Today, you’re going to learn exactly how to choose a radio station name.
And not just any name: A really good one!
Some topics covered include:
- What is in a name
- Where do names come from?
- Mistakes never to make with your radio name
- Name choosing techniques.
It’s a very actionable guide. So if you’re looking for a really great radio name, join me:
Chapter 1: What is in a name
Chapter 2: Mistakes to avoid in your radio name
Chapter 3: Choosing your radio name(techniques)
Conclusion --- ## CHAPTER 1 - What is in a name
Your name is a set of words by which your known, addressed, or referred to.
Just a set of words.
So if your name is “Smith Jackson…”
You can change it to “Hot Potatoes,” if you wish.
When several people call you “Mr. or Mrs Hot Potatoes,” and you reply.
These funny words could become your naam.
But get this:
Names carry enormous implications. Further, from identifying you, names convey:
Here is a good example:
You might never meet someone called “Brute Canine or Poison Demon” in the real world.
Maybe on some creepy dating site or a first-person shooter chat room, but never on the street or at your workplace.
Names carry implications, so people prefer nice names like:
“Daisy, Honey, Angel, Aaryan, Victor, Rose, Longhorn, Letterman, Milo, etc”
Remember this as we proceed:
- There are good names and bad names, just as there are good words & bad words.
- Names perform different roles.
- Radio names can convey personality, character, energy, emotion, etc.
- A good name can build you up! A bad name can pull you down!
So respect the power of a good radio name; it’s profound, it resonates, and it’s uplifting.
Where do names come from?
Names are so ancient that no one knows when people began using them.
They are always at the beginning of any new venture, life, business, or discovery...
And where do radio stations get their names?
It’s people who assign names to radio stations just as parents name their young.
I see two ways radio stations can get new names:
Using existing words & phrases: You can give your radio station an existing word. For instance, the word banana gives us “Banana Radio.”
Inventing a new name/word: Using your creativity, you can coin many new names and terms. Shakespeare alone invented over 1700 words, some still in use today.For instance: bandit, critic, dauntless, etc.
Can I hire someone to come up with a name for me?
You can hire a name consultant or a freelancer namer.
Did you know that baby name consultants help parents name their babies?
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People will use your radio name
Why should you keep your radio name simple, appropriate, and memorable?
It’s your fans who interact with it the most.
People will say your radio name:
- To voice assistants like Amazon Alexa & Google Home.
- To friends & family.
- As part of their inner monologue (because the mind is never silent. There is always an inner conversation going on).
They’ll also type your radio name on:
- Social media posts
- Search engine boxes
- Web browser address boxes
- Private messages, forums, blogs, etc
They’ll see your radio name:
- On websites
- In ads
- On your branded merchandise
- On your social media accounts
You’ll also be mentioning your radio name a lot. So choose something easy to work with!
Examples of good radio names
Some radio stations just nail it with user-friendly names. For instance:
• BBC Radio 1 • Capital FM • Today’s Hits • Boom 97.3 • Energy Radio • MyFM • Whistle FM • Funny Comedy Radio • Joy Radio • Fusion Radio • Heart Radio • Smooth UK • Caribbean Hot FM • Kiss FM • Impact FM • Skyrock • Tonic Radio • 20th Century Radio ---
CHAPTER 2 - Mistakes to avoid in your radio ad
There are some grim mistakes people make when naming companies.
So later, following a name change:
- Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering becomes Sony.
- Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web is dropped in favor of Yahoo.
- Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation is rechristened IBM.
- Brad's Drink morphs into Pepsi-cola.
Renaming is sometimes necessary and can bring more opportunities & success.
But why go through the hassle, when you can settle into a nice name from the start:
So let’s dive into:
#1. Devising a radio name that’s hard to remember, pronounce & write
Would you name your station Exhilaration Radio?
Sure, the word has a nice ring to it, but it’s hard to spell.
Or name it Loogootee FM simply because you were born in the City of Loogootee, Indiana.
Exhibiting some hometown pride is lovely.
But even in Loogootee,the station there goes by the name, “94.5FM The Razor.”
Let’s ditch the name —Exhilaration Radio —and opt for simpler words like “Joy, Delight, Elation, Zest, or Cheers Radio.”
The shorter names are memorable and pronounceable.
Plus, we still convey the intended message which might be: “Our radio spreads joy.”
#2. Not being memorable/catchy
Some names ain’t memorable nor catchy.
They lack that special “X-factor.”
They have been around for too long and hence overused!
They are unique but don’t convey any meaning or emotion.
So what do I mean when I state that the name should convey some abstract feeling?
