Instant Radio Station https://instantradiostation.com BROADCAST FROM $10 A MONTH Fri, 10 Jan 2020 09:40:43 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://instantradiostation.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IRS-250px-web-150x150.png Instant Radio Station https://instantradiostation.com 32 32 The Stream is a podcast for radio station owners, their website managers, talent and techies. Each episode offers ideas and help aimed at not-for-profit, hobby and community stations using AM, FM and the Internet to broadcast their choice of music, news and features. Instant Radio Station clean episodic Instant Radio Station stevo@stevehart.co.nz stevo@stevehart.co.nz (Instant Radio Station) Steve Hart Help, tips and tricks for low power, hobby and digital radio station owners and presenters Instant Radio Station https://instantradiostation.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg https://instantradiostation.com/the-stream/ TV-G Is it time to be more focused? https://instantradiostation.com/is-it-time-to-set-some-boundaries/ https://instantradiostation.com/is-it-time-to-set-some-boundaries/#respond Mon, 13 Jan 2020 11:00:57 +0000 https://instantradiostation.com/?p=1437 Any limitations broadcasters had are long gone. During the past 20 years online radio has gone mainstream; but what lessons can we learn from the commercial FM stations? One thing I keep coming back to is that FM stations – due to their restricted broadcast range – have a defined area in which to market […]

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Coming Soon
Should online broadcasters focus on their local area?
Should online broadcasters focus on their local area?
Should online broadcasters focus on their local area?

Any limitations broadcasters had are long gone.

During the past 20 years online radio has gone mainstream; but what lessons can we learn from the commercial FM stations?

One thing I keep coming back to is that FM stations – due to their restricted broadcast range – have a defined area in which to market their station.

They serve the community of people in that area – normally seen as a circle on a map in the sales office. And that led to focused engagement with local businesses and traders for advertising.

Staff could go visit local business owners and tell them about their local station.

Set boundary

Most FM stations work within a geographical boundary; something that online broadcasters don’t often worry about because they can be heard around the world.

And there’s two things I’d say about that.

  1. Should you GeoBlock your station so it broadcasts just within your country?
  2. Should you draw a circle on a map and define your station’s geographical boundaries and forget about the rest of the world?

Are you going to spread your energy across the planet? Or focus it on the people and businesses where you broadcast from?

While some news services can argue that their broadcasts need to go around the world; if you are a music-based station then why not draw that circle and stake your claim? Concentrate your energy on the people close to home who can really support your station and spread the word.

I believe it is food for thought; but I’m also interested in your thoughts too. So reply and let me know – global or local?

Take part in our poll.

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Embrace the freedom of internet radio and give listeners something to talk about https://instantradiostation.com/embrace-the-freedom-of-internet-radio/ https://instantradiostation.com/embrace-the-freedom-of-internet-radio/#respond Tue, 07 Jan 2020 00:28:20 +0000 https://instantradiostation.com/?p=1397 One of the biggest threats to radio today are music streaming services. The second threat to radio in all its forms are boring DJs who think a link consists of “that was and this is”. And sometimes lazy links such as these aren’t always the presenter’s fault because they are under pressure by their bosses […]

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One of the biggest threats to radio today are music streaming services. The second threat to radio in all its forms are boring DJs who think a link consists of “that was and this is”.

And sometimes lazy links such as these aren’t always the presenter’s fault because they are under pressure by their bosses to move from one song to the next ASAP for fear the listener will flick to another station. Then there is the commercial crunch to get those ads played out too.

However, I believe listeners want more. If they are to give you their time they want to hear something of value. And that value will be great music, news, commentary, opinion or some insight that will make them think. Something that resonates with them – a water cooler moment in the making.

It could be news about a performance artist, film, TV show, politics, a book, world affairs – whatever fits your station or the show. It doesn’t have to be deep, lengthy, or disturbing, but it does have to be interesting and entertaining.

Entertain

Radio is supposed to entertain and inform (in fact its first job was to inform via Morse code). To do it well stations need entertaining and informed presenters. Not all presenters can be entertaining; but anyone can inform themselves and share it.

