First, what qualifies YOU to host a syndicated radio show? Are you an expert in something? Do friends say you’ve got the ”gift of gab”? Is there a subject you feel passionate about?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you can host a syndicated radio show. There are syndicated radio shows on many diverse topics. There are successful hosts who never hosted a radio show before getting into syndication.
You probably have ideas for your new show. The first thing to do is focus and clarify those ideas. Try to find a unique niche for your show. Be as original as possible. For example, if you want to do a health talk show, decide what might make your show different from other health talk shows.
Play to your strengths and decide if your show should be two-way telephone talk, guest interviews, or something else. Will you have a co-host? Will you script everything, or do a stream-of-consciousness monologue? Will the show be funny, serious, or a little of both? And so on.
Will your show be broadcast daily or weekly? Will your show be a short feature vignette, or a program that’s one-, two-, three-hours long, or longer? Think about your goals in doing the show, and don’t assume you need to do a long show in order to achieve them.
How will you make money from your show? Besides selling commercials within your show, there are other cash streams you will want to explore.
Get On Air
You have to start somewhere, like planting a seed in order to grow something. Your show should be on at least ONE radio station, or ONE high quality Internet site, before you try syndicating it nationally.
Program directors who consider your syndicated show will naturally want to know if it has a track record. So, how do you find that first station or high quality streaming website, and get your show on the air? You have three choices.
First, you can buy time on your first station. There’s probably a local station that will happily sell you a daily or weekly time slot. Prices are usually negotiable.
Another option is to buy time on a radio network that offers satellite distribution. A third option: put your show on a professional, high quality, streaming Internet Radio Network.
For example, TalkZone.com uses a shared-cost, shared-revenue model. This means that hosts share the cost of bandwidth and operations, and they share in the ad revenue. Other Internet networks use a similar business model.
You may even be able to get a station to give you air time. This mission requires a little time and commitment. Since radio is a people business, it helps to know someone. Try working your way in by offering to be a guest at the local station, and do in-studio interviews. Some of the biggest names in radio got started by persistently asking, and this strategy can work for you too.
It’s important to make a good visual first impression with potential affiliates. You want to make sure your marketing material looks professional. So, forget about using generic-looking resume documents. You will do far better having someone skilled in graphic design handle the layout of your marketing sheets. This doesn’t have to be expensive, if you use the right vendors.
You should include a high quality photo of yourself.
Of course, your marketing must include a quality audio demo of your show. In our experience, the best demos are fast-paced, full of energy, and not too long.
Your marketing pages should also contain your bio and details about your show, but be careful not to put too much in there. You don’t want to lose them or confuse them with reams of reading material.
It’s vital to put your demo online, of course. Be sure to create a web site for your show, too!
Market Your Shows to Stations
Marketing’s just another word for promotion, and few syndicated shows succeed without it.
If radio stations have never heard of your show, they may be reluctant to add it. Think about your own purchasing decisions. How often do you choose a product you’ve never heard of? People are much more comfortable buying something that is familiar to them.
What’s the answer? You must find ways to affordably market your show to the radio industry, on an ongoing basis. We believe it’s important to make EVERYONE in the industry aware of your show.
This strategy, used by the most successful syndicators, works for you in two important ways.
First, it pre-sells all radio stations on your show, and makes you and your show familiar to them.
Second, your marketing will provide you with ”warm leads”, interested in learning more about your show.
Somebody once said, ”Nothing happens until you get the word out.” This statement is especially true when it comes to radio syndication. Let people know about it, and your show will grow.
Sign Up Stations
A syndicated show is only as good as its list of affiliates. Affiliate relations is by far the most difficult part of syndication. If you decide to do it on your own, be prepared for a challenge.
If your marketing is effective, stations may be asking to hear your demo. You then follow up by phone or email with these ”warm leads”. Be positive and friendly, but persistent. Ask them to consider your show for their next opening.
You may enjoy the challenge of getting stations to add your show. A few may sign up without a moment’s hesitation. Others will seem to take forever to decide, and just when you’re about to give up on them, they’ll surprise you by signing up. Still others will tell you they have absolutely no interest in your show, or refuse to take your calls.
In Affiliate Relations, rejection is part of the game.
Here are reasons to consider a professional firm for your affiliate relations needs. Program directors might hesitate to be candid with you. They may not feel comfortable wheeling and dealing directly with the host of the show. And, professional syndication companies have proprietary syndication and marketing tools, developed over years.
This gives established companies a significant edge over those who try affiliate relations on their own.
Once your show is underway, you’ll want to keep growing with new projects. Examples might include writing a book, selling digital products, doing webinars and public speaking, TV appearances, hosting in-person seminars, and so on.
If you try affiliate relations by yourself, make it fun. Celebrate every new station you get. Put a graph on the wall and chart your upward progress. As you keep adding stations, your show can grow into a real winner.
Take Care of Business
Once your show is up and running, there are things to do! Commercials need to be sold, clients need to be billed, the show has to be produced and distributed, and you have to get paid. How does it all get done?
The answer is, you systematize it. You want all the important things to happen automatically without lots of time or effort on your part. This gives you the freedom to do a great show and to build more revenue streams!
Smart syndicators will eventually systematize all routine matters of their show.
Your rewards for following this strategy can be remarkable, creating multiple streams of income. And these ventures will in turn help build your syndicated show, through the synergy that results when individual parts add up to a greater whole.
With a nationwide audience of radio listeners, your voice and message can reach millions. Your show will inform, entertain and be a resource to your listeners, while providing you with revenue and a platform to build a wide array of ventures.
We know this formula works, because it is one we personally follow. It’s the same strategy we encourage our clients to follow.
May you achieve much success in the exciting, fun and rewarding world of radio syndication!