For instance, when I tune in to a station called “Energy Radio,” I want my spirits lifted.
What about “Easy FM”?
Maybe, it’s been a long day, and I’m looking for calm and relaxation. Slow jams, mostly.
But rule out Energy or Easy FM as potential radio names. They are overused.
#3. The trap of being rational/logical
While I’ve advocated for catchy simple names you can find in the dictionary…
Don’t stifle your creativity.
Don’t be too logical.
Or afraid to take risks with your name!
Here is an anecdote to drive the point home:
Did you know that Google was first called “BackRub”?
When the founders realized how terrible the name was, they sought to change it.
During a brainstorming session, Sean Anderson, a fellow Graduate suggested “Googolplex.”
It’s a number equivalent to 10 raised to the power of a googol.
And a googol is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.
Larry Page settled on the shorter word Googol. But as Sean searched to see if the domain was available, he misspelled it as google.com. And the domain was available.
The rational choice:
It would be logical for the founders to favor Googol since their search engine would go on to index millions upon millions of web pages.
But Larry Page liked how Google.com sounded. Twenty years later, when you’re checking for info on the internet, do you say?
“Let me google it.”
Every anecdote has a lesson. This one tells us:
“Not to be too rational, logical & rigid when naming stuff.”
Otherwise, we’d be stuck pronouncing the word —googol.
#4. A name that’s not brandable
Find a unique name that can be easily identified as belonging to you.
So what do I mean by this?
Let’s suppose, you name your station “Sunshine Radio.”
As you’re probably guessing, there are several Sunshine Radios across the world.
“But if the shoe fits, shouldn’t I wear it?”
Hold my beer.
Say, you settle on the name “Jamaica Sunshine Radio.” All is well except, you’ll have a hard time landing a unique domain name.
Two, it’s highly likely these similarly named stations are using variations of the username Sunshine Radio on social media.
So will it be easy to stand out with the name Jamaica Sunshine Radio?
Lesson here: Choose a name that you can easily build a solid brand on!
Once you find it:
A) Google it!
B) Check if the domain name is available. (Aim for a ‘.com’ domain extension)
C) Check all the social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook or Twitter) to see if your preferred username has been claimed.
#5. Pleasant sounding – but difficult to write. (Easy to spell – but impossible to pronounce)
Some names might look good on paper.
But try pronouncing them, and you’ll get tongue-tied.
For instance: “Buttigieg”
The vice-versa scenario also applies.
In that, some names just roll off the tongue, but it’s pure trouble when you attempt to write them.
So the point is:
Your radio name should look good on paper, and sound nice when said aloud.
#6. Trademark infringement
There is no need to violate the exclusive right attached to a trademark.
You’ll attract trouble along with a “Trademark Cease and Desist Letter.”
It’s easy to commit an honest mistake, so that’s why you should carry out due diligence to establish that your preferred radio name is indeed unique and not already being used by some entity.
Once you land an original name for your station, register a domain. And nowadays, you can get a “.radio” domain extension. https://www.nic.radio/
Visit uspto.gov and learn about registering & searching for trademarks. Best to also consider getting some legal help as you choose your radio name.
CHAPTER 3 - Six name choosing techniques
Congrats on making it to the last section of this post.
We’ll cover six radio station naming techniques.
So without further ado… ...let’s get down to business:
#1. Name it after yourself
Some famous company names were inspired by their founder’s names:
- Adidas – The company was founded by Adolf Dassler. His nickname was “Adi.” So, combining the word Adi+Das, you get Adidas.
- Ford Motor Company – named after Henry Ford.
- Bell Labs – took Alexander Graham Bell’s name.
Closer to the broadcasting world, I know of Mazur Radio –owned by Dave Mazur.
And it shouldn’t be always about you:
You can name your station after someone else. Let their name rack up all the glory.
Some stations are even named after saints.
But shouldn’t I be famous before I stick my name on stuff?
To that I say:
Becoming famous is something you can work on!
But if your name isn’t short & sweet. Well, let’s move on…
Learn what your name means at Names Org
Brainstorming is a way of generating ideas. This technique was the brainchild of Alex Faickney Osborn – an advertising executive.
Have you ever tried brainstorming before? Worry not, if it’s foreign to you. Just follow this quick foolproof guide:
i. Follow the rules
Brainstorming focuses on quantity over quality. Generating many ideas quickly without worrying if they are good enough.
Often, we strive for perfection. Ina group, we might withhold some ideas fearing they ain’t good enough.