For example, one presenter on a forum was to interview an author and asked if they should read the author’s new book ahead of the interview – well, it is no good reading it afterward. It is good practice to spend at least a few hours researching an interviewee. That way you can ask informed questions. It shows respect to them and your listeners.

Dare to be different

Presenters are expected to, and need to, engage the audience – to give them a reason to listen and keep listening.

Your audience want to hear good music. Sure. But not all the same music that everyone else plays. They also want to know the person they are listening to puts them – the loyal listener – first.

What will win are broadcasters that can offer their listeners real value. Good music played by people who can also engage their listeners. Station managers need to take chances and let their presenters takes risks.

Internet radio broadcasters have this freedom because by and large they are not looking over their shoulder at some corporate sponsor waiting to pull the rug from under them.

Embrace that freedom for as long as you have it and give your audience something to talk about.

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Why the Rodecaster Pro podcast mixer might suit broadcasters https://instantradiostation.com/why-the-rodecaster-pro-podcast-mixer-might-suit-broadcasters/ https://instantradiostation.com/why-the-rodecaster-pro-podcast-mixer-might-suit-broadcasters/#respond Sat, 28 Sep 2019 03:53:37 +0000 https://instantradiostation.com/?p=1284 The Rodecaster Pro seems a fine mixer for podcasters. I haven’t used it; but have watched the video reviews and been in contact with Rode about its specs. Having done my research; would I buy one? Not right away. My current set-up works well and there’s not much the Rodecaster offers that my gear doesn’t […]

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The Rodecaster Pro seems a fine mixer for podcasters. I haven’t used it; but have watched the video reviews and been in contact with Rode about its specs.

Having done my research; would I buy one? Not right away. My current set-up works well and there’s not much the Rodecaster offers that my gear doesn’t already do perfectly nicely. So long as I don’t need to take it anywhere.

However, there is one thing my mixer doesn’t do. And that is cutting audio to my monitor speakers when I open the mic after playing music for example. When the Rodecaster was first released it didn’t do that either; but the chaps at Rode tell me that version 2.0 of the mixer’s firmware (a free update to owners) provides this functionality. Super.

The fact that the Rodecaster will cut audio to monitor speakers means it is just a hair away from being a fine mixing desk for budget broadcasters. I wrote to Rode saying that if they can figure a way to switch on-air lights on and off then they will wipe the floor with hobby broadcasters, including the lucrative community radio set.

The USB – or one of the 3 headphone outs for guests – can be used as an output to a computer or transmitter. But do your own checks before buying. There is a dedicated headphone output for the show host which allows them to pre-listen to any channel.

One thing I don’t like about the Rodecaster Pro though is the coloured pads used to fire jingles and such like.

It’s like an old-style cart / jingle machine except you don’t know for sure what you’ll get when you press the buttons – unless you have a brilliant memory. Those coloured buttons can be used to playback any recordings you assign to them via your computer.

If you set it up and use it then you will know what’s what. But for a guest host, or use in a studio where different presenters come in to host shows, then the buttons will be near useless. Smaller buttons and a place to indicate what each one will fire would be great.

Then we come to the decision to use a Micro SD card instead of the full sized alternative. The card is used to record the mixer’s output – making this a neat self-contained unit. But most of us have larger SD card knocking around; harder to accidentally damage and lose. I find Micro cards a bit fiddly.

The Rodecaster Pro is in essence a seven channel mixer. Four mics, USB input; mini-jack input and bluetooth input. The eighth fader is locked to the pad player.

Apart from the Bluetooth option to connect the mixer to anything Bluetooth (such as a phone); the phone connecting option is almost a gimmick as the mini jack socket at the back can be used for any line input.

Although not so fast; because this unit does include technology that prevents the phone caller hearing themselves when they speak. So in that respect it is just like the technology talk radio stations use. No dump button though which would provide a slight delay to give show hosts in live broadcast situations a chance to prevent obscenities going to air (but for the price that would be too much to ask).

There are 4 XLR mic channels with pre-amps and software audio processing for each channel altered via the menu on the touchscreen.

The show host can also listen to any and all channels off-air; just like a broadcast console, using buttons below each audio fader.

