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Radio Streaming Services: Live vs On-Demand

Looking for radio streaming services? Not sure which is best for your content: live or on-demand? In a world of divided attention, it’s good to know what type of platform is right to reach and grow your audience.

Aaron Corkin

by Aaron Corkin in Tips

Last updated 06.08.2023

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Looking for radio streaming services? Not sure which is best for your content: live or on-demand? In a world of divided attention, it’s good to know what type of platform is right to reach and grow your audience.

Which is Better: Live or On-Demand?

To be honest, there’s no clear winner when you compare live streams to on-demand content. Both are used in very different ways, for example, your listeners probably wouldn’t listen to a podcast with a group of friends, but they might listen to a radio station.

It also depends on your audience’s personality type. If they prefer to take control over what you hear then on-demand is probably the option to choose. On the flip-side, if your audience just wants to kick back without choosing what to play then live audio might be the way to go. In all honesty, it’s best to weigh up the benefits of live radio streaming services to on-demand platforms for your content.

Live Benefits

Radio has been around since the 1920s and endured the test of time by being one of the main ways we consume news, media, and other parts of our culture. Nowadays there are a few ways you can listen to live radio streaming services, such as traditional AM/FM, DAB, and online. The reasons why radio is still big in the mainstream is because of the benefits that come with broadcasting live shows.

  • Mass Appeal: You can go as broad or specific as you want with live radio streaming services. Usually, radio stations appeal to a wider audience to pull in more listener numbers, but you don’t necessarily have to. Just look at Manchester based station MCR Live, they promote local and international bands for a wider demographic.
  • Live Engagement: People like interacting with authentic presenters, it’s one of the main reasons why live content does so well, just look at Facebook Live, Twitch, or Periscope. They all thrive because the audience can engage with the host and get an immediate response to build relationships.
  • Ephemeral Content: Content that lasts for a short time. Use this to your advantage by driving urgency to you, for example, people will have a fear of missing out as once your live shows over, it’s gone forever!

Live radio streaming services like come with the added benefit of automating shows using scheduling software, so it sounds like you’re broadcasting live even when you’re not. This way you can get the best of both worlds by broadcasting live and pre-recorded shows.

On-Demand Benefits

When you think of on-demand services you might be picturing other things besides podcasts like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Granted, these are pretty popular video services, but nowadays anything can be on-demand if it’s accessible at the click of a button. Even radio stations are doing it like iHeartRadio, that’s because there is a tone of the benefits that can help boost your content.

  • Niche Audience: On-demand content like podcasts are often more specific than radio shows as they’re focusing on a theme or topic, just like CIPYD for instance, a show devoted just to dogs lovers. There’s a higher chance of reaching your ideal niche audience with on-demand services.
  • Pre-Recorded Shows: Want your shows to be polished? Pre-recorded audio lets you cut out mistakes by editing audio in post-production and make it a more condensed version that contains the best bits.
  • Evergreen Content: Content that lasts for a long time. People can discover your shows online via on-demand directories like iTunes and embedded audio in blog posts.

On-demand services are starting to replicate live radio stations with the likes of Spotify Radio. This “set it and forget it” approach is popular because people don’t need to worry about queuing songs or finding new shows. However, when comparing live and on-demand, it’s best to look at what others are doing.

Radio Streaming Services: Live vs On-Demand

Comparing the benefits of live and on-demand content can leave you “umming” and “arring” over which is best for you and your shows. When you look at what others are doing you would be surprised at how much they rely on both to reach and engage with their audience.

Take Spotify for example, they’re borrowing a page from the live radio format with the likes of Spotify Radio.

Listeners can automatically discover new music without searching through tones of songs. On the flip side, radio directory TuneIn are dabbling in podcasting to offer on-demand shows for people wanting bite-sized content.

It’s not just platforms that are switching it up, but content creators as well from both radio stations and podcasts. Take popular UK radio stations at the BBC. They’ve branched into on-demand content by condensing long 3 hours radio shows into 30-minute podcast episodes like with the Chris Evans Show on BBC Radio 2. This way people can catch up on everything they’ve missed quickly, kind of like a highlights reel.

There’s demand for both live and on-demand content as creators are jumping between the two, so you should too. Get the best of both worlds by starting your own live radio station, then record your shows into bite-sized podcast episodes.

Which Do You Prefer?

Are you more into live radio streaming services like radio stations or on-demand content like podcasts? Let us know in the comments and share this with your friends to see what they think. If you’re looking to get your content out there with your own radio station then why not give a try? Start your 7-day free trial and get heard today.

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