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I hit 130 hours in 4 months and you can too!
https://forum.radionomy.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=18404
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Author:  johnsyk [ Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:13 am ]
Post subject:  I hit 130 hours in 4 months and you can too!

I have been following the forums and been reading up extensively. I did a few posts on this board introducing myself when I joined in. I am guilty of not contributing enough to this board since I was too busy and obsessed with doing everything I can to hit my listening hours. Today after all my hard work I hit my magical 130 hours and I’m really happy and thrilled and want to help and share my story so that others can be inspired to do the same.

Hitting 130 was not easy but it’s not impossible and in this post, I aim to explain what worked for me and I hope this can help people hit their targets. My post will only help if you are serious about your radio. If you just want to have fun and run a station for a few months, then you can ignore all the stuff below. ☺

I will try and avoid giving information, which is already available on the forum. Every station is different and I hope some of this will work for you.

My first planning was sent on August 28th 2015. Exactly 4 months and 18 days back. My first day listening was 3 hours listened to by just one person….Me.

So what did I do?

Have a clear vision and build a brand.

I believe music alone does not make a brand. The product you create needs to be unique in every way. The music you play. The overall service you provide. The imaging you have in your station. Your website. Your promotion. All this needs to align perfectly to give people a feeling that they are consuming a BRAND and not just a random music stream.

In a world with thousands of websites, why do listeners keep going back to Pandora or Spotify? Or rather, why do people “remember” to go back to them? Because they are a brand. And if I need listeners to come back to me, besides the amazing music I play, I need to be ‘remembered’ and that means I need to build a memorable brand.

Website

One of the first things I did for my brand building was build a website. I tried to make a website that’s the best I could with my limited budget. The website is my shop window. People come there and see what I have on offer. And it helped me in a big way in forging industry relationships and building partnerships in a short time. People are more comfortable in dealing with someone with a great website than someone with just a stream.

I have no previous experience with children’s music. But I have a 4 year old and I just felt there weren’t enough children’s music around. Sure, there are hundreds of streams but who knows them? I know there are lots of children’s streams out of here on Radionomy but how many come up on a Google search? How many do listeners know of? You can be visible on Google only if you have a website. And it needs to have SEO. I get small traffic from Google. Not a lot, but its only been 4 months so I cant complain. I’m on page 5 of Google search for kids music with a domain authority of 14 which I’m told by SEO experts is a good start for a 4 months old website.

Logo Design, Social Media covers.

Get a nice logo design. Make social media covers. Posters. Use them extensively. This is all part of your brand.

Know your audience.

Who are you targeting? That’s key. We wont know what to play and what kind of brand to build unless we know whom we are targeting. I was targeting young moms and I promoted in places where young moms hang out on the Internet.

Promotion

The Internet radio business is all about promotion. Period. Promote, Promote and Promote. I have seen lots of posts in Radionomy about this so I wont go into detail except that I tried EVERY trick in the book to promote. The things I did are: -

Released a PR – This was expensive and I’m not sure if it was worth it. Nevertheless I got a mention on Yahoo Finance, All Access Music and Washington Parent magazine covered my launch and few smaller blogs. I don’t know if any of these converted to people listening but I guess every little thing helps.

Social Media – Twitter worked better for me than FB. I did both organic and paid promotions on both. Social media is the BEST way to promote. I am on FB, Twitter, VK (Russian version of FB. I don’t know Russian but I need listeners), Pinterest and Google+. I know for some radios, Google+ has worked well and for some FB has. For me, Twitter worked the best. Try them all and in time you will know where your listeners hang out.

Videos – I made 2 launch videos and floated it on Twitter and FB. It also gets me a hit when you type Radio Nursery on Google.

Industry Blogs – You need to be VISIBLE everywhere. I hung out on blogs that targeted moms whenever I got the time and I contributed there. I spread the word. I have a blog on my website so it helped that many of them started reading my blog and listening to me as well.