There are four headphone channels with individual volume controls meaning guests can have the volume of the main output to their liking.

Because I am pretty happy with my gear at the moment I won’t be rushing out to spend US$599 (NZ$1100) on the Rodecaster Pro. But if some cash were to fall into my pocket from some unexpected source then I’d have a Rodecaster Pro delivered tomorrow.

And the main reason for this is that the unit is so portable. It means that should I need to visit a client’s premises to record a podcast show I can take a fully-functioning mixer with built-in compression, audio enhancements, and recording. Right now I use mics and a digital recorder. All fine; but this does cause some post production work.

No doubt Rode is hard at work developing this mixer and I wouldn’t be surprised if one for budget broadcasters was in the works somewhere (Rode would be silly to miss that market).

Having said that; even the current mixer aimed at podcasters will serve any budget radio station very well indeed. So long as you can insert a limiter into the audio chain somewhere.

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Why you need original station ID jingles https://instantradiostation.com/why-you-need-original-station-id-jingles/ https://instantradiostation.com/why-you-need-original-station-id-jingles/#respond Thu, 08 Aug 2019 23:30:00 +0000 https://instantradiostation.com/?p=1257 As many of you may know, I am a person of a certain age. And way back when if I wanted a jingle I had to pay a firm lots and lots of money and then – after a few weeks/months – would send me a jingle on a reel of tape. Thankfully those days […]

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As many of you may know, I am a person of a certain age. And way back when if I wanted a jingle I had to pay a firm lots and lots of money and then – after a few weeks/months – would send me a jingle on a reel of tape.

Thankfully those days are behind us. But for online stations on a budget (or no budget whatsoever) where can you get some decent jingles? There are a few places giving away such things – but only a few (which is part of the problem).

And because I listen to a lot of online radio I hear those same jingles all over the place. And I know exactly where they came from. You probably do too.

Station ID Jingles are important, because after the voice of the DJ ‘we’ are all more or less playing the same music. It’s the jingles that help identify and separate one station from another.

So why are so many stations not making the effort to give themselves their own identity? Why, after having invested so much time and money into a new station do owners then search for ‘free jingles’ and use the same stuff as lots of other broadcasters?

Fully sung jingles are really for the big boys, and in fact even they aren’t using them as much as they used to. Truth is, station ID jingles are far more simpler than they once were.

Today the ID jingle is often just a voice saying the station name and frequency / website. You can do this. One of your friends can do this. And with a whizzbang imaging library you can produce something original and unique to you and your station.

If you choose to use a piece of music for your jingle, use it everywhere so it becomes synonymous with your station.

So imagine jingles in an accent that will resonate and be familiar to your (local) listeners. Imagine that! Be original.

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Social media key to your success with streaming radio https://instantradiostation.com/social-media-key-to-your-success-with-streaming-radio/ https://instantradiostation.com/social-media-key-to-your-success-with-streaming-radio/#respond Sat, 03 Aug 2019 23:29:03 +0000 https://instantradiostation.com/?p=1249 There’s little doubt that starting an online broadcast service has a low bar to entry. In rough figures all you need is money for music licenses, pocket change for a streaming service account, and using something such as Centova you can automate the layout of music, jingles and pre-recorded shows. You can manage it from […]

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There’s little doubt that starting an online broadcast service has a low bar to entry.

In rough figures all you need is money for music licenses, pocket change for a streaming service account, and using something such as Centova you can automate the layout of music, jingles and pre-recorded shows. You can manage it from a laptop.

Fact is, you could be broadcasting your selection of stuff within an hour of reading this post. Then the real work begins.

Had I written this post 30 years ago your chances of broadcasting anything (legally) would be near impossible unless you had millions of dollars/pounds to spend on government licenses, premises, staff and hardware.

The upside of having a radio transmitter is that – marketing activities aside – people would happen upon your broadcasts while searching for something to listen to on their radios.

People don’t do too much of that using their smartphone when it comes to streaming broadcasts.

For example, this morning I fancied listening to some 80s music. I launched TuneIn, typed in ’80s’ an 80s station popped up and I pressed play.

