Old Media. New Tricks.

Archive for the ‘radio’ Category

Traditional media outlets on the web are notorious for not providing link love. They simply post the content from print to the web with no annotation, link or way for readers to learn more or examine the sources. Even articles they write about technology or websites are devoid of links. Sure, they’ll put the address in the article, but the link won’t be active.

They build a fortress around their content. The only links allowed keep visitors within the garden through the nav bar, or take them off to buy soap and shampoo through sponsors. This is no way to build loyalty, trust or respect from your audience.

For more on this concept, check out the post Getting Credit for Word of Mouth.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

Old media doesn’t get proper credit when word of mouth spreads the stories they break.

People say “I heard it on the news,” or “I read it in the paper,” or “I saw it on tv.” They credit the medium, but they don’t credit the actual source.

However, when a message is spread in new media, the source is an integral part of the sharing.

We don’t email someone to say we read about something. We send them the link.

When we blog, we don’t just randomly quote a news story, we link back to the original story.

The credit is given. The link is mentioned.

In new media, we don’t say “I heard it on the radio,” we say “I heard Buzz Bishop do an awesome interview with Robbie Williams and here’s the link.”

Many old media outlets don’t provide active links within their stories, even when writing about websites. If they would activate the links, bloggers would know when they’re mentioned and help publicize the story.

Many articles don’t have sharing functions attached to the stories allowing readers and listeners a chance to instantly add the story to their Stumblog, Facebook page, or Delicious bookmarks.

By not giving the audience the chance to share your content, you are creating a one dimensional online presence. One that is basically worthless.

By giving the audience the opportunity to share the message, you not only give the audience the chance to spread the message beyond your original reach, but you get credit for it.

Word of mouth is the most valuable advertising you can get, but is your brand the message, or is the medium getting all the credit?

catch the buzz … pass it on.

I have already said the iPhone could be radio’s saviour – not it’s killer.  Here’s proof.  Astral Media has a mobile website with the stream of all it’s radio stations easily accessible with a few clicks.

Here’s a video showing how to bookmark the site to your iPhone desktop and access any of the streams.

The mobile web address is http://iphone.7821k.com.

The best part of this feature is it not only enables radio listening on a device that it was previously unavailable (iPods) but it breaks the borders down for radio listeners. No longer do you have to listen to Vancouver radio because you’re in Vancouver. Have a favorite talk show in Ottawa, Calgary or Toronto? Now they’re accessible via the Astral Media MobileWeb.

I’ve gotten involved in a discussion over at Hear 2.0 this morning in regards to whether or not radio station content being shared on P2P sites is a good indicator of what your audience thinks of you.

Mark makes this point:

What most folks in radio don’t know is that nearly half of all web traffic happens on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks – that’s the place where fans share music and movies.

Now radio stations spawn a lot of content – some of it available in mp3 files and podcasts. But have you ever tried to look up your favorite morning show on a P2P network to see what, if any, of their content resides there?

I have, and the results come up way short. There’s very little authentic content from even the best known morning shows (with the possible exception of a certain “Howard Stern”).

Why is this, and what does it mean?

P2P content is shared content. And shared content is content that I or you save. When you don’t find your radio station’s non-music content on a P2P network that means it’s generally not saved in folders which are open to sharing, which is another way of saying there’s little interest in sharing it in the first place.

Now granted, a morning show interview with a music star or a comedy bit is in a different category than, say, your favorite song (the former you want to hear once, the latter many times) or a movie that has yet to hit DVD.

And I know you might argue that P2P is driven largely by the sharing of illegal content, but you can find plenty of free TV shows on there, why not free radio shows? Sure there’s a bunch of Howard Stern and NPR content there, but where’s your “content”? [Hear 2.0]

My belief is that Stern is on P2P because his content is locked in a subscription model. You have to be a satellite subscriber to hear it, it’s not podcasted.  The fans break the model and look like hero pirates by putting his content in the torrent engines.

However, if a mainstream radio station is actively archiving and podcasting their interviews on a website, where’s the need to P2P it? If people want it, they can get it from the site, they don’t need to go to LimeWire or the Pirate Bay to download the latest interview from Nat and Drew.

The more accurate measure of radio’s presence and the quality of spoken word content is to search your call letters or jock names in Summize, or Technorati.

People blogging about something you did, spreading the word virally, is more valuable than a 3 min bit on fart jokes on LimeWire or YouTube.

How are you enabling your audience to spread the message?  Are you giving them a message to spread?  Do they care?

Ego surf yourself on the torrents, P2P, and blog engines and see what the world has to say.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

There are no radio tuners built in to the iPod. If you want to listen to the radio with your iPod, you have to buy bulky adapter that will let you crank out the hits from your local flame throwing CHR.