Music and Imaging

Your music mix needs to be EXCELLENT. Not Good. EXCELLENT. If you are serious about radio, its about what your listeners want. Not what you want. Your radio service has to be top notch. There are thousands of radio stations out there. As someone who has spent 17 years in the commercial FM Radio service, the one thing I have learnt is that – listeners have a choice. Sadly we don’t. We need them more than they need us. Play a few tracks that don’t appeal to them and they will switch to another station. And once they switch and if that radio is doing an amazing job, the chances of them switching back is slim. As they say in commercial FM radio, we usually get only one chance unless it’s your mom or gf. They will tune in whatever rubbish you play.

Dont forget about Jingles/Imaging. Imaging isn’t as important compared to an FM station but use imaging to drive listeners to follow you on social media. It also helps to build your brand.

Make a mobile APP

This is important and this is an easy one now thanks to the awesome folks at Nobex.

Internet Radio Directories

I wont get into the details here. It has been mentioned so many times on the forums. This is again a no brainer. You need to be on EVERY Internet radio directory you can be on. Tunein is a must. Don’t wait for Radionomy to submit you there. Do it yourself. I’m on most directories except Windows Media. It is painful process to submit your station there but I have promised myself to get my station on there soon! :)

Its ALWAYS work in progress.

It’s never over. This has to be an obsession and that’s the only way it will work. This has to be something you truly deeply love. If you are not obsessed with your radio, at some point, you will get lazy and stop thinking about it. You will stop innovating. You will stop trying new stuff and eventually, this might come to an end. Remember, Radionomy checks for the minimum 130 hours four times a year so you can never really take it easy unless your listening hours are in the thousands.

Back up Plan

Always keep a backup plan. Things rarely go the way you want it to go. Sure, I am on 135 hours now. Maybe next month, I might slide back to 100? Whatever happens, I know I wont let my hard work die. I have a list of all the internet radio directories where my radio is listed and if I feel I am going to miss the 130 mark, I have already tried and tested a paid service as a back up plan. I have a copy of all my music kept away safely. If I know I am not going to hit a target, I am ready to move in 24 hours – I will change my stream in all the internet radio directories and I should hopefully be back to regular programming and stream changes in a matter of days. Don’t let Radionomy of anyone dictate the future of your station. They might legally own the stream as part of the producer’s pact, but its YOUR BRAND. Protect it. Remember it’s all in your hands.

Whine less. Work more.

Whenever I had an issue with something or I had a doubt, I check it up on the forums. And when I visit the forums, I see people constantly complaining. I do agree that Radionomy gives no support except for this forum. So what? They give you free streaming and free licensing. And their software works great most of the time and in my opinion the best out there. I have had no major issues in the last 4 months. I realize that most of the time, the issues happen because producers don't bother reading the documentation well and don't fully understanding how the automation system works. Spend a day or two reading the entire documentation and read again. And spend time reading stuff on this forum. 90% of your issues would be sorted. Guys, this is an amazing service. Live365 is shutting down so that is not an option. Their automation service was lame anyway. Radionomy is a great service and its up to you to make the most of it.

Moral of the story.

When I started my station in August, I spent days asking my friends and family to tune in. I was worried if I will hit the 13-hour mark. I was worried that I will have to move to a paid service in less than 3 months. I think these listening hour targets are a good thing. It keeps you motivated and moving. I hit the 13 hours in a month’s time. And then I stagnated. And that’s when I decided that I’m going to do EVERYTHING I can. The money I saved on streaming and licensing is what I spent on promotion. Till about a month back, I wasn’t sure if I will hit the 130 mark. Even now I don’t know if I can keep sustaining this. But I have my back up plan and I will keep working on it.

There is no ONE magical thing that will increase your numbers. It’s a sum of the many small things you do to make people aware of your service. Every person who tunes in adds to the hours. It’s not impossible. I hope this post will inspire more people to work hard on your stations. If you have any doubts, feel free to ask and I shall be more than happy to answer.

Never give up. I did it and you can too.

All the best.

Author:  deltablues2 [ Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: I hit 130 hours in 4 months and you can too!

Very, very inspiring. It definitely takes effort.

However, I can tell you having come from Live365 (RIP) that some stations simply don't become successful no matter what you do. You can promote yourself everywhere to the point of exhaustion & end up with very little or nothing. No matter how good your branding or the quality of your station, people have endless choices & may simply not choose you, if they listen to you at all.

Anybody with the dream of a great, popular station should try it. It's worth the trouble even if it only lasts for a little while.

