Live Broadcast: Thursdays, 10-11 am EST/7-8 am PST
On October 13, 2008 I joined the burgeoning front ranks of Internet radio hosts with the launch of my weekly Internet talk radio show “Igniting Imagination with Nellie Jacobs,” broadcast live on Thursdays at 10-11 am EST, 7-8 am PST.
Why take on such a vast new project at a stage in life when most people are either retiring or winding down?
I believe I offer an essential service to people. In these tough times, most everyone needs to look at new opportunities, possibilities and solutions in very creative ways.
My intention was to provide a forum for interaction and communication of creative ideas, resources and personal experiences. This was all researched, planned and in place well before the current devastating economic downturn.
My expectation was to feature creativity academics and specialists as well as creative business people and ‘extra’ordinary individuals. Each program would focus on a creative topic of the week. The show would entertain, educate, inspire and creatively stimulate listeners worldwide.
Power of the Internet
I quickly realized that the best way reach a wide, international audience was through the Internet. The promotion material of Voice America states that Internet radio listeners are estimated to total 90 million Americans, a number that is growing quickly (having quadrupled in 3 years) and account for 42% of online spending.
Research and Choices
When I decided to take my message online, I spent months researching the Internet radio marketplace and found dozens of networks such as Alltalkradio and syndicate Talkzone offering various packages to potential hosts.
The ‘catch’ of course is that hosts must buy airtime in exchange for some training, a show producer, support systems and framework for promotion – depending on the package. The concept is somewhat similar to vanity publishing except that networks and each host partner share their show’s revenue – according to a sliding scale, depending on who is the initiator of advertisers.
Networks package prices are wide-ranging, starting from LA Talk Radio‘s $69 (US) per episode. Voice America’s basic program begins at $6700 (US) for a 13 week pilot series with additional options which include streaming video and E-commerce. Networks such as WS Radio also require hosts to buy their audio equipment.
Committed to the idea, I waivered about the quality of sound, the true support I’d get and, most definitely I worried about making a very costly commitment to something I didn’t know would work. And then, just about to take a chance with one network at high cost, I surfed the web one last time and discovered BlogTalkRadio.
Similar to written blogs which are available to anyone who signs up, BlogTalkRadio offers virtually free access to broadcasting online. The site’s features compare very favourably with networks that charge fees. Co-founded in 2006 by CEO Alan Levy and COO Bob Charish, it has grown by leaps and bounds. Thousands of BlogTalkRadio hosts broadcast their shows daily, weekly or monthly. Hosts can also opt into a program offering shared revenue of advertising.
What I like about this system is that we hosts are in control. During our shows both switchboard and chat line pop up on our computer screens. We can click on icons to open lines for callers and mute them when necessary.
Although there are inevitable technical glitches, especially with a new system, for me it’s worth the effort.
In fact, I tend to spend hours preparing guests for their show, pre-interviewing them, making notes, writing up a press release and developing a three to four page script used as a guideline.
I see this enterprise as a partnership. Each step of the way is discussed and everything I write about the upcoming interview and in the script is shared with the guest beforehand. I want listeners to get the most possible for tuning in. What’s amazing is that each guest more than buys into the concept. That’s what makes this whole, labour-intensive process so exciting.
Each hour-long episode is divided into four parts:
Part 1: Guests reveal relevant tidbits about their background; the road they took to get to this point in their lives; their reasoning, influences, support systems, mentors, heroes; and how this all relates to creative topic of the day.
Part 2: Guests discuss in more detail their specialty, their objectives/purpose, what they offer or have available for listeners.
Part 3: Guests expand on a ten point list of ‘hints, suggestions and lessons learned’ they develop exclusively for their episode.
Part 4: Phone and chat lines are open for questions and discussion.
I chose the time of day specifically so it can be accessed live by virtually anyone, anywhere. Statistics indicate that listening is highest during work hours when terrestrial listening is reduced. 41% listen for 3 hours or more. Listeners can phone in, chat and email to live shows.
Immediately after airing, each show is archived. Listeners can tune into archived shows at their leisure anytime. Archived episodes can be converted to podcasts, sent to ITunes, and uploaded to desktops, websites and blogs. Most of my followers listen to archived shows.
In addition to BlogTalkRadio technical staff, a support network of its hosts help each other find solutions to problems they encounter. I’ve learned to edit episodes using Audacity, a free program downloaded after finding out about it through the host listserv.
This show is another device in the Creative X-Spot® Toolbox I’ve developed to stimulate people’s creative thinking and doing.
To market the show, I write a weekly e-newsletter detailing that week’s episode, its guest and upcoming events. I send it to my list, media and organizations. My guests also forward it to their networks. I also created this weblog in which I write about issues related to the interviews and include links, In addition, I post show announcements on a myriad of online social networks.
Guests are vibrant, imaginative personalities who share their knowledge, passions, experience and expertise in exciting ways. This show provides a wonderful opportunity to spotlight incredibly talented, multi-faceted individuals who have so much to offer. Many of them might otherwise not have had the platform to share so many aspects of what they know with so vast an audience. These are ordinary ‘real’ people – very much like you and me – who work diligently, often overcoming considerable challenges, roadblocks and economic downturns to follow their passions and achieve their dreams.
I’m proud to say that every single one of my guests is more than willing to share his/her life stories and reveal their creative secrets. Each one generously offers loads of stimulating practical advice, ideas, suggestions and lessons learned. Anyone can identify with the issues discussed during these shows. Everyone who listens is sure to be inspired in one way or another.
Each episode is truly a fantastic free seminar to ignite the imagination of audiences worldwide.
For more information about Nellie’s radio show, criteria for guests, programs and to sign up for Igniting Imagination with Nellie Jacobs weekly e-newsletter, visit www.ignitingimagination.com.