I didn’t much care who it was or what they were playing – just so long as within 2 seconds of me pressing play that music emerged from my speakers. I did notice though that it had 4,500 likes on TuneIn.

But that was the total sum of my search. The station didn’t have to be local to where I live, nor even in the same country.

So while starting an online station is easy; the barrier to success is marketing. Not only that; it requires constant and ongoing marketing. It means the success of your station is as much to do with marketing and publicity as it is with the content you broadcast.

We have all seen some very good stations close down as the listeners numbers didn’t make it worth while – owners ran out of steam. And low numbers (often less than 10 people listening at any given moment) means advertisers aren’t interested. No listener = no income.

I understand now that the perfect team for any online broadcaster must include people who absolutely know how to use all social media channels to successfully promote their station.

People who know how to use social media when it comes to paid-for advertising. Listener engagement has to be high, and remain active, to build a strong listener base.

As I have written before; I believe the key to building a successful (success = high listener numbers) is to keep the station focused on your local area.

Do this and your marketing spend can be focused to your geographical location. And to do this you have to have a picture in your mind of who your listeners are. Their age range, education, income, interests and location.

So before you rush to launch your station, work out who your listeners will be, where they are, and have a good marketing budget to target them week after week; month after month.

You will be broadcasting online, so that’s where the vast majority of your listeners will find you. They need to be told to search you out.

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Radio with pictures – the next step? https://instantradiostation.com/radio-with-pictures-the-next-step/ https://instantradiostation.com/radio-with-pictures-the-next-step/#respond Tue, 28 May 2019 21:37:31 +0000 https://instantradiostation.com/?p=1234 It seems some internet broadcasters have discovered video and are keen to stream their DJs hosting shows live across YouTube, FaceBook and Twitch.com among others. A friend who’s recently started live streaming his radio show in sound and vision tells me the interaction with viewers makes it worthwhile, as they post comments about the show […]

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It seems some internet broadcasters have discovered video and are keen to stream their DJs hosting shows live across YouTube, FaceBook and Twitch.com among others.

A friend who’s recently started live streaming his radio show in sound and vision tells me the interaction with viewers makes it worthwhile, as they post comments about the show while he is on the air and share his broadcast with their social media buddies.

Last week more than 1000 people watched him broadcast live – but the stats do not currently show how long each person watched before clicking away. Maybe they watched for 5 minutes; maybe they enjoyed the entire confection. Who knows?

Blue, blue, electric blue

I suggested to him that watching a person in a studio sitting at their desk might not be the ultimate optical experience when it comes to visual entertainment; and that given he’s cracked the technology to broadcast television he might want to start playing MP4s (music videos) instead of MP3s.

That way, I surmised, people would have something interesting to watch. But then of course we are then into MTV territory and is that radio? No, I don’t think it is. Or are we about to see a renaissance of the video DJ of the 1980s, but this time online instead of at the local pub?

Radio to me is audio only and when it’s on at home or in my car it does not require my conscious attention. I do not have to watch a screen of any kind (we all do too much of that as it is) to enjoy music and chat.

Silenced by social media

However, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for my friend who is really keen to push the video concept as far as he can.

Facebook, which appears fine with allowing people to live stream suicides and murderous shoot-ups has blocked my friend from broadcasting music. YouTube, the home of porn and anything-goes live streaming, has also prevented music being broadcast from his studio.

Broadcast something offensive and the guys at FaceBook cry freedom of speech as a defense. Deny a record company 0.14c in royalties per song and the sky falls in. And yes, of course royalty payments need to be paid; but there has to be a better way than blanket bans for those who want to use social media in this way and who already have licenses to play music.

Right now my friend is in discussion with all concerned, rights holders to social media platforms, to try and navigate a way through so he can be heard and seen doing his soul show.

DJ Rod Lucas

The good news for my friend is that DJ Rod Lucas in London has managed to place his 3-hour smooth jazz shows on YouTube for the world to enjoy without them being silenced or taken down.

Like my friend, Rod plays some great music, and even though Rod has numerous cameras flicking around his awesome studio to keep us visually entertained, even I tire of watching a man sitting down pressing buttons. So I’ll launch a new browser for Rod’s YouTube transmissions and listen without watching.

