There are a lot of things in radio that are complicated, technical and frustrating. There are many obstacles that block the way when you are starting from the bottom with a new station, even if you have a lot of experience, expertise and knowledge. For me, I have all the tools I need to make a great radio station from scratch after working with two great stations like TapDetroit and Alien X Radio. I have a lot that I learned from my good friend Les ‘Zaldor’ Zalewski, who has been doing podcasting and radio longer than I have. I learned tons about the real radio business from working with Keith Samland for 6 years. I brought a lot of expertise at sound engineering and recording from my years as a musician and singer/songwriter. However, there is one thing that all internet radio stations struggle with on a daily basis, and not very many of us are particularly good at it.
You might think that I’m referring to getting listeners, which most definitely is hard. You may think I mean making money at this, which is even harder than getting listeners in some ways. There is one that is even harder than the previous two… some might say impossible, but I don’t believe that. I am talking about KEEPING LISTENERS. It’s easy to get people to check out your station for a minute, an hour, a day even… but to get them to keep coming back day after day, week after week is the biggest challenge a station owner will ever face.
You must have great content of course, whether it be music or talk radio or syndicated shows. You must sound professional and interesting. You must have a great website and an app to go with it, but none of that will matter if you don’t get listeners there in the first place. Promotion is everything, but keeping people once you draw them in is much more difficult due to the myriad of other choices they have including terrestrial, internet and satellite radio as well as an ever expanding selection of podcasts to distract them away from your little station.
I wish I had the magic pill or the magic button to push to bring droves of listeners in any time I want to, but that’s not how this works. You have to earn every listener every day. It’s hard work. It’s thankless work. A lot of the time, you never hear from your audience to know what they liked and didn’t like, what made them stay or more importantly… what ultimately made them leave. You may never know that they loved your show but it was on at a time when they could never catch it. If they could tell you that, you might move it to another time slot but most of the time, you have no idea and may never know why.
The best way to draw listeners in is great advertising and promotion. It’s something I’m still trying to master. I hope someday I do. Until then, I’ll just keep doing what works and stop doing what doesn’t. I hope you’ll join me on this crazy ride and listen, because all this thankless work is for you to enjoy the end result and rock out to KNOT FM.