Many other mobile media devices, like those from Creative, do have built in tuners, but the market leaders from Apple don’t.

That’s bad news for radio. If the device youth are using most doesnt even an opportunity to choose radio, how are they going to be familiar and comfortable with the medium. iPods not only let them create their own radio stations via playlists, the device itself eliminates real radio from the equation.

But now, with the release of the SDK for the iPhone, radio has a chance. Apps are being created for the platform that actually let people listen to the radio on an iPhone or iPod Touch.

CBS was first to release a free application in the iTunes App Store.

“AOL Radio “Powered by CBS Radio” allows you to listen to more than 150 CBS music, news, talk and sports stations across the United States, as well as customized stations created specifically for online listening. By default, it uses the iPhone or iPod Touch’s location awareness capabilities to play stations in your area, but you can also use it for out-of-town stations. [CBS News]

Kurt Hanson looks at the apps a little skeptically, calling them the “canary in the coal mine.” Jeff Jarvis shares the fear and sees the Pandora app as a potential radio killer

“My most striking realization since getting my iPhone (love it, thanks for asking) is that radio is doomed. Pandora is a wonder, creating my own radio station, live and on the fly without need for a broadcast tower. CBS is streaming all its stations over the cell network but when I told my wife this she kept asking, “Why would I want to listen to a CBS station?” That’s not the point, I huffed; we don’t need broadcast towers..[Buzz Machine]

But we’re being given a chance. If national radio companies create an app and put it on the iPhone, they’re giving themselves a chance. Sitting on the sidelines an doing nothing continues the trend towards mobile devices that exist in a world where radio does not.

Time shifting.  It’s one of the big buzz phrases for how we’re consuming media.

Ever since the dawn of the VCR we’ve been doing it.  Recording something from live tv, to watch at our own convenience.  The TiVo is the killer app for recording television programs.  It remembers your favourites, lets you pause live tv, and much more.  The TiVo becomes your own little television station, you load up the drive with your favourite shows, so when you want to watch tv, there’s something to interest you waiting on your TiVo.

Podcasting can work the same for radio.  Yes, you’ve got a great live morning show, or a hot midday talker, but sometimes people have dentist appointments, sleep in or just forget to catch your program.  If you set up a podcast, the show will be sent to them when it’s updated and waiting for them to listen to when they have the time.

I subscribe to about a dozen podcasts.  Most are original online content that doesn’t originate on radio, but I do also get CBC’s The Hour, Spark and The Team 1040’s Pratt and Taylor sent to my iTunes.  They’re all programs that I love, but don’t have the time to track and listen to, yet I subscribe to the podcast and have them on my computer, ipod or cd when I do have time.

It’s also made me more loyal to those networks as I try to catch the rest of their programming when I’m on the road.

A new study says that podcasting actually increases radio tuning.

Research firm Ipsos Mori has found that 10% of those surveyed said they listened to less live radio after starting to download podcasts. However, 15% said they listened to more live radio since they began downloading podcasts, and 39% said they were listening to radio programs they did not listen to previously. [podcasting news]

Creating a podcast is simple.  Have your morning show producer cut up the best bits from their show each day and put it into a 30 minute package that people can download on their iPod to listen on a lunch break, or on the ride home.  Take artist interviews and live performances and attach them to an RSS feed so even if listeners miss the live action, they’re still in the loop through the podcast.

Yes, while people are listening to a podcast, they’re not listening to the radio – mostly because there’s not enough radio being podcasted for people to take advantage of the time shifting they’re already used to from their TiVo.

How can your radio station use Twitter?  Well, first you have understand what it is.  Here’s what wikipedia says:

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send updates (otherwise known as tweets) which are text-based posts, ranging up to 140 characters long.

Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and instantly delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his or her circle of friends (delivery to everyone is the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, instant messaging, SMS, RSS, email or through an application such as Twitterrific or Facebook.

I like to use simpler language. Twitter is like your Facebook status line, but people can subscribe to that and only that. It’s a quick and easy way to share headlines of information.

To see a media outlet using Twitter effectively, look at the Timesonline where they have no fewer than 2 dozen Twitter feeds.

They get it.

So how can you get it?

This week I have been hammering Twitter with radio relevant information. When the news of the new Rogers iPhone plans broke, I had an interview with a local iPhone expert on the radio. I tweeted that the interview was coming up and had word spread so people could tune in.

When an Amber Alert was issued for a girl on Vancouver Island, I mentioned the information on the radio, but also posted it on Twitter.  Within SECONDS it went viral.  Hundreds of people were posting and reposting the tweet, spreading the message faster and faster.

Twitter is a way to reach out to people with your radio brand who aren’t currently listening to the radio and bring them in. We all hook what’s coming up before a stopset; hoping to keep listeners on the dial for another 5 minutes, but hooking to people who aren’t even listening to the radio is even more valuable.

