Since diving into working as an independent contractor and running a streaming platform for a local high school, I’ve had several people reach out to me with questions on how to do the same thing themselves. The answer… it depends.
With that in mind, I’m going to start a series of posts detailing what I’ve learned over the last eight months running a streaming platform. I’ll discuss topics such as:
- What software and equipment to use
- Should your stream be a business or a hobby
- Audio only vs video streams
- How to pick the school or schools you cover
To start things off, here are a few of the pros and cons I’ve experienced so far in developing my streaming platform vs working in traditional radio.
Being Your Own Boss: To be totally honest, I’ve probably always been somewhat difficult to manage. I like to do things my own way and have a tendency to wear my emotions on my sleeve when I disagree with decisions that affect me. While the school I work for technically owns the streaming platform, I’ve been given the latitude to basically run things how I see fit…and I love it!
As Many Reps As You Like: When working as a freelance broadcaster, you never know when work is going to come. Some weeks you can be so busy you want to pull your hair out, and some weeks there’s nothing but sitting around and waiting for the phone to ring. I still do freelance work, but I know I have 80-90 games on my schedule for the year, and anything extra is gravy.
You Make The Schedule: Piggybacking on the last idea, you have far more control of your schedule when you do things yourself! When freelancing I had to be ready to go on short notice all the time. Now I know what my schedule is months in advance. Also, if I want to take a weekend off or travel for the holidays, I can plan ahead and make my broadcast schedule fit my personal schedule, as opposed to the other way around.
You Control Your Own Destiny: Success or failure is based on what I do and little else. I’m my own manager, sales staff, and broadcaster! Nobody is holding me back or putting up obstacles that prevent my success. There is definitely a flipside to this control, but as a person who likes to bet on myself, I welcome the challenge.
Nobody To Blame: When you control your own destiny, there is nobody but yourself to blame when things go wrong. You must either learn quickly or fail.
Promotion: A huge positive for working for a radio or TV station is that you have a ready-made audience to cater to at no additional cost. Finding ways to spread the word about your streaming platform can be challenging and expensive.
Busywork: When working as an employee, you have a role to fill and don’t have to worry about much else. Running your own small streaming service requires you to not only be a broadcaster, but also a sales person, office manager, bookkeeper, collector, secretary, and more.
Sell Or Starve: The stability of a salary or account list is nice. If you are building a streaming business from scratch, you better be able to sell, or you won’t be successful.