Take time to grow your station

During the past six years I’ve seen lots of digital stations come and go, with some owners running out of steam in a few short months. And I think I know why.

They become disheartened at their listenership numbers.

There’s nothing worse than pouring your heart and soul into a station, then you look at the figures and you sink as you discover less than 10 people tuned in.

You’re shouting but no one is listening.

So you wonder why you are bothering because you had a business plan that showed that by week three you should be ruling the world.

I could tell you that digital broadcasting is a tougher business than broadcasting on FM because no one is going to happen upon your station while searching on their radio.

With digital radio, they first need to know you exist. And once they do, you need to keep in contact with them.

Because we broadcast over the internet, doesn’t it make sense to connect with people over that medium?

Secret source

Email marketing is your secret source, some people call it EDM (electronic digital marketing). In layman’s terms this is an email you send to people who have signed up to receive messages from you.

Your emails can feature local news, promotion of a new presenter/show, a contest they can enter by listening to your station… the sky is the limit – but keep emails short and relevant.

To get this going you need an account with a provider such as MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact etc (most offer a free starter plan), so you can put a sign-up form on your website.

Hopefully, people will sign up to join your list and over time you will build up a database that not only allows you to keep in contact with your listeners, but will be worth money to advertisers (who might pay you for a mention in your email).


I see an email as an extension of the personal relationship presenters and stations have with their listeners.

Building an email database and a business takes time, but you might have to wait at a year or two to build it up.

During this time you need to be true to your vision, keep your output professional, entertaining and relevant to your listeners.

No one said owning a radio station would be easy. But stick at it – and you will get to where you want to be in the end. If you don’t, then it’s not the end.

Oh, never spam people with unsolicited emails, and one email a week to your members is plenty.

Steve Hart

Steve Hart

Steve Hart is a journalist and editor based in Melbourne.

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