Internet radio needs to leverage technology in order to survive

Internet radio needs to find a viable business model in order to continue its growth and secure its place in a competitive and fast-changing media landscape.  Although many business models and potential revenue streams exist, such as subscription services, brokered programming, and merchandising, it seems that in the short to medium term, advertising will be the primary source of revenues for the majority of internet radio stations.

In regards to advertising, station owners are naturally torn between the desire to limit the amount of interruption to their content (and therefore risk losing audience) and the need to earn money in order to have a viable business.  However, for stations to be able to provide the top-quality content needed to attract and keep listeners in the current market requires increasing amounts of money for the best hosts, DJs and of course music rights - making the need for a station to generate income a matter of survival.

The key to maximizing revenues and becoming sustainable is to use the full potential of digital streaming technologies – to understand and monitor listener interactions, monetize each listening hour, and to grow and extend the reach of the station.

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Advanced statistics and analytics

Internet radio has the potential to give station managers a much deeper understanding of their listeners and how they are interacting with the station.  Nowadays, a station audience can be tracked down to the level of each stream to provide a clear picture on the listener and their needs.  This allows stations to segment their audience into listener types.  Types can be based on geography, demographic, listening platform, session duration or any other categorization that may be applicable.  This means that stations can immediately understand the impact of content or formats on the listener base, but perhaps more importantly it allows stations to experiment in order to quickly find what works best in order

Monetization options

Stations have a wide range of potential sources of revenues, but similarly with terrestrial radio, at the moment advertising is the main source of income for most internet stations.  This means that maximizing station revenues broadly means making the most for each ad break and increasing the number of ad breaks. Increasing the number of ad breaks without impacting the listener experience should be focused on increasing the listener base and is touched upon below. 

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There are a few straightforward options for increasing revenue per break including:

 a) providing detailed information on the number of listeners and ad impressions to advertizers (and accurate information, possibly through a credible third party) to help advertizers plan and justify their campaigns; 

b) segmenting audience by geography and location to monetize audience outside of the stations primary market or based on current presence;

c) segmenting audience by demographic characteristics to maximize value to advertizers.

Beyond these basic measures, internet radio also enables more innovative advertising such as coordinated display and audio ads or contextual advertising based on the mood or genre of audio content.  Once the effectiveness of new and innovative internet radio ad campaigns is confirmed and quantified, it will have a corresponding knock-on effect on ad break value.

Growth options

Finally, growing the audience is always an important objective for all stations that again can be greatly improved by maximizing the use of current technology.  At a high level, the main options for growing audience are to integrate with other sites and platforms such as station directories and social media, and to ensure your station is available through different devices including mobile smart phones and eventually wi-fi enabled cars.  It is also important to ensure the quality of your offering (in regards to audio quality and interruptions) is maintained across devices and platforms.  Close monitoring of your listener data is required to ensure listeners remain happy as the number one requirement to growth your audience is to keep as many loyal listeners as possible.

Internet radio is an exciting offering that is just in its infancy and has a tremendous opportunity to change how media is consumed.  To reach its maximum potential will require stations to quickly embrace the potential of online technologies, and Radiojar will be there to support stations and station managers.

 Arnaud Henin

Business development advisor

zarkadakis
George Zarkadakis
Posted: 17 hours ago

Why Radiojar is unique and different - part 2

In my previous post I gave a history and present analogy on how much tedious work is involved in producing a quality and professional sounding broadcast. People that don’t know about Radiojar, or that have not tried our remarkable platform, are still everyday programming their next day’s schedule. Or spending even more time to fill the next week with scheduled content so they will have some programming free days to concentrate on other important matters in their daily lives. Some of them only use broadcast software to automate their station’s stream, which means their computer is running 24/7.

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Worried about bad weather

This is the oldest method of streaming and comes with little peace of mind. I remember, years ago, when I worried during bad weather if the electricity would go out. Bad weather affected my internet provider’s service. I didn’t feel at ease being away from home during these times because I knew from experience that it took at least 15 minutes to get my stream going again after electricity and internet services were restored. Not to mention the feeling of helplessness during down times. In terrestrial radio stations, we always had backup plans in place for almost any situation. But not in the early days of streaming. I used to hate being at the mercy of the weather, utility company, internet provider, and my stream host provider as well. Especially my stream host provider!

