Lesson 02

How to find & protect the concept of your online radio?

Ready to find the concept of your online radio?

If you want to start your own online radio, the concept must be your number one priority. With the number of Internet radio stations being launched every day, you need to find an effective way to catch the eye (and ears) of your listeners. And what better way to make a difference than with a concept that will stand out from the crowd?

By the end of this course, you’ll know everything there is to know about:

Find your concept and stand out from the crowd

Find your target audience and let your imagination run wild.

Addressing a specific community or theme is the key to the success of today’s top Internet radio stations. To do this, you have to be smart and find a limited area (a “niche”) in which your concept can shine.

An example? If you want to start an online radio station based on rock music, rather than talking about the most famous bands (as everyone already does), specialize in subgenres or a period in rock history like the Emo movement. This increases your chances of standing out from the crowd and attracting loyal (and nostalgic) listeners.

As you can see, the more precise the concept of your online radio station, the more likely you are to be chosen by loyal listeners. So you need to take a moment to stimulate your brain and find your favourite subject or domain.

Want to find an original concept for your Internet radio station, but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry about it. We have some ideas to get you on the right track:

  • Make a list of your passions: to find a radio concept that will create a buzz, ask yourself what are your passions or expertises. Don’t let the practical or technical aspect get in the way at this point, let your imagination run wild! As soon as a passion or subject stands out, grasp it and move on to the next step.
  • Look to the Internet for inspiration: a good concept is rarely dreamed up in a single brain. It is often the source of a mixture of ideas and thoughts. Our advice is to search Google with a member of your team for keywords related to your passion (or the subject of your choice). For example, if we take the idea of a web radio station aimed at Emo Rock fans, we could search for: “emo radio”, “emocore musical style”, “emo forum”, … and quickly obtain a few clues to shape your concept. Why search for forums? For example, they can be used to understand a community and potentially your future listeners.
  • Listen to Internet radio stations that are similar to your concept: curiosity is not a flaw in this situation. We invite you to listen to several Internet radio stations and list the elements you do or don’t want to hear on yours.

As we have just seen, finding the concept of your online radio station requires active and meticulous research. Once you have completed your research, try to identify the strengths and weaknesses. As soon as this document takes shape, test it with your friends, team and family. This will let you know if your concept actually represents an opportunity or if you need to review your plan.

Analyze online radio stations that may compete with yours.

Even if you follow the advice above, you may not be the only one in your “niche” or on this radio concept. If you are alone in this sector, there’s always a possibility that one day, one of your listeners may imitate you by starting their own Internet radio station to live the same adventure as you.

Make do with what you have! Anything is possible to get your point across and attract your competitors’ listeners to your listening link – which, obviously, offers the best content. To analyze competing online radio stations and get the most out of it, follow our tips below:

  • List your competitors
  • Describe and compare them with each other
  • Analyze their strengths (number of subscribers on social networks, partnerships, etc.)
  • Find their weaknesses (brand image, media packages, etc.)
  • Draw conclusions about the opportunities and threats they offer

This competitive analysis should highlight what improvement(s) you can bring to your radio concept and put your Internet radio station in the spotlight.

Make the difference with a neat brand image.

To differentiate yourself from other online radio stations, the first step is to find a name that will define both the soul of your radio and your concept. To make an impact on the minds of your future listeners, you will have to choose a name they have never seen or heard elsewhere. So think carefully about how you want to present yourself. Here are some tips:

  • The name of your station should not deviate from your radio concept and what you want to broadcast.
  • The name of your Internet radio station should be easily pronounced and memorable for your listeners.
  • The name of your Internet radio station should avoid being too generalist or too long.
  • The name of your Internet radio station must not already be registered with USPTO (for the USA)

Then make a list of 4 to 6 options that you like and submit it to your team or friends for their feedback in order to help you choose the right name. Once you have made your decision, you can tackle the logo and graphic charter of your Internet radio station.

Here are some essential elements to take into account when designing your logo and graphic charter:

The logo of your online radio station: This logo must represent your radio station’s identity and be as strong as a brand. As the person in charge of this Internet radio station, your goal is to make a lasting impression. Designing the logo will not be easy, but you should not hesitate to invest some cash on this point. With the help of a graphic designer or an artist friend, make your logo unique and striking. The more powerful it is, the more your listeners will be attached to it and will be likely to buy any related products in your store (t-shirts, mugs, pens, tote bags…)

The graphic charter of your online radio station: directly linked to the colors of your logo, this document will allow you to have an official guide to edit visuals or publications in the colors of your Internet radio station. As you probably know, certain colors refer to emotions or universes. For example, for a radio station with a rock trend, the chart should be oriented towards the following colors: Khaki, Violet, Red, Grey or Black. Be sure to choose the right colour that will mark the minds of your listeners.

Your logo and charter are of course not set in stone. Over time, you will be able to step back and make sure it evolves based on what worked well and what didn’t.

How to protect your online radio concept from others?

Why protect the concept of your online radio?

You may not like the end of this sentence, but concepts are not directly protectable. However, you can protect what makes your concept unique.

For example, trademarks allow you to protect your texts, program titles, jingles or visuals that make up the brand image of your Internet radio station, as long as the “creation” is original; meaning it really comes from you or your team. It is also possible to protect your name and the logo of your radio station through trademark law. The most important thing is to be able to prove or demonstrate in legal proceedings that you are the originator of this online radio station if you are the victim of a plagiarism of your concept.

Top Tip: ideally, if several people are working on your concept, we recommend that you have a transfer of rights to the creations or content created by your team for your online radio signed. For example, if a member of your team creates the logo for your Internet radio station, it is important that they give you the rights to their work, especially since a document of this type is not necessarily very complicated to write. Above all, it will allow you to keep control of your entire radio concept.

How to protect the concept of your online radio station?

In order to be able to benefit from more extensive legal protection and limit the plagiarism of a competing online radio station, we recommend that you write a document that will explain your concept in as much detail as possible. You can add the models of your programs in this dated document, your graphic charter and all the elements that will attest to the uniqueness of your radio concept.

This document will allow you to temporarily protect yourself or discourage uninspired Internet radio stations. Above all, it will give you the time you need to retain your first listeners and make yourself known as the one who had the idea of this concept before the others.

 You can apply to register a Federal trademark in the US by filing an application with the USPTO. It is advisable to conduct a search of the USPTO database before filing your application. The USPTO cannot search your mark for you. You can search the USPTO database known as TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System), available 24-7 of federally registered, pending, and dead marks free of charge via this link

FORMS: You can file your application online through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) here. Bear in mind that application filing fees can vary from $225 to $400. If you have any questions concerning the trademark of your Internet radio station, you can contact USPTO directly here.

Careful: if you want to protect your radio concept outside of the USA, bear in mind that laws are different from one country to another and that the protection granted in the US is not automatically recognized abroad.

To sum up

Define your target audience

To make your Internet radio station a success, you must target a specific community or theme.

Monitor the competition

A good Internet radio station keeps an eye on its competitors and knows how to question itself to improve its concept.

Protect your online radio

It is impossible to fully protect your radio conceot, but you can file the graphic elements and the name of your radio station with USPTO.

We’ve reached the end of this second lesson, thanks for reading!

We hope you enjoyed this course and that it provided you with answers to your questions before starting your Internet radio station. You can now move on to the next lesson and find your format and content… So go ahead!

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