Are you trying to generate income for your podcast or internet radio station?

If you do it out of love and passion, you can literally create content for free.

But — it'd mean the world to earn income from a show. That's because a consistent income stream allows you to hire talent, buy better equipment, produce professional-sounding audio, and even turn a 'hobby' into a full-time gig.

Creators have tried their fair share of monetization strategies.

Most web stations and podcasts pursue ad spots and sponsorships. They may work with advertising networks, where the rates deemed as fair range $20 to $30 for 1000 listeners/downloads. At best, the income will be inconsistent if the show doesn't draw many listeners.

Exclusive sponsorships are another means to make money, but they don't come easy unless the show is quite popular. It has to be part of the top 2%, as most podcasts and web radios don't pull in large crowds.

That said, listener or download stats don't vindicate the show's quality, and there are other ways to make money.

Today's article discusses two awesome ways to raise a bit of income —which are applicable for shows with a modest following:

● Charging a monthly subscription.

● Receiving regular tips from listeners.

What is a membership subscription?

It's a monetization model where creators charge a recurring fee that allows users to access premium content. For online radio stations, the content may include ad-free streams or music-only radio streams.

Paid podcasts can offer bonus episodes or pre-release new episodes to customers. Membership programs may even provide entry into an exclusive community, full interviews, interactions with show creators, and behind-the-scenes peaks, among other perks.

Will it work? I heard people basically like free things?

At the dawn of the internet, people were really drawn to free things. But slowly, the tide has turned, and many people are willing to pay for the right content.

That's why Netflix blew up—it had nearly 221 million subscribers as of 2022.

Imagine what it would mean if you only have 100 people supporting you with at least $10 per month.

Break it further, what if you had 200 subscribers paying $5, a more reasonable sum?

So, it can work provided that:

● You're solving a problem for your subscribers—whether it's providing better-curated playlists or an ad-free experience;

● You're offering unmatched value —because a bad experience will cause them to unsubscribe faster than they subscribed and may bad-mouth your station.

● You're promoting your paid station and giving free listeners a reason to subscribe. For instance, you can limit free podcast episodes to only 20 minutes and ask people to subscribe for the full content.

Advantages of membership subscriptions

What are the benefits of developing a subscription-based monetization strategy? Here are some:

● Dependable income: Your fans pay a recurring fee.

● Predictable revenues: You can predict how much you'll earn just by knowing your subscriber count;

● No need for ads: Keep your listeners happy by reducing disruptions to the listening experience;

● Ready & engaged market: A subscriber model creates an engaged community that can support the show in many other ways —buying merch, following you on social media, etc.

● Stronger Community: Communicate with your subscribers right in their email inbox. Alternatively, include a community section on your paid website section;

● Much easier to budget for episodes: A predictable revenue stream makes it easier to budget for episodes.

Challenges of membership subscriptions

A membership model provides an opportunity to earn with a small audience. So, there are no drawbacks or challenges that you can't surmount.

But it's important to keep the following things in mind and plan accordingly:

Content must be top-notch: Without a highly engaging show, gaining paid subscribers may be a challenge;

The stakes are higher: Paying customers expect consistent delivery of high-quality content;

Requires a more hands-on approach: Making the membership model work requires a high level of commitment. At the start, you'll need to put in more effort and time. With time and as you build a team, you may only need to put in minimum effort to keep things going.

Best platforms to use to build a membership online radio or podcast

Let's look at some platforms you can use to create a membership podcast or online radio:

*For online radio stations, don't just share your public stream. That is a bit easy for people to duplicate and share with non-subscribers.

Now, the membership platform should still allow you to keep using your host. The platform should ideally offer multiple checkout options and offer flexibility when it comes to creating plans.

1) Memberful

The platform caters to creatives in different niches, from podcasting to publishing. Customers can create any type of plan, easily manage subscribers, and even sell subscriptions without a website.

2). Captive FM

The platform allows users to host podcasts and monetize them as well. It also includes a full suite of marketing tools.

3). ARMember

It's a turnkey WordPress site membership plugin this allows users to build any kind of membership site, from premium news content sites to membership communities. Users like that it doesn't have a monthly fee, only a low one-time price.

4). Glueup

The platform offers end-to-end solutions for creating a membership platform, with the unique advantage of allowing users to run online and offline events where they can sell tickets, customize registration, and more.

Other platforms to use to create membership programs include:




Beyond membership income - Increase earnings with Liveshows and Tips

You can still make money with tips from your fans. This is a genuine monetization option that creators have started using to make money from their shows. For this to work, you’ll have to host a live show on a platform that allows fans to tip the hosts. Many social media platforms have added this feature. And here are links to relevant pages that describe how tipping works:

Instagram badges

Ticktok gifts

YouTube Superchat

You can also request users to send money through other ways, such as locally available cash transfer methods or with mobile money, for instance, Venmo or Cash App.