A 21 day plan for creating your own Internet radio or TV show

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Wake up everybody. The age of plentiful bandwidth is here. This means a streaming radio show can sound like the host is sitting right next to you. Last summer I blogged about my learning from producing a couple of online radio shows.  I created this post as a follow roadmap to help you create your own show.

My guess is that this is a new venture so I am a big advocate of testing new media programs in no-cost or low cost ways to prove the concept before “going big”. So how can we get from idea to fresh online radio show in an agile way? Here is my road map I used twice last summer and am currently employing as I produce a new show here at Novell.

Strategy:

  • Write a short creative brief – This should be no more than 3 pages. Remember that the show is the product not the document.

  • Sell the idea to the most important stakeholders – You need buy-in but don’t try to sell everyone. The first show (ie “the pilot”) will be your best tool for convincing people to do more.

  • Find an executive sponsor – This person can advise the team and protect the idea from the corporate T-cell types that challenge anything new or different. Your sponsor could also be a possibly be one of your first guests.

Operational details

  • Decide on a format – Will it be a panel? Will it be a one-on-one interview? Or a combination?

  • Pick dates for your first three shows – Without a first show date, all you have is an idea. This creates a sense of urgency and catalyzes the team.

  • Decide on frequency – My bias is towards weekly. Unless you have enough content, more than once a week is tough. On the other hand, less than once a week doesn’t give you the chance to develop a rhythm.

  • Identify potential guests for your first three shows – The first shows won’t be perfect so you don’t need to call in all your markers to get  superstar guests. Save that for when you have worked out the kinks.

  • Get all your technology straightened out. You don’t need much equipment these days to do radio but you do need someone who can plug it in and make sure it works seamlessly. TV/video has even more moving parts so plan accordingly.

  • Figure out the streaming/hosting – Where will the show reside? There are a number of Internet radio stations to consider. You can also buy some bandwidth from a CDN and stay independent.

Content

  • Find a strong host – I find this the most challenging part. Many people think they can do this themselves but in reality this is a specialized skillset. While I have a hairline for radio and charming demeanor, I know that make a better guest than host. Try to find someone who is a good interviewer and can control the conversation. This can be a difference maker.

  • Pick a working title and theme – Don’t worry about perfection. This can be changed easily. In many cases you will learn from your first few shows and make adjustments.

  • Have a pre-production meeting – Two days before the show, meet with the host and guests to make sure everyone knows what the theme is and how the program will flow. Also let people identify their role or position on an issue. This can help generate more controversy and a better overall program.

  • I prefer a soft launch for the first show – This means emailing people you know will listen and provide honest feedback. Begin promoting the show through social media about 24 hours before airtime. Remember, this is a pilot and will not be measured by audience size for the first show.

The show

  • Get everyone together an hour before the show – Like a sporting event, people need to warm-up and get ready.

  • Give your team a pep talk – I know we are adults but chances are your guests and host will be a little nervous. Anything you can do to break the ice will make for a better show.

  • Take care of your talent – Make sure they all have a beverage and are comfortable.  No brown m&ms in the green room is crucial.

  • Double check with your engineer that you are recording the show.

After the show

  • Publish the recording – Think MP3. That is the only format that matters for radio. There are a bunch of options for video (Youtube or Vimeo).

  • Decide on your discussion hub – This is where you will engage your audience between shows, test topics and publish recordings. Options include a Facebook fan page, LinkedIn group or blog.

If you are looking for an example show, I particularly like what PJA Advertising has done with their “This Week in Social Media” show.

Full disclosure: I was involved in the development of the show but they have done all the heavy lifting and have built a pretty big audience.

Anyone else dabbling in online media want to chime in? Did I miss anything? Any risks in this format?

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Author: Frank Days

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