Talk radio

However, just as I was finishing this little post I clicked through to watch video of the LBC radio studio in London on YouTube – I wanted to hear a bit more about the Euro elections.

It was basically a TV interview. People were talking, there were phone callers and it kept my attention. I kept watching because I wanted to see the expressions and body language as a politician answered questions – live in the studio.

I watched and listened because there was something to look at – it really was radio with pictures.

But watching someone pass the time while music plays…I am afraid it doesn’t do it for me.

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https://instantradiostation.com/radio-with-pictures-the-next-step/feed/ 0 It seems some internet broadcasters have discovered video and are keen to stream their DJs hosting shows live across YouTube, FaceBook and Twitch.com among others. A friend who’s recently started live streaming his radio show in sound and vision tells ...
It seems some internet broadcasters
have discovered video and are keen to stream their DJs hosting shows
live across YouTube, FaceBook and Twitch.com among others.



A friend who’s recently started live streaming his radio show in sound and vision tells me the interaction with viewers makes it worthwhile, as they post comments about the show while he is on the air and share his broadcast with their social media buddies.



Last week more than 1000 people watched him broadcast live – but the stats do not currently show how long each person watched before clicking away. Maybe they watched for 5 minutes; maybe they enjoyed the entire confection. Who knows?



Blue, blue, electric blue



I suggested to him that watching a person in a studio sitting at their desk might not be the ultimate optical experience when it comes to visual entertainment; and that given he’s cracked the technology to broadcast television he might want to start playing MP4s (music videos) instead of MP3s.



That way, I surmised, people would have something interesting to watch. But then of course we are then into MTV territory and is that radio? No, I don’t think it is. Or are we about to see a renaissance of the video DJ of the 1980s, but this time online instead of at the local pub?



Radio to me is audio only and when it’s on at home or in my car it does not require my conscious attention. I do not have to watch a screen of any kind (we all do too much of that as it is) to enjoy music and chat.



Silenced by social media



However, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for my friend who is really keen to push the video concept as far as he can.



Facebook, which appears fine with allowing people to live stream suicides and murderous shoot-ups has blocked my friend from broadcasting music. YouTube, the home of porn and anything-goes live streaming, has also prevented music being broadcast from his studio.



Broadcast something offensive and the guys at FaceBook cry freedom of speech as a defense. Deny a record company 0.14c in royalties per song and the sky falls in. And yes, of course royalty payments need to be paid; but there has to be a be...]]>
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Great DJs make great stations https://instantradiostation.com/great-djs-make-great-stations/ https://instantradiostation.com/great-djs-make-great-stations/#respond Fri, 19 Apr 2019 00:03:26 +0000 https://instantradiostation.com/?p=1219 A few weeks back I wrote that having entertaining DJs has got to be the point of difference that makes a station great. So it’s interesting to read the Jacobs Media survey results that show why people listen to FM/AM radio. Top of the list is because it’s easy to listen to radio in the […]

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A few weeks back I wrote that having entertaining DJs has got to be the point of difference that makes a station great.

So it’s interesting to read the Jacobs Media survey results that show why people listen to FM/AM radio.

Top of the list is because it’s easy to listen to radio in the car, second is because it is free – but third (59% of those who responded to the survey) is because of the DJ, hosts and shows.

Good radio presenters add value to their station beyond the music they play.

Also interesting is the rise in people listening to digital radio broadcasts and podcasts via smartphone, smart speaker and computer.  The figure is up from 14% in 2013 to 31% in February 2019. Using a wireless radio is down from 85% in 2013 to 65% now.

WiFi is the broadcasting medium of the future; not AM or FM.

Podcasts

Of those surveyed more than 20% listen to podcasts weekly or more frequently.  Four in 10 weekly podcast listeners say they are listening to more podcasts today than a year ago. And two-thirds of weekly podcast listeners return to finish a podcast they couldn’t complete the first time.

It should be no surprise that most people (77%)  use a smartphone to listen to podcasts. Computer 40%, tablet, 24%, in car, 22%; and smart speaker 9%.