Streaming: how it used to be

At first I used my computer as a stream server. That was fine in the beginning when I only had a handful of listeners. But as my audience grew, this began to take a toll on my computer. I had to choose a hosting company that would meet my needs. I needed to be able to afford monthly rates for the average amount of listeners with as little downtime as possible. Back then there weren’t as many choices as there are today. Hosting companies’ downtime happened more often than bad weather.

At the time I had to accept their excuses because I didn’t know any better and was ignorant on how the stream hosting business worked. Well now  I know better. Most of these stream providers were people just like me. These companies were not located in buildings with massive servers and a staff of engineers. They were just fellow broadcasters that rented server space from real companies that did have servers. They figured out that they could rent a server and rent out space to people like me. They had a business plan where their streams would become cheaper to the point of making a profit from people like me. Also in their business plan was to keep renting more servers as their clientele grew. This meant I was at the mercy of someone who may not be qualified to program a server, and who fooled me into believing that they are a professional streaming company with a staff on payroll.

To this day most stream host companies (I would calculate 98%) are little more than just as I described. Most of them have day jobs and stream hosting is just an added revenue to their monthly income.  I was at their mercy to trust they were renting a powerful server so my stream wouldn’t buffer. I was at their mercy of the choice they had made where their rented servers are located. I was at the mercy of when their rented servers needed to go down for maintanence. There are even more circumstances and reasons for downtime I experienced from these types of host providers to write about, but I am posting in a blog and not writing a book.So be aware of any company with the word “Shoutcast”, or likeness, in their names.

No more of that

Radiojar is a real stream host provider. We are a real company with a highly qualified staff and management. We have created and built a platform for streaming with no downtime, ever. You are not at the mercy of any circumstances out of your control affecting your broadcast. And we are on the job 24/7. That is why in this industry we are different and unique compared to the other 98%. We will never email you excuses why your stream will go down in the near future. Nor have to answer to a complaint of someone that has experienced downtime. We will never try to fool our clients with up sale business plans and gimmicks to dig deeper in your budget. We will never cut or throttle your stream because you went over your plan’s allowance. Very few stream host providers can promise you that.

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Using Radiojar, I am now completely at ease without worries. When there is a thunderstorm, I can appreciate the beauty of the lightning show. I know it will never again affect my streaming broadcast. I no longer have to plan my life around being close to my home or studio in case something goes wrong. I can enjoy listening to my broadcast instead of just monitoring it for problems. I can now go on vacation for as long as I want or at least what I can afford and just relax. I no longer use broadcast software for my station’s automation, so my computer is not running every hour of the day. I will post about worry free automation of my station later. But I used to preach to my fellow broadcasters that all this stress and worrying builds character and blah, blah, blah. It’s worth it because this is the future of radio, and we are the pioneers. We are making radio history, blah, blah, blah. Now I am older and wiser. Stress isn’t a good thing to live with and is unhealthy. I recently quit smoking and I know my physical condition has improved. Using Radiojar has taken away most of my stress. So between the two changes in my life, I may live longer and happier. I may consider the fact that Radiojar is different and unique for me because it is healthier? Oh well, I may post about that later if I there is any evidence of it. Only time will tell.

Jim Haines

Chief Inspiration Officer

 

zarkadakis
George Zarkadakis
Posted: 2 days ago

How to be original in internet radio

By operating a online station you are on an equal playing field to compete with any broadcaster. So is very important to look and sound as professional as possible. But how can you be original? Most beginners join broadcasting groups in social media and forums to educate themselves and seek advice. I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a lot of useful information to learn and share. Broadcast schools can teach you the basics in broadcast production.  But you always want to be aware of the source of information, before you whole heartedly believe it, and implement it into your station. So, if you are new to internet radio, here’s my message to you “don’t be a copycat” - be original! But how can you be so? Here are some good tips for you to follow:

