Why ‘less is more’ when it comes to running a hobby radio station

With New Year resolutions already a distant memory for most of us, the routine of running your radio station has probably returned.

Many programme controllers and station managers would have reflected on what they broadcast last year and made decisions about what will change this year to shake things up.

Shows that aren’t attracting audiences, or which may not fit the current direction of the station, will be (ever-so-nicely) dropped from the schedule and attention paid to what might replace them. First and foremost, live, local content – ideally hosted by someone in your town – will fill most of the slots.

And then it comes to the day-to-day running of your station. Most of you will think ‘what more can I do?’

However, I pose a different question: what can you stop doing?

What are you doing now that’s part of the routine that may be near pointless and deliver zero meaningful returns for the time and effort?

Only you will know this, but it seems counter intuitive doesn’t it? We always try to dream up and create more work, when in fact you probably already know what is delivering you the best results, and whatever that is – you need to do more of it. But you don’t have the time.

Well, yes you do. You create time by dropping the things that deliver little in return.

For example, do you create LinkedIn posts when you know Twitter delivers by far the biggest boost in your station’s website traffic? Stop doing LinkedIn and do more on Twitter.

Perhaps you have a token news service on your website that really doesn’t benefit anyone. Unless you can add news of real value that can’t be found anywhere else at least once a day, well… It’s pointless. Stop it. Embrace being a ‘news free’ zone. Don’t clutter up your front page with news that’s weeks old. It’s not a good look.

But if you want to do news and can’t do it every day, consider a ‘weekly news wrap’ page where you highlight key events in your town for that week (one or two paragraphs for each story).

What to do next?

Perhaps create a list of everything you and your team do each week or month and start to strike out anything that’s not paying its way with a return on your time and effort. Stop doing it.

Don’t carry on doing things just because you have always done them. Rationalise, cut, trim, delete, focus, and build on what works.

A case in point, and the basis of this post, is that in 2013 I started hosting a syndicated 80s club music show called The Pleasuredome. Despite not hosting the show since 2018, I kept the website – until last week.

Until then I’d spend an hour or two each week ensuring its WordPress plugins were up to date, fend off the occasional hacking attempt, and add content now again – just because I felt I had to. Traffic to the site was near zero.

Then the bill came to renew the domain and hosting and I thought that now’s the time to let it go. It served little purpose and was a time waster. It was obsolete to my current interests and direction.

Now, it doesn’t mean I won’t knock out the occasion 80s show or dance megamix now and again (some are still listed on Mixcloud), but the site is gone and frankly it’s a weight off my mind.

For me, it’s one less thing to do (and I don’t miss it). I have hours of my life back and saved some money. And those hours will be spent here and on my Just Jazz site.

So, take a good hard look at everything you do to run your station (or any other part of your life) and cut out anything that’s not benefiting you with some kind of return (be it listeners, site hits, or income).

Steve Hart

Steve Hart

Steve Hart is a journalist and editor based in Melbourne.

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