance of succeeding, they need a consistent format, and need to deliver entertaining content. Imaging is critical to success. Radio stations need to constantly tell the audience who they are and what they do. If you’re a station playing alternative music, make sure that the audience knows this. After all, don't you want to grow your audience?
Structure is also important. I remember when I first worked with a format clock at a local station that played a mixture of pop and country music. The format clock consists of programming elements that move you through each hour with balance and consistency. Now we have computers that enable you to program all of the elements into different rotations.
Today there are low power FM stations that have the opportunity to serve specific communities and provide original, relevant and entertaining programming . It is sad to report that there are many of these low power stations that do absolutely nothing to serve their communities. Some stations merely dump music into a computer and play it over the air and call it radio! THIS IS NOT RADIO AND THEY WILL NEVER ACQUIRE ANY AUDIENCE. In most cases, the music dumped into the computer isn’t even consistent. It’s just a bunch of songs made up of various genres that make no sense. It's almost like someone saying "Let me dump all of the music I own into a computer and play it over the air!"
No structure, no format, no content…..nothing! When they applied for the license, they had to prove that they are going to serve their community with some kind of content.
I always believed in radio and I think that low power FM stations could prove to be a great service for a small community. If I owned a low power station, I would have content, format and structure in place the day the station hit the air! Sure I would tweak and enhance the format as I went along. Low power FM must have a purpose or why bother? I hope that anyone starting a Low Power radio station will read this and take some of what I point out seriously. It's the only way to survive in this highly competitive radio world. Remember there are thousands of stations on the air, we could use pandora or spotify to create our own playlsit. WHAT IS GOING TO MAKE ME WANT TO LISTEN TO YOU?
Have all of your ducks in order before you go on the air or don’t even bother!