Interestingly, 40% discover new podcasts thanks to recommendations from friends, family and work colleagues. Recommendations via social media sits at 38%, and 40% of people discover a podcast by browsing iTunes, Stitcher, etc.

Social media

For broadcasters and podcasters wanting to promote their content, YouTube and Instagram are up, Facebook and Linkedin are down.  

In 2018 79% of people discovered content on Facebook, this year it dropped to 76%. During the same period; Linkedin dropped from 11% to 10%, and Snapchat was down from 37% to 30%.

The ages of those who took part in the survey were: 18-24, 2%; 25-34, 8%; 35-44, 15%; 45-54, 29%; 55-64, 32% and 65+, 15%.

Survey interviews were carried out by Jacobs Media between January 3 and February 3, 2019.

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Top 5 films about radio https://instantradiostation.com/top-5-films-about-radio/ https://instantradiostation.com/top-5-films-about-radio/#respond Sun, 07 Apr 2019 05:29:21 +0000 https://instantradiostation.com/?p=1167 It goes without saying that I like everything about radio, even movies that feature radio stations. The first movie I watched about radio must have been FM (pretty sure I left the cinema disappointed). Then came Good Morning Vietnam… I thought it a good idea to pull together my Top 5 radio-based movies and give […]

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It goes without saying that I like everything about radio, even movies that feature radio stations.

The first movie I watched about radio must have been FM (pretty sure I left the cinema disappointed). Then came Good Morning Vietnam…

I thought it a good idea to pull together my Top 5 radio-based movies and give each one a rating…

5) FM

Released in 1978 the film FM is about fictional Los Angeles station Q-Sky and the battle between the station’s DJs and the suits who want more commercials and less music (sound familiar?).

We see a variety of cliché DJs who each have their personal problems and get an insight into the pressure the station manager – played by Michael Brandon – faces as he has to pick a side; the suits or his DJs (and their loyal listeners).

Tension between the on-air talent and the management comes to a head when the DJs lock themselves in the station – locking management out. A police raid follows. All up, the climax is a bit like what really happened at New York station WBAI (see below).

The plot of FM is paper thin, the film isn’t based in the reality of any station I know, and it is unbelievable in parts. Most parts.

4) Good Morning Vietnam

And it’s back to 1965 we go as we join DJ Adrian Cronauer on American Forces Radio during the Vietnam Conflict.

It’s a wild ride as Adrian takes on the army to play rock’n’roll and say what he likes over the air; revealing a bit of classified information to listeners along the way.

His DJ style is worlds away from what the other presenters’ dull messages and classical music.

Listeners love Cronauer; he boosts morale, draws a huge following among the troops, and ends up being too popular for his own good.

Great music, Williams’ ad-lib performance is star quality, and while dark in places, Good Morning Vietnam, released in 1987, is a good film on many levels.

Interestingly, the real life Cronauer says he was never as funny as actor Robin Williams makes him out to be in the film.

3) Radio Anemeable

Radio host Bob Fass is probably unknown to most people living outside New York. But in the 60s he turned radio on its head – opening up the airways to listeners and musicians like no other radio host before him.

In this compelling documentary we learn that Bob was an actor who convinced the WBAI’s management to let him do a show from midnight – when the station would normally shut down for the day.

His show tapped into a community of insomniacs and night workers who had something to say. He got a friend to hook up the phone to the broadcast desk and let the conversations and show find its own path every night. Bob Fass became an institution.

The documentary covers the anti-war movement, the emerging hippy culture, how Bob single-handedly changed radio, and much more.

However, it all came tumbling down when new management started interfering with the station’s schedule. Conflict came to a head when Bob and his supporters locked the management out of the station.

The station was off the air for weeks while issues were resolved. However, Bob paid a high price for taking a stand.

More here

2) Corporate FM

The internet didn’t kill radio, commercial radio is being killed from the inside. When DJs are told to shut up and stick to the playlist, it ends an age-old symbiotic relationship between radio and the community.

Corporate FM uncovers the high finance shell-game that stole control of radio from communities across America. The film also reveals how radio may become local again.

