I always tell new internet radio operators that they must get the word out on their station. One main task is to get listed in as many internet radio directories as possibly. This can be time consuming and requires persistence. Advertising and using social media also spreads the word. This should also be done on a consistent basis. Don't keep changing your format and keep promoting the music you play.
I gained a large audience when I first started Edgewater Gold Radio in 2002 and at that time social media did not exist. I kept a consistent format and internet radio was still in it's infant stages so there wasn't much competition.
A big blow for me was when Live 365, the service that distributes the Edgewater Gold Radio stream, had to close because of very high, unfair royalty rates. I had to scramble to find another service to stream my station. I went with Radionomy. It wasn't the best choice but I needed to get the station up as soon as I can. I had to re-build an audience from scratch. I didn't stay with Radionomy too long. There were so many problems with them that I would never recommend anyone interested in starting an internet radio station and is serious about it to choose them as their distribution platform.
Luckily Live 365 re-grouped and once again started operations. I quickly moved Edgewater Gold Radio back to Live 365. They are fantastic and they always get a high recommendation from me. I had to build an audience from scratch once again and it's no easy task. The coding changes, the URL changes and once again all directories that list Edgewater Gold Radio had to be changed to reflect the new URL.
Luckily after about a year and a half our audience has quadrupled and continues to grow! The key is persistence!!