Your Own Radio or Podcast Show
Hosting your own radio or podcast show is a wonderful endeavor that is exciting, fun and nerve-wracking. There are many great reasons to venture into this opportunity and there are also some significant considerations that I’d like to warn you about before you commit.
Overall, if you’re thinking about having your own radio/podcast show, you have two media vehicle options to start with: purchase broadcast airtime on (a) local radio station(s) or go the podcast route. Purchasing broadcast airtime is costlier but has some benefits (and pitfalls) that are worth considering. Going the podcast route is less expensive overall (a benefit), but still has some pitfalls that are also worth scratching your head over.
When purchasing airtime in terrestrial radio land (broadcast through the airwaves) there’s almost always a cost involved. Some stations charge very little for their airtime and some charge a lot. So, what’s the difference? What you’re paying for is distribution – and I want to highlight that word “distribution”.
A radio station that is charging a premium for their available brokered airtime will most likely also have a significant weekly cumulative listening audience. When the advertiser purchases that airtime, they immediately benefit from the broad general audience the station already has. Therefore, your show will immediately have a large distribution by being broadcast on an already widely listened to radio station. Comparatively, a station with inconsistent or low-quality programming will most likely have a small or virtually inexistent listenership-base. You should see this reflected in the cost to purchase airtime with them. In return for the financial “savings,” you, the advertiser, will have to almost wholly cultivate your listening audience (which takes time and money to promote). I want to note that a radio station’s signal strength is a moot data point. A large broadcast signal does not mean that more people listen to the station.
Regardless of listenership size, a radio station will generally provide you with show intros, some coaching, a board operator to help you handle incoming calls, they’ll help you edit your show, and contracts usually come with show promo spots that help you promote your show to their general listening audience.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the option of starting a Podcast. What I love about Podcasts is that they’re the embodiment of everything that makes the internet so great: light, quick, inexpensive, flexible, mobile, global, unregulated … you can pretty much do whatever you want. Like Eleanor Roosevelt wisely remarked, “with freedom comes responsibility” and in podcast land, you bear 100% responsibility for distribution, promotion and show structure – an intimidating pitfall if you’ve never done this before. Some services help you with show intros, show structure, recording and distribution, and they’re less costly than purchasing airtime on a radio station. Check out RadioInfluence.com, for example.
Now that we understand our media vehicle options and brushed the surface on what you gain and lose with each, now let’s talk about the drivers that really affect this endeavor: money, time and your objectives.
If you think you can sell enough sponsorships to cover the cost and make a profit, think again.
Sponsorships of this nature are not easy to sell, and long-term commitments will be difficult to retain due to the nature of your show. Unless you’re doing well when it comes to recruiting new listeners and you’ve been able to grow a sizable audience (locally or nationally), your sponsor’s ads might not reach sufficient people frequently enough to garner results that would justify the financial investment of sponsoring your show.
Before packaging your sponsorship levels, make sure you also consider inventory management and how the quantity and quality of your sponsorship commitments will adversely affect the listening experience of your show. Pepper things up with too many ads and you’ll turn your listeners off. Catch 22. We can help you with this.
This segues nicely into the second driver of success …
You’re buying time, you’re selling time, it takes time to prepare for the show, it takes time to do the show, it takes time to promote your show, sell your show, build up a listening audience for your show, provide client service to the sponsors of your show and it takes time to collect sponsorship dues for your show. Time, time, time!
Most radio stations will demand an annual commitment for selling you brokered airtime on their station and it’s not just for their own financial gain. If you are even slightly hesitant about your desire to commit to doing your show for at least a year, you might not be ready. It takes a very long time of demonstrated consistency for your show to build up a good listening audience and a following. Having a radio or podcast show is a definite choice you make, not a hobby.
If you decide to do it, stick to it. Like all practices, you can’t be inconsistent about it and expect to reap benefits. My vegetable garden never takes off because I forget to water it and the same goes for everything else in life. Simple.
Make sure that the time that you’re about to pour into you doing your show is worth the time and financial investment. This brings me to … what the heck are you doing?
YOUR OVERALL BUSINESS GOALS AND MARKETING OBJECTIVES
What are you expecting from this? Having a radio or podcast show is a tactic and like all tactics, it should only be activated to support a clearly stated and well thought out marketing objective with the intention of meeting your business goals, so you can continuously work towards meeting the vision for your brand.
Out of the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind, always stuck with me as one of the most important habits.
So what are you trying to do? Why do you think this radio or podcast show will get you there? If you can clearly define how doing this show is going to be one of the tactics that will help you get to where you want to go in life, then it will be clear to you that this can’t be a 1-month, 3-month or even a 6-month “trial.” You shouldn’t “try” things. You should know where you’re going, what you need to do to get there and then do all those things consistently.
“That’s how winning is done!” – Rocky
This is what you can expect to reap as rewards when you have a radio or podcast show:
- You’re giving yourself a platform to be heard by many. What you do with that opportunity is up to you. Spoken word has more impact than written word, it’s more flexible (I can listen to you on the go) and it’s a higher quality way of communicating (the tone of your voice is 80% of communication).
- When you’re heard by many, you can establish credibility and demonstrate your expertise while expressing your life’s intentions. It’s a short-cut for sales, likeability and an instant credibility generator. You won’t be loved by everyone, but your tribe of followers will eventually find you and adore you. There’s a flavor for everyone!
- You’re creating media content (content is king, right?) and you can repurpose it on your social media, email, website, upload it to Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and the list goes on and on.
Having a radio show or a podcast show is a huge commitment of both time and money. Please don’t go into it thinking you’ll sell enough sponsorships to cover the cost and please don’t take the commitment lightly. You’ll need to put in a lot of consistency to reap the benefits. Lastly, be certain that this radio show or podcast show will inch your closer to your overall goals because it’s too huge of an investment to not be a media vehicle capable of taking you where you want to go.
Picking the correct media communication vehicles to help you accomplish your specific business and marketing objectives is what we do here at Brand NV.
If this article has given you a lot to think about and you want some custom guidance, please call us or Request a Quote. We’ll help you clarify your vision, develop a well-thought-out marketing strategy and assemble (and help you execute) all the tactics that will get you to where you want to go – whether that list includes a radio/podcast show or not.
We can’t wait to show you the difference it makes to align with a long-term minded marketing partner who is fully vested in your success.
Together, let’s Create Brand NV.