First Impressions Are Everything

Your station’s website needs to give a great first impression on its visitors. If you copycat other rookie’s websites, then you only will be respected as another amateur web broadcaster. Gaining the respect of your listeners and potential sponsors depends on how professional you appear and sound. The biggest copycat mistake that most beginners do is place links to every radio directory service their station is listed with. Yes, it is great to list your station with these directories. But it is a flashing sign that a station belongs to a rookie web broadcaster. To begin with, you don’t want to send your listeners to a service that tempts them to channel surf. That is why you will never see professional broadcasters do this. Only put these links on your station’s website if you have a paying business relationship with a radio listing directory service.

Other telltale widgets that beginners usually copycat are visitor counters, player widgets (Shoutcast, Winamp, iTunes, etc.), donate buttons, and song request widgets. Only use donate buttons if your station is participating in a charity event. You don’t want to give the impression that your station needs charity to survive. Keep your station’s website attractive, simple to navigate, and professional. Lastly, own your station’s domain name. Don’t use sub domains or free web hosting plans that use sub domains. Nothing screams louder that a web broadcaster is a rookie.

Jim Haines

Chief Inspiration Officer

zarkadakis
George Zarkadakis
Posted: 5 days ago

Get Discovered: Tips For Getting Your Station Known

Just like any business or brand, you want to market your station. The more popular your station is, the more chances you have for monetizing. Being paid for what you love to do is the icing on the cake. Large corporations and companies that own most terrestrial stations have budgets to advertise and market their stations. I’m sure almost everyday you are exposed to their advertising campaigns in all the traditional method in print, media, and social media. These large companies have the funds to hire professionals to get the best results. So getting your station on the listener’s map is not rocket science or a mystery novel. You just need to follow their example with a budget you can afford. So here are a few tips starting from free to paid, that I guarantee will bring you more listeners. After that, it is all up to your content to keep them coming back.

List Your Station in Radio Directory Services

It is free to list your station in most radio directories. You will find that there are literally hundreds of them on the web. I have estimated that it would take at least 8 hours to list most of them. So I recommend making a list of these services by order of popularity and most used by listeners - so you spend your time more efficiently. It is always better if the discovery service has apps and allows its listeners to share their experience in social media. No matter what country you live in, Tune In and iTunes are the most popular during the time of this post. So therefore make sure you list with these services first.

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Tune In has an API program broadcasters can join, and Radiojar is set up to accept that API’s account information. The rest of the directory services on your list should be determined by the popularity in your country and language used.  Lately I noticed a new start up directory at istreamradio.info. What make this radio directory service special is the ability for the broadcasters to create events on their website. This is a great marketing tool that no other service provides. I spoke with the CEO and he assured me that there are apps in the pipeline with more innovative ideas. Lastly, I also recommend submitting your station with the cable and satellite TV providers as well. Depending on the company, some may have monthly or yearly fees.

 Use Social Media

Using social media is very effective in promoting and marketing your station. Radiojar helps with a listen app available for any station to use on your station’s Facebook page. 

Always stay focused on why you are using social media:  to attract more listeners while keeping your listeners informed and up to date. I personally find it very irritating when stations tweet and post every song or show broadcasting in real time. From my personal experience, one post or tweet a day is enough. You want to behave as a professional and gain the respect of your audience/followers . I also recommend making the most of your one post/tweet. Make your daily post/tweet as entertainingly creative as possible, as well as informative to get the most shares and retweets as possible. This way your audience works for you in promoting your station. People tend to trust the opinions of their friends and family, and you will benefit more successfully in social media by attracting more listeners that are referrals. The professional marketers usually repeat the same simple formula for a great post. They always use a image or photo relevant to the message in the post/tweet. The image is always warm and cuddly or humorous. In my case, I own a rock station. I rarely use cuddly. I use humorous or rock art to get listener attention. So by following the professional examples of using social media and advertising, you should get the same results.

 Establish Relationships

Establishing relationships is another very important aspect of getting your station known. The more people involved in your project, the better. In the past fan clubs were used with great success. Now a days it is called “The Street Crew” and other cool names. But the concept hasn’t changed. This engages direct involvement with your station and enhances fun social activities for your listeners.

