How to Start a Sirius XM Radio Station

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Video didn't kill the radio star after all. Online listeners are tuning into podcasts and internet and satellite radio by the millions every day to hear everything from real-life crime drama to politics and sports call-in shows. If you dream of having a show that reaches millions of like-minded fans worldwide, you’ll need fresh, unique programming ideas and a loyal audience that satellite program directors will want to bring to their channels.

Research Your Concept

Give some thought to the type of radio program you’d like to have. Do you want to host an interview show on a favorite topic, play new music from local bands or host a call-in show for area sports fans? Or maybe you are a communications officer who would like to share more information about your company and take questions from local citizens. Hubspot recommends thinking about something you’d love to talk about with in-studio guests and listeners.

Once you’ve settled on a theme or a topic, it’s time to do some research. Find out if there are any other radio programs similar to yours currently airing. If there’s already a popular new music show, think about ways you can make your program different or more unique than programming that's already available. It's also important to make sure your show isn't available at the same time as any of your competition.

Streaming or Podcasting

Before making the move to a large platform like Sirius XM, you should first consider how and where you want to broadcast the first episodes of your new radio show. It doesn’t take a lot of money to start a podcast or even an internet radio station and you can gain the necessary experience and build a significant audience with either option.

Podcasts and radio shows have a lot in common but they differ in some significant ways according to Jacob's Media. Podcasts can be heard anywhere in the world and can be directed toward niche markets with specific interests such as romance novels or woodworking. Radio shows are geared toward larger audiences with broader interests. A radio show airs once and it’s gone, but fans can listen to podcasts weeks, months or even years after its initial airing.

Promote Your Show with Good Marketing

Launching your own program or podcast is a lot of work, but as Lifewire points out, it’s all for nothing if no one is listening. Make sure you get the word out to as many potential listeners as possible. Invest the time, and if necessary the money, to learn the ropes of social media marketing on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Consider offering giveaways of things like T-shirts, pins and keychains to generate interest in you and your show. Don’t forget to include your web address on all your promotional materials both online and offline so everyone will know where to find you.

Create and Shop a Demo

Program directors and radio station executives are always on the lookout for new shows that are fresh, unique and capable of grabbing a listener’s attention. To make sure your program makes the cut and stands out, make your pitch to program directors as professional and as brief as possible. The pros at Lifewire suggest making a five-minute demo created from your podcast or internet radio show. Busy executives don’t have time to listen to anything longer than that and they’ll know from years of experience exactly what they’re looking for.

A demo can be a montage of clips edited together to give listeners a taste of what your program is about. The first 30-45 seconds of your demo is the most important so make it count with compelling, attention-grabbing material. Try to find audio samples that will show off your talent and what it is that makes your program unique. Include a cover letter no longer than a single page that gives program directors all the information they need to make a decision: your name, email address, website information and a brief pitch for your show. Include demographic and other listener information if you have it available.

Make the Jump to Satellite

When you have your demo put together and you think it would work well on a specific Sirius channel, Sirius says you can email the channel's program director with a brief summary of your show. Most channels have contact information on their internet homepages. If you’re not sure where the program would be the best fit, you can send a general email with a brief pitch to the program director. Keep in mind that program directors are bombarded with pitches year round so don’t expect to hear back immediately.

References

About the Author

Frances is a business writer with over 15 years experience writing about media, technology, retail and related issues for a variety of national and international publications including The New York Times, The Week, USA Today, The Independent, and Lonely Planet News. Follow her on Twitter at @francesk