The best part is its easy to do. 140 characters is maybe 2 or 3 sentences. Your jock can do it in between songs, while they’re check email, surfing YouTube and checking Facebook.

Hook the Traffic info, hook a contest giveaway, hook a headline, hook an interview. The important thing is that you provide valuable information and give people a reason to not only follow your Twitter feed, but to also tune in to your radio station.

Ryan Seacrest took his Los Angeles morning show nation wide today, but it’s not a syndicated morning show – it’s just a show. Seacrest does AM in the West, making it midday in the east, so the show is edited and repackaged for late middays or pm drive across the country. It’s brilliant, you take Seacrest’s brand power, and repackage it.

Sean Ross of Edison Research has an excellent blow-by-blow review of Seacrest’s first day. Go ahead and read it, but it’s the last paragraph that’s the most important. It’s all about how to beat Seacrest.

Being up against national celebrities is not in itself a game-ender, but it does put the onus on making sure every break is a monster, every caller is compelling, and that a station’s localism and its own stationality is as well used as possible. I wouldn’t fool myself that any local content automatically trumps national starpower. But I’d be working very hard to find those things that might. [Edison]

That advice is perfect for any jock, any pd, anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re up against Ryan Seacrest, or Howard Stern, or an iPod, that advice is the bare bones of how to do a successful radio show.

I can talk about social media and networking and using the web to market your brand, but the basics still matter. You can sizzle all you want, but if the listeners don’t find steak they’re gone.

Go ahead, read it again – and get it done.

This article was originally posted on my personal blog,The Blog According to Buzz.

Guy Kawasaki interviewed Pro Blogger, Darren Rowse, for his Sun Microsystems blog last week and a piece of conversation at the end grabbed me.

Question: What do you think of Seth Godin not having comments on his blog?

Answer: I think that it works well for Seth (as does many things he turns his attention to). While the common convention is to give your readers a space to interact with you in the comments directly below your posts Seth’s chosen to let his readers interact with what he has to say on their own blogs (or with him via email).

From what I can tell, one of his main reasons for this was to cut down the work that he needs to put into comment moderation. I understand the temptation to do this – I’ve just hired someone to help me with this very task on ProBlogger.

However another stroke of genius (I’m not sure if it’s intended) with this approach is that Seth has made his blog a little more viral by not having comments. What happens when he writes something that people want to respond to? In many cases they blog about it – ‘sneezing’ his post further than his current readership.

It’s the type of marketing every.single.producer craves. Word of mouth. It’s not an advertisement, it’s not a pushed out message. It’s an honest to goodness recommendation from a friend to two friends who tell two friends and so on and so on and so on.

In Seth’s case, closing off the conversation forces the conversation to continue in a way that spreads his message. It’s a sneeze that instantly goes viral. It’s fabulous and immediately understood imagery. When Seth catches a cold, he gives to his readers who instantly want to spread it with every.single.other.person. Seth is patient zero.

Most radio stations can’t quite do that – yet. There’s not enough of an army mobilized to take the message and spread it. The passion in the audience just isn’t there, so opening up a forum for conversation on a show blog, or station website would be a good start to foster a sense of community and encourage the listeners who do care.

Seth explored the notion of the marketing sneeze 2 years ago on his site.

Lessons Learned from Trader Joe’s

I was talking with a colleague today about the magic of Trader’s. Here’s how they make billions:

1. they target a consumer that cares a great deal about what they buy at the supermarket. As a result, their customers are more loyal, and more important, are willing to drive farther to get there. This means they can have smaller, lower-rent locations (and fewer of them) which drives up sales per square foot and profits.

2. These customers are big mouths. They sneeze. When they serve something from Trader’s they brag about, they tell the story of the store. This drives down advertising costs.

So how can radio create something to sneeze at?

Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Video, Websites are all necessary tools to get the word spread, but unless your tools are properly set up to encourage community and word of mouth, you’ll fall flat. You’ll also need something engaging to be spread – a cold.

The personality needs to be outrageous, the content needs to be contagious, the audience needs to feel engaged and connected to the product to want to sneeze about it anywhere they can.

There’s a disconnect right now. A bridge needs to be built on two fronts. One – from radio to technology. Two – from radio to listener.

Social media is all about a new way to interact with your audience.  No longer do messages move from the top down, they float from the bottom up.  The audience is now the CEO.

Starbucks gets it.  Thats why they have mystarbucksidea.com a perfectly elegant community built on social media ideals where new business ideas and comments on the way things get done can be tossed out for discussion.

my starbucks idea

It’s not just a token message board.  Starbucks reads the ideas and has implemented some of them.

How are you letting your audience be your program director?