Also establish relationships with anyone or organisations that you can barter promotions with. This can be as simple as trading your web player to website owner in exchange for placing their banner on your station’s website. The same goes for doing live remotes for an organisation, events, and businesses. Placing your DJ’s/ show host in high trafficked venues regularly has always proven to work. Bartering live remotes often leads into paid live remotes.  Establishing and maintaining all these relationships takes a lot of work. So from my experience, I would delegate the responsibility to the leaders in the station’s fan club. You will find that they will feel honored to have responsibility in the station’s activities. Keep them busy with creative promotions, passing out flyers, flash crowds, and especially organizing social events. The sky is the limit on what fan clubs can accomplish. Bear in mind however, that fan clubs may not be a viable solution for all stations, especially for those that are not formatted for music. You must always try to think outside of the box and be creative. If you have any creative ideas to share with us, please comment on this blog or our Facebook page!

Jim Haines

Chief Inspiration Officer

zarkadakis
George Zarkadakis
Posted: 1 week ago

Radiojar equals peace of mind

Radiojar is unique because it solves all the problems that plagued radio producers in the past. It provides a technology that guarantees no downtime and no cut off listeners, so you can concentrate on your content.

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The picture above shows how web radio stations used to look like (and some still do). So many who went into web radio had to educate themselves on how to use broadcast software, encoders, Shoutcast/Icecast… the list goes on and on. If you are one of them, you know the hours of work involved to produce a professional sounding broadcast were tedious and redundant, day after day, and week after week. Whenever you added new content to your automation, be it music, commercials, or jingles, you had to make sure the audio file was in MP3 and the bitrate was correct. Finally, you run the audio file through a normalizer software to make sure your broadcast had a consistent volume level so your listeners wouldn’t have to keep adjusting their volume levels.

You know about all the work that was involved in creating playlists and making sure they were not over, or under the time limit in your scheduling. You also very well remember waking up in the middle of the night, or not being able to go to sleep, worrying that something might go wrong because of something you forgot to do. As the years went by you invested more money in battery backup systems for your computer, better software, upgrades, and more equipment. You may also recall the times that your stream provider had down times, leaving your station with dead air resulting in complaints from your listeners and sponsors. Some of you may have thought that you solved this problem by renting a server, only to find out that rented servers went offline for reasons beyond your control.

Getting over the server blues

And again you had to educate yourself on how to use those servers properly and how to restart them whenever you accidentally uploaded a corrupted file. There are so many more things and scenarios to mention that you have experienced and learned from, to become a better broadcaster. Perhaps you still struggle with all that old technology because, after all, radio is in your blood. You love broadcasting. And you know that streaming is the future of radio. You know that this is the most cost-effective way to put your broadcast on an equal playing field with any broadcaster, big or small. Because of your love for radio and the impact it makes in people’s daily lives, you always strive to keep making your audience’s listening experience better.

If you do not belong to the aforementioned heroes you are probably someone who considers getting into web radio and launching their station. Now you know what your senior colleagues had to go through. Who ever you are, experienced or rookie, if you want to get over the server blues, and get your web radio up and running with out the hassle, time to consider using Radiojar.

But why Radiojar is so different and unique?  It’s because we have created a platform that eliminates all the tedious work. We have done this using the latest technology that eliminates all the redundant work of preparing audio files before uploading them into our cloud hosting. What used to take hours in scheduling a day, week, or months, can now be done in minutes without worrying about timing everything perfectly in fear of dead air.

Because of our cloud hosting, there is never down time and therefore your station will never disappoint your listeners and sponsors. We even have safeguards in place in case a live show’s stream disconnects, a default pilot with rules on content will immediately take over. There is even a separate schedule for breaks. These breaks are designed to play out commercials, jingles, and station ID’s at certain times of the day or days. The listener doesn’t even see the name of the audio files in the player during a scheduled break making your broadcast look and sound more professional.

