What’s in a name? A name can be a lot of different things but it is generally the first thing that a customer or in our case a listener would notice. It becomes not just your identity but in a way also becomes a short summary of what your station is all about. Therefore with this in mind naming your radio station can be one of the most important things you would need to do before your first broadcast.
Most radio stations generally follow a format like in the US were a radio station that starts with a K is likely located west of the Mississippi river and the ones east of it would start with a W. Identifiers regarding what band they are in, either AM or FM would be included as well as the frequency that they are in. However, as you are starting a radio station that streams over the internet and not over the airwaves there would be no need to follow such naming conventions. Take for example a radio station named WKAD 104.5 FM would mean that the listener has to tune in to 104.5 on the FM band. In this example we can see that the name not only serves to identify the radio station but also to point it to the right “channel”. Unfortunately for radio stations that stream exclusively over the internet frequency numbers and bands become meaningless and 4 to 5 letter grouped together can mean anything. Therefore naming an internet radio station becomes an entirely different thing.
Treat your radio station like you would a business that naming it becomes a matter of branding. You don’t want to use a name that is too unique that its hard to remember and it fades to obscurity, on the other hand you also do not want to use a name that is too generic that it becomes gets lost in a see of radio stations. Some radio stations like to use a name that would describe the genre that they are broadcasting, while a good idea ask yourself how many radio stations have “rock”, “jazz”, “classic”, “top of the..” and etc are there? On the internet we have the benefit of written text where a quick description can be placed and be used to engage with a person browsing through unlike a radio station that streams over the air where one has to wait for their tags to get an idea what the radio station is all about.
Be creative in how you name your radio station. There isn’t a hard and fast rule when it comes to branding and it all becomes a matter of creativity and opportunity. What I’ve outline is really just guidelines but they are not rules to live by. In the world of fashion the name Vera Wang would be considered to be too unique a name that doesn’t really tell you what it is about, its the same for Apple even Atari but with their success comes name recognition. In other words, the name of your radio station could be anything and while it is important, consider as well that there are other things that will help your radio station grow and eventually make its name known.