Posts Tagged ‘Internet radio’

Does Internet Radio Value Radio More Than Radio?

As “radio” attempts to “be everywhere” on all platforms, it is curious that internet radio is embracing the local brands and local content to reach the local listeners.


I saw this bus board while driving around the Fremont neighborhood in Seattle. While non-radio folk may not realize it, this is a TuneIn ad campaign. The ad is selling TuneIn “The world’s radio from Seattle to Sydney” to Seattle residents by promoting the fact that you can listen to Seattle’s heritage news-talker KIRO Radio through TuneIn — presumably instead of on your terrestrial radio. Not of little significance, KIRO Radio fans are likely in their cars listening to the station or experiencing the station’s very cool app, while being told there’s a new? better? different? way to consume it.

It’s a smart play by TuneIn who can actually afford to buy outdoor campaigns unlike most radio stations not owned by Clear Channel these days. Leveraging the exposure of the local station’s logo is very important for TuneIn and very appealing to the station — it’s not unlike giving candy to a baby. Radio stations just need to understand a stomach ache may soon follow.

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Radio stations do not underestimate the value of your brand!

In my opinion, this definitely reinforces the power of the local brands in local communities. Services like TuneIn need these station’s dedicated, loyal, local listeners to build credibility, listening occasions, and drive awareness. Instantly, the association with stations like KIRO gives TuneIn a connection to a community and access to the trust and equity earned by the radio station which can be used to leverage the fan base into the digital platform to explore new, more, and different audio experiences. (Where do you supposed the time for all those new listening experiences comes from?)

Digital Platforms do not overestimate your relevance!

On the flipside, Clear Channel’s attempt to push “iHeart RADIO” on its outdoor campaigns in conjunction with local stations seems less impactful.

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This is KJR-FM‘s billboard a couple blocks away from where I saw the TuneIn bus board. Notice the bottom right corner tags iHeart RADIO and assumes people will know what that means. This is the equivalent of a “blink” in radio and is typically used for iconic brands. No offense, but iHeart RADIO doesn’t quite meet that threshold.

I heart

Don’t over-analyze, don’t close your eyes.

Internet radio services are quickly and intentionally blurring the lines between old and new radio and it’s to their advantage to do so.  Radio is sexy. Audio is stale. So, providers are trying to convince listeners that audio, regardless of how they consume it is “radio.” And it appears the radio industry is allowing these companies to leverage their heritage brands to do just that. Bully for them.

The radio landscape is evolving and changing each day. Many experts advise you to “be everywhere.” It’s not bad advice, just keep your eyes wide open, be intentional with your decisions to digitally distribute content, respect your listeners, and value the brand you’ve work so hard to build.

7/12/13 UPDATE: Listen to the discussion about this between Deb Slater and me on the Radio Stuff Podcast

Oops. Uh, Wrong Audio.

I live in Los Angeles. There are great radio station here with remarkable talent. There are also bad radio stations and forgettable talent. What drives me crazy when I listen to the radio – regardless of the market size – regardless of talent ability – is when audio mis-fires.

In the past two days I have heard two newscasts; one on KFI and one on KABC. In one case the wrong sound bite played twice in a row and in another there was dead air and the announcer uncomfortably asked out loud, “can you say that again?” In both cases, the talent was awkward and uncertain. It made me question the credibility of them and the stations they work on. I hear this happen at least once a day in this market on a variety of stations (and embarrassing as it is, it happened at KSPN while I was PD). 

What is so frustrating is that it is preventable. Do yourself a favor. Before going on the air; double and triple check your audio, put it in the correct order, make sure it’s cued, be sure the pot is keyed into program and the levels are set. This is radio 101, yet everyday in every market in America these types of mistakes are made. Audio is our life-blood. It’s how we tell stories. It’s supposedly what we do best, though when I hear mistakes like these in a major market like Los Angeles I begin to wonder if we are truly audio experts or if that’s just we have told ourselves.

What’s New For You in 2011?

Are you trying to win the ratings and revenue war in 2011 with the same strategies, shows, segments, features, production, imaging, commercials, staff that you had  in 2010? Why do you think that will it work now?

One of the challenges of radio stations, managers, producers and talent is to constantly evolve. The new year is always a good time to look at and evaluate what you’ve accomplished in the past year and set intentions for the coming year. Get in a room with your staff or show unit and talk about what you are doing.

One way to conduct your assessment is the strategic planning method known as “S.W.O.T.”

  • Listen to audio from your show or station including show segments, production, commercials and updates.
  • List out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. List three or more in each category.
  • Discuss ways to capitalize on strengths, improve on, minimize or eliminate your weaknesses, seize the opportunities and prepare for the threats – include everyone in the room. 
  • Create an action plan. Based on your S.W.O.T. exercise, what should you change, add, delete, prepare, create, and what’s missing?
  • Before you leave give everyone in the room a responsibility or task with a deadline.
  • Pick a day to follow-up with everyone and hold everyone accountable.
  • Allow three to four hours minimum for this meeting to have maximum impact.

This is a great time to re-create or eliminate the old, tired bits, segments, promos, production, commercials and guests in order to evolve, energize your staff, get them to have ownership of what they do on a daily basis and create something new, fresh, and entertaining for your fans in 2011.

Be An Owner

It doesn’t really matter if you are the GM, PD, GSM, LSM, APD, or director of coffee — everyone at your radio station should take ownership of it. What’s that mean? Well, great owners are courageous, passionate, focused, respectable, personable, committed, positive, organized and responsible. Help out. Be a part of the solution and inspire the people around you to be better tomorrow than they are today. Are you an owner of your radio station?

1. Courageous Make bold decisions. Don’t wait for a memo from the corner office. Be proactive and get things done. 

2. Passionate You are a leader. Your enthusiasm for the product will permeate the staff, clients and fans.

3. Focused Are you participating in meetings and conversations or checking your iPhone and thinking about your next meeting? Be in each moment and focus on what’s in front of you.

4. Respectable Your reputation is the station’s reputation. Make sure you are beyond reproach.

5. Personable Do you know the names of everyone on staff? Clients? The promo team supporting your events? Do you ask about  people’s families? Are you engaged with employees on a human level at all? People like to talk about themselves. Ask, listen and  you’ll be amazed at what you learn.

6. Positivity Your staff, clients and listeners are always looking for positive signs. You need to be waving the radio station’s flag. Recognize accomplishments, even small ones, and take time to celebrate.

7. Committed Be present. Walk the halls. Show up on weekends. Work late. Take action on employee issues/concerns. Show everyone how committed you are through actions.

8. Organized Don’t let piles of papers stack up on your desk. Develop a system. Know where to find things. Keep your calendar updated so you are on time to everything.

9. Responsible The buck stops with you. Share credit, but take the blame. Own up to mistakes. Apologize when necessary. Take appropriate action. Deliver the tough message.

You are an owner of your station. What kind of owner are you going to be?