LPFM and Internet Radio Stations Avoid Disaster! Live in a Real World. Some Tips on What NOT to Do!
Running a radio station, any radio station is a very expensive venture. The mega stations in major metropolitan areas are having financial difficulty right now so you can imagine what a small station like an LPFM can face in this day and age.
First of all you must live in a realistic world when it comes to starting a station whether it be internet or low power FM. Let me say this, the audience isn't going to flock to you with open arms. That's just not happening. Today people get their music, news and information from many sources.
Starting an internet station or an LPFM should be looked at like a hobby. Before you start you must realize that you are on a very limited budget and costs can get very expensive. Go for the basics. Can you run your station without relying only on donations? If the answer is"no" then I wouldn't proceed or I would evaluate just what would be possible running the station by using the funds that you do have available.
Some people believe that they must have all the bells and whistles before the station even goes on the air. You could run an internet or a LPFM from the basement of your own home. Yes that's right, you don't need a fancy location where the rent alone could put you out of business in a few months. If you're a LPFM, your signal is very limited. You should do your research to see how you would get the most effective signal.Choosing to place the antenna on a main broadcast tower where the monthly rent could also put you out of business is also a very bad choice. There are alternatives, think local and think smaller. You're not a full power station broadcasting in a major metropolitan area! By selecting to start broadcasting from a basement and choosing an antenna location that won't cost a fortune could save you a fortune!
Insisting on the very best equipment is also not a good idea since the cost for audio equipment is also a very expensive investment. Get what you need and go with it. You can always upgrade later,
Finally format, I could talk about this for hours but if you're an internet station or even a LPFM this can be one of the most important aspects in respect to get people to listen to your station! Do your research and remember contemporary music can be heard anywhere. Stick with something that will entice an audience. In this case, smaller is better because believe me you're not getting a large audience, no way, no how!
Stay local. I live in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. If I were running a LPFM station I would put all of my effort on getting the LOCAL community to listen not the tourists. Tourists could care less about you. You are the furthest thing from their minds! They are here to have a good time for a week of two and they are gone! They will NOT be listening to your station!
Give the dedicated local audience and the local businesses a reason to listen. Make them feel they are part of the station. Music should NOT be geared toward a young audience in my opinion. If the locals are largely retirees, then why play music from the 80's and beyond in the main part of the day??? They're not listening to that!!! Use your common sense even if it's choosing music that isn't heard anymore on the radio! Give your audience a reason to listen. It's difficult to do and you should always bey tweeking your rotations until you feel you have it right.
If you're also streaming, you're main goal is to get people to find you. This takes work! It is critical that your station get listed on many platforms. One or two won't do. You have to research the top sites that list internet radio stations and apply on each one. You have to fill out a form listing all of your stations details and hope they list you. You must list the streaming URL, station logo, website, format and other details! This is time consuming but must be done. Even tough my station Edgewater Gold Radio is listed on many many platforms and has been streaming oldies for 20 years, the other day I spent two hours listing it on newer platforms and platforms that I know I'm not on. Take the time and do the work, it will pay off.
My rotations need a tweeking and today that's what I'll be doing, I'll be making minor changes to the music rotations.
Finally be realistic, you're no "star" and probably never will be. Get your head out of the clouds and understand the radio business. It's not just about playing what you like or talking about the topics that you are most familiar with. Know your limitations and work on what you do well!
I hope some of these tips help if you're just getting started. There's a LPFM down here in southern Delaware that is on the verge of going off the air because of the mistakes that I've outlined in this article.