Audience Dialogue

Participative Marketing for Local Radio, Chapter 11
Beyond radio: section 1

11.1 Sound recordings

With the recent growth of media formats, sound can be saved in all sorts of ways. They include

All of these are like radio in that they offer only sound. But they differ from radio, because people with these recordings can listen whenever they want to. They don't have to wait for a program to be broadcast - and maybe miss it.

As long as there are no copyright problems - which most often arise with recorded music and casually employed actors - any program that you think people might want to listen to again can be recorded and offered for sale. Radio National in Australia used to do this: almost every program was recorded, and any listener who wanted a cassette of the program could buy one. The cost of one of these cassettes was about one hour's wage, for the average listener, or about the same as a full-priced CD. Not cheap. I don't think a vast number of cassettes were sold, so these sales didn't make a huge profit. They were more a service to listeners than a major source of funds.

The types of program that seem to be most in demand for repeated hearing are:

The economics of selling recordings need to be considered carefully. Can you actually produce recordings for a price that your listeners are willing to pay? If not, could you find ways of reducing the cost?

When that is solved, there's another question: should you set a high price for the recordings (so that you're not bothered with a lot of requests) or a low price (to maximize the number sold, and thus gain more publicity for your station)?

Experimentation will help you answer that last question. If you make several recordings and offer them at different prices, this will give you an idea of the potential demand at each price level. Thus I suggest you don't charge the same price for all recordings - initially, at least.

However much it costs you to produce a recording, people are usually unwilling to pay more than the standard price of a musical CD or cassette.


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