Players and widgets that make a difference

Equally important in using Radiojar is the time saved in making players and widgets for the station’s website. Other hosting companies used to just provide a player widget, and as the years went by they would maybe include a few more. But Radiojar provides the station owner with six widgets including a free Facebook listening app. We even provide the raw code for our widgets for those that want to customize their station’s widgets with their own branding and style. You will not find too many stream host providers that are willing to that.

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Virtual Studio: you’re going to love it

There are so many other features and services that make Radiojar unique in this industry, and I will be discussing them in future posts. So let me wind down on one of the biggest and best features  that is making history in this industry: Radiojar’s “Virtual studio”.

For the first time a broadcaster doesn’t have to buy expensive broadcast software or research the best paid versus free broadcast software. Radiojar provides a browser-based virtual studio at the click of a mouse. Because it is browser-based, it doesn’t matter what operating system your computer is using. People who have been doing this for a while know that 99% of all broadcast software is only made to work on Windows. People using Mac OS can count on one hand the broadcast software available for their machines. The Virtual Studio can also do something that broadcast software can’t do, and that is have multiple DJ’s/hosts using it at the same time from multiple locations. Using Virtual Studio the DJ’s/hosts can chat amongst them, giving the listener impression that they are in the same location.

With broadcast software, you would need to spend time and money on mixing boards etc. to accomplish the same thing. Only Radiojar has a platform where a station owner can manage up to 100 DJ’s/hosts at the click of a mouse, compared to all other platforms available. Now Radiojar is aware that there are still a lot of broadcasters that feel more comfortable with broadcast software that they have become more accustomed too and love. So we respect this and have made it easy for them to connect and stream with our advanced technology. We even made it easy to follow simple instructions with screenshots available on our site. Soon we will be producing short video tutorials on how to use other Radiojar features.

Try us out with for free

So, if you have been streaming for years and can identify with all the experiences mentioned in the beginning of this post - and have not tried the technology of the future available to you now from Radiojar - take the time to test drive our platform. All our plans come with a 15-day free trial. You will be amazed. You will see how different Radiojar is to the old traditional ways. You will see how unique our platform is eliminating unnecessary, so you can spend more of your time broadcasting. If you are new to streaming, test drive the latest technology and see how Radiojar can save you time and trouble compared to the old ways. You may be the one with the idea or concept for the next most popular radio format in electronic media history. Thanks to Radiojar, your new station will be launched faster, and operated more easily, than the people that came before you.

Jim Haines

Chief Inspiration Officer

zarkadakis
George Zarkadakis
Posted: 1 week ago

Real radio is real people

I belong to a generation that grew up with radio. Radio was where we first listened to the music that made us differ from our parents. Radio was where we called in to dedicate that special song to our college sweetheart, or to wish well to a friend who had his birthday. It was also the place that connected us to the world; to news, views, trends, debates, and more. Television was there too, but radio made us feel more connected. Radio respects you more than television. It does not bind you, but allows you the freedom to do anything you like. You can drive and listen to the radio at the same time. Or make love, or cook dinner, or read a book, or simply sit on your sofa and just listen.

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It is very heart-warming that millennials, born with Internet as a given, respond to radio in the same way as we of Generation X. After all, radio has entered the Internet too, right? Well of course it has, but there is a caveat: the terms “internet radio” mean many different things. Spotify and Pandora claim to offer “internet radio”. What they actually offer are automatic services, a bunch of algorithms, that produce playlists of songs relating to the tastes of their users. Excuse me, but this is not real radio. Real radio is real people, not robots. At Radiojar we want to empower real radio people to produce remarkable content on the web, to move listeners like no algorithm can, and to claim “radio” back from those who’ve plagiarized it.

The going will get tough. According to the latest report from Edison Research most people (57%) listen to either on-demand music or personalized automatically-produced music lists. But a very healthy 27% listens to live streaming; they tune in to live radio stations from their locality or from around the world. They are listeners of real radio, and we want to help our customers get more of them.