1) Talk Radio

Released in 1988, Oliver Stone’s Talk Radio was 20 years ahead of its time. The film follows polarizing talk show host Barry Champlain, a shop assistant with a big mouth and an opinion about everything.

He gets his big break when playing second fiddle to a daytime lightweight talk show host and ends up with his own late night phone-in show on a Dallas, Texas, station.

We join Barry as he learns his show is to be broadcast across the US network and as success is within sight, he loses his grip. He calls on his ex-wife to steady him as he prepares to transition from local talk show host to national radio personality.

Very well made, tense, funny, and terrifying.

Honourable mentions

Broadcast Blues. Almost a sister movie to Corporate FM. In Broadcast Blues documentary-maker Sue Wilson makes the point that in the US the airwaves belong to the people – not the corporations. She is campaigning to take the airwaves back.

The Boat That Rocked. A light-hearted look at off-shore pirate radio in the UK during the 1960s – featuring some studio gear that wasn’t available until the 70s (just saying). Colourful and fun with great music. Discover how the UK’s Labour government voted to change the law to make pirate radio illegal.

American Graffiti. Iconic DJ Wolfman Jack provides the audio backdrop to this coming-of-age movie – one night in the lives of a group of teenagers in 1962.

Late entry

Pump Up The Volume with Christian Slater is a raw and witty celebration of free speech that will make you laugh, make you cheer, and make you think. Christian Slater says this is the film he is most proud of.

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Time to turn back the clock on music radio https://instantradiostation.com/time-to-turn-back-the-clock-on-music-radio/ https://instantradiostation.com/time-to-turn-back-the-clock-on-music-radio/#respond Mon, 25 Mar 2019 09:30:34 +0000 https://instantradiostation.com/?p=1137 Do we need to think differently about music radio? To take a quantum leap backwards to move radio forward? Once upon a time, up until the late 1980s (yeah I  know – ancient history for some of you) DJs on the radio had space to let their personality shine through. DJ’s were hired because they […]

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Do we need to think differently about music radio? To take a quantum leap backwards to move radio forward?

Once upon a time, up until the late 1980s (yeah I  know – ancient history for some of you) DJs on the radio had space to let their personality shine through. DJ’s were hired because they were good on-air personalities (they were not hired to be human Jukeboxes).

We had DJs who were whacky, sarcastic, some featured humorous sketches, made their own jingles, and did things that really were entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny. They pushed boundaries and played their own choice of music. They were given the time and resources to prepare great radio shows.

Then someone in advertising/marketing/accounts decided these people were getting in the way of the music. So the idiots in charge started to curtail what their presenters could say and for how long they could speak between the music.

The fear at the time, I guess, was that people turned on their radio to listen to music and the DJs – as entertaining as they were – were getting in the way. Well; that was 30-odd years ago. People just wanting to hear music today have plenty of online options. You don’t need radio if you just want to hear music.

The great Wolfman Jack (have you seen American Graffiti?).
The one and only Wolfman Jack.

Subscribers to services such as Spotify get the music they want – and nothing else. No news, no gossip, no laughs, no local traffic reports, or weather (yes, I know there’s an app for that).

Personality DJs were pushed out to be replaced by people who’d happily play their boss’s choice of music and do and say what they were told. It was a sea-change in broadcast radio that saw many fine DJs left on the scrap heap.

The late great Kenny Everett (BBC Radio 1 and Capital Radio London).
Just a taste of what wild Ken would get up to… Making his own jingles at home.

Once you admit that a radio station has little chance of differentiating itself with the music it plays then there is only one thing left – the DJ.

Anyone can play music. Not everyone is a great entertainer, has a great personality, or can get creative.

But if change is to come – to turn the clock back a bit – it has to be a top down change; station managers have to first understand that their listeners have changed; and a whole new audience has grown up without relying on radio for their music fix.

The BBC’s Steve Wright in the afternoon.

Successful stations of the future will need to be known for more than just playing music because the competition is fierce if someone just wants to hear music.

Will the personality DJ, who can become so powerful they can hold their station to ransom, be allowed back on the air? I hope so.

