Getting Started in Internet Radio

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Lately I have been having more and more conversations with colleagues regarding the speed with which social media and the technology that drives it is coming at us. Within that social bucket we can add creating content in various, creative manners. Going beyond the staple of social media sites we know such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and G+, we can add sites like Pinterest, Listly, Scoopit, as well as many more. Differentiate from that video, and you are pretty much utilizing a well rounded array of content platforms. Right…wrong, your not hitting the internet radio, or podcast target. There is a lot of juice that comes with the podcast, internet radio addition in your Social Media tool kit.

I was lucky enough to have a buddy from back in my real estate days who utilized the internet radio medium if you will. Jason Crouch was doing a show and it intrigued me, so I began asking questions and listening to Jason’s show. Jason continues to do a show today. That was the beginning of my love affair with internet radio. Off I went to put my mark on the internet radio scene…he he.

It’s been a few years now and the show has gone through some changes – shows added, shows halted, and shows put to sleep. The show has been retooled and upgraded over the years and this year I am embarking on yet another solo venture in internet radio. I have been learning, and getting more and more experience, getting my “radio voice” so to speak. It is much the same as achieving your “blogging voice”, you have to go though it, work it, and make the necessary changes to succeed. Unbelievably (at least to me) is that I have built an audience that runs roughly about 3,500 listeners a week. This years goal is to build that audience to 5,000 a week. Hey I know I am not the next big thing in radio, but building that audience and keeping with it, has been very rewarding, as well providing some great opportunity for new connections, and a chance to interact with some great Social Media professionals. So here is where the “meat” of this blog post comes at you. Lets talk about what it takes to get started in this fun and exciting content medium.

Say goodbye to your comfort zone

The thing about radio is you never know what is going to go right, and what is going to go wrong. The proverbial poop is going to hit the fan at some point. You need to be comfortable with flying by the seat of your pants. Some pitfalls that will take you right out of that comfort zone, technical issues, they will happen. Probably the toughest road block to conquer… a guest not showing up. Be prepared for this, it will happen because life happens. Have a backup plan in place for each show. Hopefully you will never have to use it, but don’t count on it.

Platform

There are many platforms that one can utilize when considering a home for your new venture. You can go the “pirate” route, or you can pay a nominal fee or no fee at all for an internet radio site. Personally I use Blogtalkradio.com – the platform offers free and paid choices. I started off with the free version and moved into one of the paid versions. There are issues and I can’t honestly say that I love the site, but I can say that the cost relative to what BlogTalkRadio offers, it is a good deal. They offer a lot of assistance in promoting, and improving your show. The line from Field of Dreams comes to mind – if you build it, they will come. You have to work at it and much like any other social media platform, it takes time, patience, and consist work.

Equipment

Probably the biggest thing you can do to enhance your internet radio experience is to use quality equipment. If you’re like me, you start off simple and upgrade as you go. Currently I use the following pieces of equipment:

Mackie Pro FX12 mixing board; does the job and so much more. Plugs right into my computer via USB and handles more than I need. At some point in the future I am hoping to have guests in the the studio and I will have enough mic inputs when we get there. If you are just doing a radio show you could easily go with a smaller less elaborate mixer, but I have plans for the future.

Mackie MRS8 Powered Monitors:

These babies are great, I can do the show with complete clarity and not have to run things through a power source. They are beefy and can handle live music as well. When I get to where I want to be with this radio experience, I will not have to upgrade my monitors.

Korg Kaoss Pad Synthesizer:

This little tool works great for any kind of effects, it will do just about anything right from the pad. This tool is also not required, but really gives you some awesome options, to offer your listeners some audio bling. It does take a while to learn how to use, but it is worth the effort in the end.

Audio Technica AT 2020:

I went through a number of different mics before settling on this solid performing mic. I use this as my studio mic and keep a Shure PE54D for additional studio guests. I went with the shock mount which keeps things nice and clear, add in a pop screen filter and the audio is crystal clear.

Samson G Track:

This mic is amazing and is perfect in so many applications. This is a powered mic that I use for mobile applications. Pair with a “gig wig” and you pretty much screen out any unwanted wind or noise. This mic really rocks, USB plugs right into the laptop and away I go. All I need is a WiFi connection, my laptop, and the Samson G Track and I’m on the air.

Zoom H2n Recorder/Mic:

Another great tool for doing taped interviews, recording live music etc. The H2 was a great find, and it performs beyond expectations. I pair this as well with a “gig wig.” The gig wig for those wondering is a cover that goes over the mic to keep unwanted noise from the recording or interview. It looks like a wig, hence the name…

Internet radio has really been a fun, challenging adventure. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope to continue to give my audience what they want to hear. Remember, The Social Studmuffin airs Wednesday’s at noon, on blogtalkradio.

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Gerry Michaels
Gerry Michaels (Gettysburg Gerry) is Principal at Glasswork Media Arts, Radio host SteamFeed Radio on Blogtalkradio, VP Marketing Biz Dev at Steamfeed.com, Social Media Columnist for the Gettysburg Times, Social Media strategist and community builder and explorer. I am no different than you, no better/worse. I'm an astronaut exploring this social media space. Fully engulfed in the world that is Social Media, I awake every day anxiously anticipating what the days new technology will bring. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google Plus, Pinterest. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Gerry Michaels

@Gettysburggerry

VP Marketing at SteamFeed Google Glass Explorer,No different than you, no better/worse,an astronaut exploring this social media space.
Navigating Unexpected Controversy or Tragedy in Your Content Marketing Strategy http://t.co/zIdhdLTtlM #steamfeed - 3 hours ago
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