Author:  SkylyneRadio [ Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: I hit 130 hours in 4 months and you can too!

FWIW, in my experiences, I would never have my station(s) autoplay on my website. If a potential listener is listening to another station and happens across your website, your station starts and would cause a bad experience for them. Just my $0.02 worth.

Otherwise, good advice.

Author:  johnsyk [ Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: I hit 130 hours in 4 months and you can too!

deltablues2 wrote:
Very, very inspiring. It definitely takes effort.

However, I can tell you having come from Live365 (RIP) that some stations simply don't become successful no matter what you do. You can promote yourself everywhere to the point of exhaustion & end up with very little or nothing. No matter how good your branding or the quality of your station, people have endless choices & may simply not choose you, if they listen to you at all.

Anybody with the dream of a great, popular station should try it. It's worth the trouble even if it only lasts for a little while.


Well, I guess the format does play a part and it comes down to my first point about trying to create something unique. If there are a million heavy metal stations out there and someone decides to add another metal station with nothing new to offer, its probably not going to be easy. However, I believe that if you really keep working on it and refuse to ever give up and keep trying stuff, things will eventually work out. Worse case scenario, after 5 years, your website will become more "trusted" on google and you would start appearing more on search. And maybe that could get more hits.

Author:  johnsyk [ Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: I hit 130 hours in 4 months and you can too!

SkylyneRadio wrote:
FWIW, in my experiences, I would never have my station(s) autoplay on my website. If a potential listener is listening to another station and happens across your website, your station starts and would cause a bad experience for them. Just my $0.02 worth.

Otherwise, good advice.


You do have a point. When I started my station in August, it was not on autoplay. Then I read somewhere on this forum about some stations running it on autoplay on their website. I do agree that running it on autoplay is not 'ideal' and surely not the 'best practice' with regards to listener experience...

HOWEVER...

for a new station starting off, every little minute helps. For example, if 50 people hit a website a day and each stay at-least for a minute, you get 50 minutes to an hour of additional listening per month average. That could be the difference between staying on the platform or being kicked out. So for a new station, its always a choice between listener experience or surviving the first 3 months!

I switched on the auto play after a week of being online. And its has been this way ever since. Maybe in a few months, once I hit 200 - 250+ hours, I will probably turn auto play off...but for now, I have decided to leave it as it is. It has worked well for me so far and none of my listeners have complained.........yet. :)

Author:  jimenezl [ Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: I hit 130 hours in 4 months and you can too!

Any site I reach that has music on Autoplay, I click the back button immediately. It's considered rude.

Author:  fortheloveofmusic [ Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: I hit 130 hours in 4 months and you can too!

Thank you for the story, I am struggling with the listeners problem as well (getting new music is easier than a consistent audience). Thinking and rethinking about autoplay too on the website, think it might be put off since I don't like autoplay sites myself and it's not worth the little amounts of minutes it will get me before everyone is scared away.

Author:  greyfm [ Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: I hit 130 hours in 4 months and you can too!

I haven't got to 130 hours/day yet, but I have noticed a dramatic rise in my station's TLH when I linked the music boxes to Twitter. I have a tweet sent out for every song that plays, and have received numerous retweets and likes, and gained several new followers. I've been on Radionomy only about 3 weeks, but I have greatly exceeded the 12 hours/day threshold.

Author:  RadioXUS [ Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: I hit 130 hours in 4 months and you can too!

Yes, that's my experience too. I have a relatively newer station, and went from about 15 to nearly 40 hours a day/average quickly with the Twitter music box links. (A recent day did top 100 hours, hope this becomes a more usual trend).

greyfm wrote:
I haven't got to 130 hours/day yet, but I have noticed a dramatic rise in my station's TLH when I linked the music boxes to Twitter. I have a tweet sent out for every song that plays, and have received numerous retweets and likes, and gained several new followers. I've been on Radionomy only about 3 weeks, but I have greatly exceeded the 12 hours/day threshold.

Author:  LadyJay [ Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: I hit 130 hours in 4 months and you can too!

John you are fab. Thank you for sharing. That is the kind of stuff that will make you a total sucess. I love your station and will promote it on my website as well. Keep up the kindness.. Lady Jay

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