We are a start-up, but we’ve been in the business of creating technology for web radio for nearly three years now. We always listen carefully to customers who use Radiojar to set up and manage their web radio stations, or use our proprietary streaming technology to broadcast their content on the web. We know their pains well. Our mission is to respond by developing cutting-edge solutions that make radio professionals successful. Unlike others we want you to own your listeners. You’ve earned them thanks to your remarkable content and hard work, so we believe that you should be able to capitalize on your success. So we are developing a host of innovative monetization solutions, to be announced soon.

Meanwhile, we have just relaunched our site, and would like to invite you to come take a look at our new, all-signing, all-dancing plans. We offer three plans depending on what type of broadcaster you are. Our “Easy” plan is a flat-fee, optimized solution for serious amateurs, communities, colleges and businesses that want a top-quality, professional-standard web radio without the hassle. Our “Pro” plan is scalable with all the thrills and frills you expect and more - if you are a professional web radio owner or manager this is the plan for you. Trust me, you will be amazed by what Radiojar can offer you. For terrestrial FM/AM radio stations that want to stream over the web, we provide a special streaming-only plan at highly competitive prices, and throw in a few extra things, like social plugins, analytics, rebroadcast, and more. All our plans make use of Radiojar’s proprietary, cloud-based streaming technology that means unlimited simultaneous listeners, no downtime, and no cutting-off listeners if you exceed your prepaid total listening hours. All our plans come with a 15-day free trial period.

I hope that you will try out our plans, so you too may discover how Radiojar can take you to the next level of real web radio. You inspire people with your talk shows and music shows, with your spirit, creativity, pizzazz and ideas. We are here to help you reach your full potential. You deserve it. Your listeners await you. 

George Zarkadakis

Chief Marketing Officer

@zarkadakis

zarkadakis
George Zarkadakis
Posted: 2 weeks ago

Getting bigger with AIR TuneIn API

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TuneIn is a web radio directory with over 100,000 live radio stations from every country around the world.

Listing your station in the TuneIn directory will make it easier for your listeners across the globe to find and access your station at any time and from any place, as TuneIn is available as an app on all smartphones and tablets, online at tunein.com and on over 200 other platforms (internet radio devices, smart TVs, cars, etc).

Listing your radio station on TuneIn is the first step to get your station discovered. But you can go one extra step and link your station with the AIR TuneIn Broadcaster API. This is a TuneIn API that allows stations to pass the information about the track playing now on your radio station to TuneIn. When TuneIn has that information, your station’s page becomes much richer with nice visuals about the artist & track playing now, as well as a visual history of recently played tracks: 

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Apart from a nicer looking TuneIn page, this integration will have great impact in your radio station’s discoverability: your station will come up in search results when listeners are looking for stations that play specific artists.

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Searching for an artist in TuneIn will show you the stations that currently play this specific artist but also stations that have played this artist in the past.

As an example of the impact the TuneIn API has in the discoverability and thus the popularity of the station we can showcase two stations which both had an astonishing rise in the number of sessions after using the TuneIn API.

Both stations did not use any advertisements  to promote themselves in the meantime, and were listed in the TuneIn directory for quite a long time before using the TuneIn API.

For station A as we can clearly see in the graph after 11/02/2014 (when the TuneIn API was used) the rise of the number of sessions is over 500% during the first days, but overall for the three months period we examine, the increase in sessions is nearly 1000%. 

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Also for station B the rise of the sessions was extremely beneficial, the station managed to have a 1400% increase to the number of listeners after the use of the TuneIn API and now has a devoted listener base which keeps incrementing.

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If you have a station in Radiojar watch it grow and get discovered easily by having a look on this guide on how to get listed in TuneIn and also how to implement the AIR TuneIn Broadcaster API.

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marmetaxa
Mariza
Posted: 5 months ago

About

Radiojar is creating a new breed of internet radio broadcasting and monetization platform. We believe in real radio by real people. Our vision is to empower DJs and Radio Owners around the world to increase their listener base, become financially successful, and reach their full potential as inspirers and providers of remarkable content.

On this blog we share insights to our product, company and customers, as well as our thoughts about the future of internet radio and how to be successful in the business.

Visit radiojar.com

Want to talk? Send us a message on contact@radiojar.com

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