Is There Room for Live Streaming Radio?

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On Air

On AirA good friend named Tasty Keish from the Bondfire radio show TK in the AM posted this Tweet about Live Streaming Radio

My answer

Once upon a time, long, long ago people didn’t have smartphones, tablets, or Laptops. They only had landline internet connected to Desktop computers. They had no internet access if they were away from home or their office. This presented a major problem for internet radio stations.

Today, people are always online. People stream terrestrial radio live through mobile apps like iHeartradio. People don’t even have FM radio in their homes, they have iPod docks. They get in their car and plug up their smartphone to their car stereo and stream Pandora or iHeartradio.

A lot of people in radio just have an outdated idea of what radio is. A live stream, no matter if it’s audio or video, is just digital communication. People can stream a radio show live streamed through Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, or Periscope. What separates those platforms from Radio.co or Live365 beyond the use of the Keyword “Radio”.

For instance, let’s look at Radio.co. They charge you a monthly fee to broadcast. Radio.co caps your storage space, monthly listeners are limited, and bandwidth is restricted. And all of this without them providing any pathway to monetization. Users pay $30, $50, $100 per month to broadcast a digital signal. A digital signal they could broadcast through something like Youtube live for FREE!

Youtube Live provides:

Unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited listeners, and monetization.

Embeds on social media:

Youtube live streams auto embeds when posted to the Facebook News Feed and the Twitter Timeline.

Convenience is king. Terrestrial radio stations have a big advantage from just being on the radio. When people don’t like what’s on one station they go searching for a new station which provides opportunities for discovery. Your radio show in social media feeds makes it convenient for users to discover your station. All users have to do is press play. If they enjoy what they hear they’re likely to visit your Youtube page.

Social shares:

Auto embedding to social media makes Retweets and shares more dynamic. Again, it’s a matter of convenience. Retweets and shares are users recommending content to their friends. Friends can investigate by simply pressing the play button.

Native Advertising:

Facebook users can stream your radio show as a post in their Newsfeed. Twitter users can stream your radio show as a post in their Twitter timeline. On both Facebook and Twitter, Tweets and Status updates can be run as advertisements. With Facebook there’s “Boosts” and with Twitter, there’s “Promoted Tweets”. The reach of a show can be extended to a few thousand people for $5-$10. All those people have to do is press the play button.

Youtube provides extremely affordable advertising. You get to reach music fans while they’re in the act of listening to music on Youtube. The best part about it is that you only pay for the people that click to play your show.

Social media platforms and Youtube all use an advertising method called PPC – Pay Per Click advertising. With PPC advertising you determine how much you want to spend and every time someone clicks on your ad you pay that amount. I have a book introducing PPC advertising if you’re interested in learning more about it.

Convenience

Your show would exist on Youtube which means it’d be accessible through the Youtube app. The Youtube app comes pre-installed on pretty much every mobile device.

People are on Youtube A LOT and spend a lot of time watching Youtube videos. No matter if a viewer watches your video on Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube itself that view gets logged to their history. When they visit Youtube or watch a Youtube video your videos will be suggested to them. Users won’t have to explicitly seek you out to follow up. If they watch you, Youtube will make sure they get more of your content.

This is entirely different from something like Radio.co where users have to download an app like Tunein which they likely don’t have. Otherwise, they have to navigate to your website and listen through an audio embed.

Subscriptions

Youtube users can subscribe to your radio station by subscribing to your channel. Subscribers get:
Email notifications
Notifications on the dashboard of their user page
Your videos posted to their homepage

Monetization

Radio shows can monetize using Google Adsense. The Youtube control room provides tools that allow the insertion of ads live during the broadcast. The big issue with Youtube ad revenue is that if viewers skip ads, no money is made. People usually skip ads in a rush to get to the content. A radio show can set an ad up by announcing they’re taking a commercial break. This leaves people knowing what to expect and more willing to sit through a commercial.

Youtube allows you to accept donations through its “support” button. Just like ads, the support button can be inserted into live broadcasts at any time. All viewers have to do to donate is click the button. Once they do, an overlay will pop-up where they can enter an amount click done and donate.

Stats

Youtube provides statistical data like the age, gender, and location of your listeners. You can see when viewership peaks and when it declines during a broadcast. This lets you know what parts of your show viewers find most entertaining. With Youtube, you can see how people are finding your show and connect your Google analytics account for even more data.

There is a tremendous opportunity in live streaming radio. Radio station owners just need to understand it.

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