Friday, March 11, 2016

Understanding The Latest Internet Craze - 2

This being Part 2 on a rather unique topic, I might suggest that "Understanding The Latest Internet Craze - 1" was written for those who aren't all that familiar with either podcasting or Internet radio.  This entry, on the other hand, is especially directed towards those who are already into running their own online shows. 

Why speak directly to those who should already know all there is to know about digital audio?  It's because, I think, they know more about podcasting than they do the Internet radio side of things.

With that, what I feel the need to emphasize is the way I'd previously distinguished podcasts from online radio.
If you'll recall from that earlier piece, listening to our favorite podcast can be awesome.  If you'll also recall, though, that can be a bit of a hassle, too.
Yes, if there's a problem, a podcast generally stands alone, it plays from beginning to end, and then that's it.  
I'm not talking about quality here, or the fact that some listeners might choose to replay a given episode again, and maybe even again.  Sooner or later, however, that is it, and the listener -- and even the hardcore fan -- has to move on.

Does the listener move on to another episode, or to another site hosted by a different podcaster?  I'm not sure that matters in the context of what I'm going to suggest, but I'll instead state that the amount of time a listen hangs around is probably only once through the recording.
Yet another question that comes to mind has to do with the number of times a podcaster's advertisement will play on the visitor's ears.  Hmmmm...      
Still another question -- and perhaps the one that I want to emphasize here -- has to do with luck.  I mean, a podcaster can promote and promote, but that's a lot of work -- for what?  Oh, I know that being in a number of podcasting search engines is important and helpful.  However, how much help is it really?  In other words, is a podcaster going to be found because of subject matter?  Of course, although that probably means it'll be buried among a kzillion other programs of the same type.  Is a program going to be found because of its name or its host's name?  Sure, but then listeners are probably going to find that program anyway, in any number of ways.

Enter the single themed Internet radio station.  For a start, the station is likely to be listed in all the right search groups.  Far better yet, though, and using my Internet radio station as an example, here's where improved luck comes in...
http://hockeytalkradio.us/I know for a fact that a lot of folks come to Hockey Talk Radio purely because of their interest in my sport.
Almost hourly throughout the daytime hours, I'm promoting one or another educational prodcast, and during the nighttime I'm pushing a different NHL fan based show.  Each of those posts go to about 16,000 contacts in social media -- that's 16-thousand, which means that a lot of hockey folks are ultimately going to recognize the names of the shows I promote.
That's not the half of it, however.  For, the luck I've been getting at goes something like this...  A listener tunes in because he or she knows the show host I just mentioned, or listeners are initially attracted to the station because they're interested in something like skill development, goaltending, nutrition, mental or physical training, or talk about the NHL.
It doesn't matter what attracted them, but it surely does matter the way all the podcasters on my station luck into being heard by folks who initially tuned in to hear someone else.  Actually, a number of folks have told me it works exactly like that. 
Then, one more thing...  I'm a numbers guy, and I see something that others seem to be split over.  What I'm getting at is that one show promoting to maybe a thousand connections is one thing, and it's quite another if I promote our station with close to 20,000 followers, and then about 15 show hosts do the same with their 1,000-ish contacts.

In other words, take your pick... One show promotes by itself to about a thousand connections, or everyone works together to bring something like 30,000 or so followers to one Internet radio station.  To me, it's a no-brainer, that spells the difference between great popularity and working in a virtual closet.

Ya, the things I've outlined above just seems to make sense to me, but I'd surely like to hear from others who run their own Internet radio stations.  As Part 1 should have convinced readers, this whole online radio thing is new, and I suspect it's going to evolve as each of us station producers keep experimenting and learning.  Sharing ideas along the way would surely help further what is right now just the start of an Internet craze.

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Considering that we all live and learn, and considering that we're all human, I'm going to suggest a sports analogy when it comes to a program's involvement with a station.  Or, as I've mentioned sometimes to the shows I work with, there's a need for everyone involved with our station to work as "team players".  I notice that comes naturally to some, and not so to others.

As for the human part, guess what an old hockey coach does as he looks to spread those hourly promos...  It's human nature, I think, that I promote more often those earlier described team players, and often skip over those who tend not to help the other shows.  

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Something most individual podcasters can't do...  As I've been able to pull off over recent weeks, my station's feed can now be placed on any welcoming hockey website in the form of a Hockey Talk Radio player

Actually, both the player down below and the one over in the right sidebar can be clicked so that you can listen to the station in progress.  In any case, the popup window can be moved out of the way or minimized, so that a visitor can move around the site, browse and listen to the station.