This doesn’t apply when brainstorming. The rules are very liberating:
- Generate many ideas fast
- Build on half-baked ideas
- Don’t criticize or judge
- Encourage grandiose and wacky ideas.
So, if anyone has suggested a crazy radio name idea to you – take a minute to thank them and see how you can improve on it.
ii. You can do it alone
Some studies have shown that brainstorming solo is also effective!
We often picture brainstorming exclusively as a group activity. That’s what Alex Osborn had in mind.
But imagine yourself sitting around a conference table with your boss, the boss of your boss, and the bosses of your boss’s boss.
Would you let your creativity run free and put forward unrefined ideas?
And there are more challenges:
1)Some members of the group might dominate the conversation.
2) As you await your turn to speak, you may end up forgetting what you intended to say.
But when you’re by yourself, you don’t fear criticism. You can’t be the quiet member of the group. Your ideas will be wild, but it’s only you who will judge them.
These are enough reasons for brainstorming alone.
iii. Brainstorming techniques
Try the following brainstorming methods:
a) Mind mapping
Create a diagram representing your radio name concepts. Learn more about mind mapping:
b) Gap analysis
You compare your actual state with your desired goal. And then identify the actions you can take to bridge the gap and reach that goal.
So how can you apply this method when brainstorming radio names?
Take the following steps:
Identify your end goal
For instance, “My end goal is to come up with a radio name that’s 4 letters long, easy to pronounce, catchy and unique like Spire FM.”
Identify your current ideas
What names are squirming in your mind right now?
“Fooo, Kooo, Dooo, Dii, Iidi, etc.
How can you get to your end goal?
- Use a thesaurus.
- Invent new words.
- Combine different words.
- Find names from other languages.
- Talk to mom about it. Etc. Etc.
c) SWOT Analysis
Evaluate your radio name idea with a quick SWOT analysis.
Here is my radio name idea: “Potus Radio”
Rolls off the tongue.
Easy to remember.
Since “POTUS” stands for President of the United States of America, my station might get confused for a government outlet.
Many people are familiar with the name Potus, and it’s a popular search term.
The USPTO might stop me.
I hope this example helped you understand how you can apply SWOT analysis as you name your station. Learn more about this technique, – it’s very useful.
d) The 5 Whys Technique
Ask ‘Why’ five times about your radio name idea.
Let’s see how it works.
Easy to say.
Looks good on paper.
It’s brandable. And the “Potus.radio” domain is available.
Several people have agreed it’s a great name.
It’s a popular search term.
#3. Find terms and phrases used in your niche
Every group has its lingo:
For instance, if you’re in the Gothic subculture, some Gothic terms include Abani, Beacon, Becoming, Blood and Roses, Coven, etc.
If your station targets goths, you can choose a name aligned with the subculture for instance, “Blood and Roses Radio.”
If you’re launching a talk radio station, go for a name related to what you do for instance, “The Bulletin Radio.”
#4. The thesaurus is your best friend
Truth be told, there are many stations called, “HitsFM.”
You might also want to name your station Hits Radio because it’s simple and popular.
But you can’t stand this unoriginal name. So what do you do?
Use a thesaurus.
For instance, I found the following synonyms:
Other words related to hits
- Blue Chips
Okay, I’d never name my radio station, “Blue Chips.” But by using the thesaurus, I uncovered new radio name ideas!
#5. Name generation tools
Tired of this whole naming business?
You can use domain name generation tools!
And how do they work?
You’ll get a search bar to type in your keyword for instance, “Radio.”
The tool will append popular words at the start or end of the keyword. Doing so, it generates lots of potential radio names.
Domain search example using LeanDomainSearch. Click to enlarge.
#6. Pair the word “Radio, station or FM” with your idea
Suppose you have a shortlist with the following radio name ideas:
- The Energy
- The Power
- The Gist
Do you see a problem here?
Okay, take this scenario:
My best buddy tells me that “The Energy,” is the new craze in town. I’ll wonder if it’s a radio, podcast, or TV station.
That’s why you should have the word, “Radio, Web Radio, Station or FM” as part of your radio name.
Seems like common advice, but you’d be surprised how it’s not always applied when naming radio stations.
Can I use the word “FM” if I’m just an internet radio?
Well, a couple of internet radio stations used the term despite never broadcasting on the FM band.
All the Success in Choosing Your Radio Name
It would be great if we could sit down and go over all your crazy radio name ideas.
But this is where I sign off…
Leaving all the hard work to you.
And once you have your name all set. Come host your radio on CloudRadio for as little as $2 on our base plan.
Short & sweet is the name of the game!