How to Monetize your Online Radio Streams



By Mark Ramsey
February 7th, 2015


Last week I published a piece using actual data from actual broadcasters that argued thattheir brands could make more money if streaming spots were monetized separately from over-the-air spots. That is, separate inventories have greater revenue potential than one simulcast pool.

So how does a radio broadcaster maximize revenue from that online-only pool of inventory?

I’m going to provide some thoughts on that. Now I’ll warn you: Not all of these ideas are easy and some of them will cause you to gulp hard. But the universe doesn’t really care what you or I find comfortable and easy, does it?

So here are some of my ideas. You are welcome to provide your own in the comments below, because lots and lots of broadcasters are effectively monetizing their streams today, no matter what certain forces in the industry tell you.

I’m going to skip all the obvious methods, including conventional advertising and sponsorship. There’s no news there.

And yes, the licensing fees for music content are high – too high. But that only means you need a business model that’s more efficient and effective than the one applied to the comparatively cheap music content on your air. Because if you wait for cheaper license fees in order to justify your streaming strategy, you will be waiting until the proverbial cows come home and you will never develop a streaming strategy.

  1. Cut the spot loads online to a maximum of half of what you do via broadcast. If you want to attract listeners to music streams, and those listeners are accustomed to the relatively light commercial loads of Pandora et. al., you have to match them at their game. Period.

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Mark Ramsey will be one of the speakers at this springs BCAB in Penticton. Click on logo for more details…


  1. A lot of this sounds either complicated or a turnoff to people listening on the web. I would think the way to monetize online streaming is to treat streaming much like the web now treated display ads.

    Streaming should have advertising inserted that is specific to someone’s ip address with the content being the original material. This would create an independent revenue stream for a station that someday might rival the terrestrial version. Of course this has to be unique content and just playing music probably wont work. Good news for creative and topical radio.


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