LPFM TOP TIPS

Learn how to maximize you coverage area; attract and keep Listeners; as well as advice on equipment; making your budget go further and the features that could save your LPFM from failure.

1. How to ensure you REACH AS MANY LISTENERS AS POSSIBLE.

The chances are, like most LPFMs, you will have been granted a 100 watt license. You may assume this means you to need to buy a 100 watt transmitter. By doing so you’d be missing the opportunity to massively increase your stations signal strength, which will allow you to reach many more listeners. By using a circular polarized antenna you can legally broadcast 100 watts in both the horizontal and vertical plane. RF losses through cables and connectors could easily total 50+ watts. This means you need to buy at least a 250 watt transmitter to get the most out of your 100 watt license. Never forget that maximizing coverage area and listenership is what you need  to SUCCEED!

IMPORTANT: 100 watt license means you need a 300 watt transmitter

 

 

2. How to CHOOSE THE BEST LPFM TRANSMITTER.

Deciding which transmitter to buy for your LPFM station can be a daunting process. As a smaller broadcaster, you can’t afford to make the wrong decision. You don’t have the budget to replace equipment that doesn’t quite do what you want it to, or the resources to manage a transmitter that needs too much attention. You may think picking the most well known or the most expensive transmitter on the market is your best choice, but you’d be wrong. Many manufactures have scaled down their higher power transmitters to offer an LPFM model. This could mean you end up paying for an over engineered Transmitter, that still doesn’t offer some essential LPFM features. The most popular LPFM Transmitter on the market is BW Broadcast’s TX300 V2.

Take a look at the chart below to compare features and prices of suitable LPFM transmitters.

 

3. How to ATTRACT LISTENERS.

Who is your target audience?… What kind of shows will you be broadcasting?… these are all important questions you’ll need to answer to ensure you engage your listeners. But how do you actually get listeners to stop and listen when they are scanning the dial?

IMPORTANT: On a crowded dial you NEED to make a ‘great first impression’

Signal strength is key, as previously discussed above upping your transmitter power and broadcasting in both horizontal and vertical planes will give you a much stronger signal.

Sound quality. Sound processing is a must, if listeners tune in and your audio is quiet and flat, listeners won’t even give you a chance. Equally if your sound is over processed, they will soon become fatigued by your sound, and tune out. Getting it right is crucial. The TX300 V2 has a fantastic DSPX-mini audio processor (worth $1595) built-in. This will give you sound quality to rival commercial stations & save you big bucks too.

Look professional. Displaying your name in RDS may seem like a trivial thing, important for a commercial station, but not essential for LPFM. It’s worth bearing in mind that listeners scanning the dial are more likely to stop at a station that is displaying RDS. They assume it is a larger more successful station and are encouraged to stop and listen.  This is also true for advertisers, their impression of your stations professionalism will be a key factor in deciding whether to underwrite you. Remember, first impressions count and displaying RDS is an effective way to ‘make a great first impression’.

RDS also gives you the ability to ‘generate revenue’. Charging other companies to use your RDS facility to transmit traffic and other data means your RDS Encoder will pay for itself as soon as it’s installed.



4. How to KEEP LISTENERS.

Again you might think this is down to your content, which is partly true, but more importantly you need to be on air, ALWAYS. A major reason for LPFMs failing is inconsistent air time. If you want to build up a loyal listenership you need to ensure that when they tune in, you’ll be on. A key factor in this is having a reliable transmitter that’s easy to maintain and repair. Buying from a reputable manufacturer, who can offer you support when you need it is invaluable.

 

5. How to choose a TRANSMITTER THAT’S RELIABLE

A ‘cool’ transmitter is a ‘reliable’ transmitter! Transmitters can get very hot, the hotter they run the more likely you are to have problems. BW Broadcast have been manufacturing transmitters for over 15 years and they are masters at designing transmitters that run ‘super cool’. A truly innovative heat sink design and maximizing airflow using fans with over 10 year life at 120ºF have helped the TX300 V2 to gain a reputation for superb reliability.

A ‘thoroughly tested’ transmitter is a ‘reliable’ transmitter. You‘d be surprised at the different degrees in which manufacturer’s test their transmitters before they are happy to send it to you. At BW Broadcast all transmitters go through rigorous testing before they are allowed to leave the door. They’ve invested over $300,000 on a revolutionary ATE (Automated Test System), which guarantees your transmitter will be performing perfectly. Read more about ATE testing.

 

 

6. How to stop TECHNICAL PROBLEMS causing your LPFM to fail.

As we have established, having a reliable transmitter helps you to build a strong listenership by minimizing technical problems and allowing you consistent airtime. But what if something else goes wrong, that’s out of your hands, and causes you to be off air?

Wouldn’t it be great if your transmitter could foresee a issue and allow you to make necessary changes before it becomes a problem. A series of triggers, alarms and the Ethernet capability, allows the TX300 V2 to do just that. It will email you when it needs your attention, you can then log on using the remote control app and make any changes you need. This can be done using any device – even i-phones.

Try it out here: www.bwbroadcast.com/V2demo.

So it doesn’t matter where you are, or what you’re doing, you’ll have peace of mind, knowing your station is performing, as it should!  It also has silence detection, so it automatically detects dead air and switches audio sources, ensuring your broadcast continues seamlessly.

Features that will put an end to your ‘off-air’ nightmares! Power surges and lightning strikes can cause power supplies to blow. This could put you off air for over a week and would be disastrous for any station. Listeners would go elsewhere and you’d have to start the process of building your reputation all over again. In an ideal world you’d have a backup transmitters, but that’s a big expense. There is another solution – the TX300 V2 incorporates a unique feature that could save your station from disaster. Dual slide-in power supplies could save your LPFM from disaster!

The TX300 V2 unique features will dramatically reduce the amount of time you will be off air, the hassle it will cause and the cost to repair.

Hotswap, slide-in dual powers supplies. This means if one power supply stops working, the transmitter will automatically turn down its RF power, keeping you on. If you have a spare power supply you can simply slide out the damaged one from the back, and slide in the new. Within seconds you’re back to transmitting on full power. You don‘t need any tools, you don’t need to turn off the transmitter or even take off the lid. It really is a revolutionary feature that could protect your station from failure. If you don’t have a spare power supply, you can call BW Broadcast 24-7 Technical Support Team and they get you one within 24 hours.

 

7. Buy from a manufacturer that will back you up when you need it.

You could buy what you think is the most fantastic transmitter, it’s got all the features you want and at a great price.  But before you grab your credit card, do a bit of research….

  • What are they like to deal with after they’ve made the sale?….
  • You might have a problem setting it up, how easy is it to get hold of them? ….
  • Do they speak your language?….
  • How quickly can they get you spare parts?….
  • What about in years to come, will they still be around and willing to help?….

At some point in the future you will need something and that point you will realize the importance of buying from an established company that cares about customer service. BW Broadcast’s have been manufacturing LPFM transmitter for over 15 years, and just as importantly supporting those transmitter for 15 years. All their products come with a 2 Year warranty and are backed up with fantastic customer service and 24/7 Technical Support – so you know you’re in save hands.

“The transmitter was installed and is running like a champ!!! If you ever need to refer a potential customer on how BW Broadcast is to work with… send them to me.  They are outstanding” Chief Engineer, USA

 

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