You get what you pay for. Even in radio?
Guest Post by Nicole O’Dell
In my last post, I listed some ways you can decide if hosting a radio program is for you. Let me take a moment to define the two types of Internet radio shows that I discovered on MY search. I’m not claiming to be an expert, nor have I attempted to confirm things are still this way. I’m just passing along what I found when I did my digging in 2010, before I launched Teen Talk Radio which is now a division of Choose NOW Radio.
Blog Talk Radio is a free site that lets you record your show and covert it to a podcast which is then available for iTunes. You get a landing page and a url to your stuff. It’s free–and, in my opinion, that’s a LOT of good stuff to get for free. But that’s about where the services end. It’s not a bad deal–but there are drawbacks.
- If you want opening and closing music, a theme song, bump in and bump out tunes, you’re on your own.
- There’s no producer, so you have to manage the calls from and to your own guests and callers while you’re trying to avoid dead air.
- If you were to sell ad space on your show, you’d have to manage its use in the program, I’m not sure how that would work or if it would.
- And there’s no editing of the show before it’s available to the public.
There may be more differences, but I’ll admit that I stopped looking into Blog Talk Radio at that point because I wanted something that would require less of my time but offer a better quality product. Basically, I didn’t want to be a one-man show.
The other type of Internet radio show is one you pay for. I have hosted both of my shows at Toginet.com, and I’ve never regretted my decision–though it might be seen as a costly one. In my opinion, it has paid for itself in several ways. (And this is in NO way an advertisement. LOL)
These are the main benefits from my experience:
- I get landing pages for both shows that are designed by Toginet staff.
- My chosen theme music is edited with a voice-over opening and closing recorded by a professional.
- Bump in and bump out music ends each segment and welcomes back from commercials.
- Commercial space is managed by Toginet–I sell it and provide the commercial to them, and they manage its placement in the show.
- I have access to a back-office with archives, statistics, weekly show promos, etc.
I also have a producer for each show. That person makes sure I know my cues, calls my guests and has them ready for me when I’m ready, fields listeners’ calls, and edits any major problems out of the podcast. (One time there were tornado sirens!) That producer then publishes the show for me, with minor edits if necessary, and gets it up on iTunes. It’s such a relief to not have to do all of that.
Another major difference is that BTR (and other free sites like it) are basically a home for podcasts. As you record it, it airs live, but it’s not connected to an ongoing station or connected to other shows. That’s been a big deal to me as I’ve gotten a ton of opportunity from other hosts, their listeners, and cross-promo commercials.
In the end, though, you have to decide if you’re willing or able to invest the money into a show with a host like Toginet, or if you want to do the podcasts yourself with no help but no overhead. Your decision, obviously.
Nicole O’Dell, founder of Choose NOW Ministries and host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk, is a youth culture expert who writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents on preparing for life’s tough choices. The mother of six, including toddler triplets, she’s author of YA fiction, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the Diamond Estates Series, and non-fiction for teens including Girl Talk, 2/1/12, based on the popular advice column she writes with her two daughters. Hot Buttons, O’Dell’s non-fiction series for parents pre-empts peer pressure by tackling tough issues. Visit her website and blog at www.nicoleodell.com.