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https://instantradiostation.com/time-to-turn-back-the-clock-on-music-radio/feed/ 0 Do we need to think differently about music radio? To take a quantum leap backwards to move radio forward? Once upon a time, up until the late 1980s (yeah I  know – ancient history for some of you) DJs on the radio had space to let their personality sh...
Do we need to think differently about music radio? To take a quantum leap backwards to move radio forward?



Once upon a time, up until the late 1980s (yeah I  know – ancient history for some of you) DJs on the radio had space to let their personality shine through. DJ’s were hired because they were good on-air personalities (they were not hired to be human Jukeboxes).



We had DJs who were whacky, sarcastic, some featured humorous sketches, made their own jingles, and did things that really were entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny. They pushed boundaries and played their own choice of music. They were given the time and resources to prepare great radio shows.



Then someone in advertising/marketing/accounts decided these people were getting in the way of the music. So the idiots in charge started to curtail what their presenters could say and for how long they could speak between the music.



The fear at the time, I guess, was that people turned on their radio to listen to music and the DJs – as entertaining as they were – were getting in the way. Well; that was 30-odd years ago. People just wanting to hear music today have plenty of online options. You don’t need radio if you just want to hear music.



The great Wolfman Jack (have you seen American Graffiti?).



The one and only Wolfman Jack.



Subscribers to services such as Spotify get the music they want – and nothing else. No news, no gossip, no laughs, no local traffic reports, or weather (yes, I know there’s an app for that).



Personality DJs were pushed out to be replaced by people who’d happily play their boss’s choice of music and do and say what they were told. It was a sea-change in broadcast radio that saw many fine DJs left on the scrap heap.



The late great Kenny Everett (BBC Radio 1 and Capital Radio London).



Just a taste of what wild Ken would get up to… Making his own jingles at home.



Once you admit that a radio station has little chance of differentiating itself with the music it plays then there is only one thing left – the DJ.
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Should you specialize or be everything to everyone? https://instantradiostation.com/should-you-specialize-or-be-everything-to-everyone/ https://instantradiostation.com/should-you-specialize-or-be-everything-to-everyone/#respond Wed, 31 Oct 2018 14:00:51 +0000 https://instantradiostation.com/?p=1075 While it's fine to be a generalist, and a consummate broadcaster, you may need the edge of having specialized in some genre or another.

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So you want to start a syndicated radio show, or approach your local station as the next big thing, and you know the top 40 inside out. Perfect!

Trouble is, everyone else worth their salt also knows the week’s best sellers, know what’s about to chart, and can recite who’s who and what’s where off the top of their head. What makes you so special?

And there you have it. Setting yourself apart from everyone else can be a game changer, and that comes down to your personality – your real personality that is – and the experiences you have had that makes you who you are.

While it’s fine to be a generalist, and a consummate broadcaster, you may need the edge of having specialized in some genre or another.

Years ago I was chatting to fellow broadcaster who worked for another station. He was older than me and I was a keen up-and-coming DJ. I asked him why he was playing crap on the radio.

“It’s what I’m told to play and I have to take a professional attitude on that.”

A professional attitude… Mmmm.

So he wasn’t exactly having a great time playing music he didn’t particularly like listening too. Still, he was on the radio, raising his profile, and earning cash.

Genre

Then take the story of broadcaster John Myres*, he played country music just to get a foot in the door of his local station even though he had no love for the genre. He even won a country music award for broadcasters that he didn’t collect – because it was laughable that someone who had no passion for country music should win an award for broadcasting the stuff.

As for me; I got my first break in the 80s by agreeing to host a show about Motown music. This meant playing Stevie Wonder, The Commodores, or something from the 60s! Still, I embraced the genre and made the show my own.

Becoming a specialist for a certain genre can get you in the door – even if you are a volunteer.

The great thing is that today there are more genres than ever before. There are more music charts than every before. Every genre has a chart.

Speciliaze

So if you are looking for a way in, want to set yourself apart from everyone else, then consider digging deep and mastering one genre for your big step in to a radio station.

There are so many people playing the same stuff as everyone else that station owners and programmers should welcome someone pitching something fresh and specialist.

*Worth reading: Team, It’s Only Radio by John Myres (Morgan in the Morning).

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