GENEVA — Nearly 2,500 .radio domains have been registered since the launch of the new Top Level Domain (TLD) in August 2017.
ICANN, which manages internet domain names and IP addresses, granted the new .radio TLD in July 2016. It can be used for web and email addresses, and is managed by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) with the support of other world broadcasting unions. The .radio domain is reserved for the exclusive use of the radio sector, broadcasters, internet radio stations, people working in radio, companies supplying goods and services to the industry, along with radio amateurs.
Prices for .radio domains depend on the registrar, however for individuals, a .radio domain is
likely to cost around €25 (US$30), or for companies, around €220 (US$255). To prevent “cyber-squatting,” applications for domains are checked by the EBU .radio team to ensure they meet the required criteria.
Alain Artero, who manages the domain for the EBU, found that a significant number of initial registrations during the launch period were “defensive,” in order to reserve particular names. Now however, he believes most registrations are linked to new projects such as internet radio services, new broadcast radio stations, radio-related thematic websites or are linked to a change of main domain.
The majority of the new .radio registrations have come from North America and Europe. Artero says: “We’re now beginning a campaign to develop the awareness of .radio and its adoption in the other parts of the world, especially in Africa and Asia.”
Artero believes that some radio stations are reluctant to change their well-known domains, perhaps because of a lack of knowledge of the migration process. “A simple web redirection from the old domain to the new .radio domain makes it all transparent to the users,” he explained. “They can keep using their old internet addresses — old URLs — or the new, with the .radio domain, and see the right content in all cases without a glitch. If registrants need support in this respect, we are happy to advise for free.”
EBU research has identified a number of factors influencing a decision to change a current domain name. The primary reason is to add meaning to a domain name through the .radio extension. Other reasons include to follow a new trend or be a pioneer, to simplify or shorten a domain, or to have a more modern and fun name. Artero says he’s also seeing radio stations taking advantage of the new domain to develop a profile on social media, citing the new station Bigtime.radio as one example.
The owner and founder of Bigtime.radio, Charles Cawood, comes from a music industry background, as an artist, label and publisher — and is now taking on traditional broadcast radio with his business partner, Ronnie Sparks, who shares his interest in helping artists and listeners with “feel-good” music.
“Almost a year later we decided to work collectively, and formed a group of companies under BigTime Radio,” said Cawood.
“We had a discussion about domains, and then we found .radio. I called Alain and he was very helpful in guiding what I needed to do. I soon registered, then I built the website, and set up the radio platform from which we now run two stations. We now have over 12 million touch points running through our social channels, and we’re growing with tens of thousands of people visiting our websites.”
Cawood says the .radio domain is a key part of this success. “We feel that for our international brand, .radio is perfectly aligned to what radio is, and should always be. We are more than just radio stations, and offer extended services to artists within our community. Our aim and passion is to help talented artists get aired and heard and also get paid their royalties. We have a tough model, but we want to do all we can to help good music to be heard worldwide. With nearly 3 billion new internet users in developing countries coming online via mobile or new internet networks, it gives bigtime.radio specifically an edge in the world.”
“As a radio owner, we are building a group of companies that want to help the art and music world,” says Cawood. “We have plans for TV shows and many more exciting and new things with technology that we are looking into. Through our radio channels, we have seen artists get signed with labels and this brings joy to us.”
Meanwhile, Artero is also looking to a bright future. “We are now developing new services reserved to .radio registrants, which we hope will bring interesting added value to the .radio domain,” he explains. “One of them is intended to help registrants to use their domain. It targets individuals and small stations who don’t have time and/or skills to implement their web presence.”