Ladies Rule on Girls Rock Radio - Page 5
This brings us to the broken revenue model under which the typical Internet radio station operates. This revenue model is commonly referred to as "listener support." That means we rely upon the generous donations of our listeners to keep the lights on and the music streaming. It's a voluntary donation model. If you like what you're hearing, and believe it is providing value and enriching your life in some way, hopefully you will kick in a few dollars now and then. Or better yet, each month.
Whereas this revenue model seems to work fairly well for some Internet radio stations, it turns out to be a miserable failure for most. In 2011, Girls Rock Radio received a grand total of $260 in listener donations. Girls Rock Radio has no other source of income.
That $260 does not come close to covering the expenses I face here at the station. In fact, it pays less than six months worth of those listener slots I was talking about before. And believe me, we don't have anywhere near the number of slots I used in my example. Add to that the music royalty payments we must make, our Internet service provider fees, website hosting fees, music procurement, and all other expenses directly related to the operation of the station, and you can see the picture looks grim.
But it's even more grim than that. I looked to a couple of other Internet radio stations as an indication of whether the listener supported revenue model actually works. And yes, for some stations, it works so well that they are not only able to cover their expenses, including paying their staff a salary, but are also able to run contests sending a lucky listener and their guest on exotic vacations to places like Costa Rica, Greece, or other fun destinations. Girls Rock Radio is my job, but it has not paid me a salary in six years. It has not come close to covering its own expenses over its entire six year life. And sadly, it is becoming an alarming and desperate situation. If a new revenue model for Internet radio, and Girls Rock Radio in particular, cannot be found, I truly fear for the future of the entire venue.
My original baseline business plan was simple. Get on the air. Build a listener base. Increase capacity to meet increasing demand. Reinvest income into developing the station. Move out of the initial home-office environment and into professional office/studio space. Add staff and talent so that this budding, new media enterprise could develop additional compelling programming, and even launch new "sister" (and "brother") stations with other formats. To that end, I even launched Country Girl Radio, but it has no funding and is not currently streaming to an audience; it's just a concept. Sadly, the money, the lifeblood of any organization, never materialized and Girls Rock Radio has remained stunted. Country Girl Radio hasn't even gotten off the drawing table. Without funding and manpower, the station(s) will not be able to develop further.Continued on the next page