Lillian Sara Cauldwell knows what it takes to create a well-loved Internet talk radio station.
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Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, her Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio (PIVTR) has earned a reputation for being a quality niche station that offers some truly excellent talk radio.
We interviewed the founder to learn more about her talk radio station.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio prides itself on providing quality programming and content rich programs to the world.
Our talk radio station is built upon three principles: 1. Help market and promote published midlist and unknown authors to the media and the world; 2. Provide a conduit for people who might not otherwise have a chance to speak up and be heard; and 3. Educate the public with quality information and content so that they can use the immediate benefits in their spiritual, personal and business lives.
When did you start the business? What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I started it in January 1, 2006
In terms of my background, I am an author who writes fiction and non-fiction books. I hosted two shows at two previous Internet talk radio stations and decided to go out on my own.
Where did you get the startup money for this venture?
I took out a personal line of credit.
Who are your main competitors? How do you compete against them?
My main competitors are larger Internet talk radio stations that have bigger listening audiences than I do and either have sponsors or a bigger budget.
Many of the stations do charge higher fees than I do or claim to have a larger audience than I do. However, based on my platform of three principles, PIVTR has earned a reputation in the field as a quality niche station that offers consistent and effective programs to the world. PIVTR doesn't compete with other Internet talk radio stations in popularity, celebrity authors and/or guests, or even world famous people. PIVTR stands for helping people achieve their goals, dreams, aspirations, and learn life skills so that everyone has a chance at helping themselves, each other, and the world.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
It takes commitment, time, patience, and leadership to accomplish the goals that I have set out for myself and the Internet talk radio station. I believe that the company is only as good as the people who are involved with it. My experience has taught me that vision and passion will help me and PIVTR stay in alignment with what I expect from my talk show hosts and myself.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
Networking, sharing information with other authors and people interested in learning a new skill or technology, word-of-mouth advertising, learning the craft and skill of interviewing (people come to me for interviews after hearing PIVTR's podcasts and audio downloads, bartering (one of PIVTR's slogans: equal exchange for equal value), and instituting an internship and volunteer program, Radio-thons(PIVTR created this program to help lesser known charities and organizations with free "air" time and do fundraisers over the air), and my favorite slogan that I follow most faithfully: To become successful, one must put themselves in the paths of giants.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Homework, do the necessary research before setting up a company through the Small Business Administration. Take advantage of their retired corp of executives (SCORE) who are there to help you and answer any questions you might have.
Take a look at other Internet talk radio stations and ask questions to find out what is necessary to have a successful station. Go to the library and take out books that are about the media field. Read up. Better yet, get an intern position at a local radio station to learn the nuts and bolts of running a station. It's more than knowing how to run a computer, use Shoutcast to air your streams, record audios into podcasts, and tell your friends, neighbors and family members about it.
My final suggestion would get yourself a mentor, someone one knows the radio business and is willing to share their knowledge and experience with you.
It's a business. It takes revenue to run it. Organization, people skills, and management to make sure you can convince the IRS that the station isn't a hobby.
That's great advice. Thanks so much for sharing your entrepreneurial experience with us, and good luck in growing your business.