Choosing A Format For Your Internet Radio Station

When choosing the format for your Internet radio station, you need to consider the type of audience you want to reach out to. The preferences of your listeners will determine what you broadcast over your station, and whether or not people will listen to and patronize the content you put out. The age of your target audience is one important factor to consider. Specific age groups will generally prefer a certain format over others. Country music, for example, scores well with people in the range of 18 to 34 years old, but is not that popular with younger listeners in the 12 to 17 years old range.

Here are some popular Internet radio formats for you to consider.

News Programs and Talk Shows

This format has the largest share of overall radio audiences. The top radio talk shows are political commentaries that are overwhelmingly conservative and tend to challenge liberal political views. There are also a number of very popular shows that cater to the other end of the spectrum. Politics is not the only subject matter that you can feature, though. There are stations that feature business topics, financial management tips, sports news and religion. You may consider niches such as art, culture and history. These will have smaller, more focused audiences, though.

Rock Music

Rock remains the most popular music genre across all generations. It is also massive in scope, so you can focus on a specific flavor or era of rock music. The audience segment you intend to target will determine which variety of rock music your station will feature, or it may work the other way around — feature a specific type of rock, and your audience will build itself around it.

Contemporary Hits and New Music

This is another popular format that appeals mostly to younger audiences in constant search of a fresh new sound that defines their age group and lifestyle. It may also be the most challenging format to deliver because the audience will be looking to you to help them define what is “cool” for them. This is a tough proposition, and any misstep or wrong choice could result in a backlash. Or worse, you could lose your listeners in an instant. The rewards of being able to provide what this tough, fickle-minded and hard-to-please audience wants, though, can be great, as they tend to be loyal and expressive in their support and appreciation.


Reviving the spirit of bygone days appeals to an older audience. It is also relatively easy to manage since there exists a wealth of music and related content. All you need to do is play the right music and augment this with facts and trivia. As with the other formats already mentioned, oldies music is a large genre, and you can focus on a specific era or style.

Ethnicity-Centered Programming

You could choose a specific ethnic group and feature music and discussions that appeal to this group. African-American and Latino are large cultural subsections. Asian content may specifically cater to Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Thai, Vietnamese and other ethnicities.
There are more formats for you to explore beyond the examples mentioned here. Country music, contemporary Christian and jazz are just a few of the infinite possibilities for you to select from. The important thing is to have a clear picture of your target audience and provide them with the content they desire.