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Can social media save the radio star?

3 min read

Social Media

Today’s guest post comes from Jen Nedeau, Director of Digital Strategy at Air America Media. You can follow her on Twitter @HumanFolly.

With the advancement of the digital age, we have seen how the Internet has affected print journalism and broadcast television — but what about radio?

Radio is a unique platform. As long as people drive their cars or tune in at work, radio will continue to exist. And while the Internet age has brought about innovations in audio such as podcasting, iTunes, Pandora and -– it is my observation that talk radio has been slower to engage in the social media space comparatively speaking. Part of this reluctance may be due to the fact radio didn’t have to adapt as quickly since it has a loyal market -– the morning drive and the afternoon rush hour -– and audio isn’t always “Googleable” in the same way that print articles are. Radio stations have a unique grip on their content in a way that text based-publishers don’t. If you want to know what’s going on, you have to tune in.

Over at Air America Media, we’ve been looking for ways to expand our reach. That starts with investing in on-air talent such as Rachel Maddow, Ron Reagan Jr. and Ana Marie Cox. It also means hiring a team of digital media editors to produce content. And it means investing in the Web as a platform. Air America recently re-launched its Web site, which offers six news channels of content and commentary, and a new design that attracts readers, while integrating our audio, video and text content.

Finally, Air America is integrating itself within the world of social media primarily through Twitter and Facebook, as well as driving content through social news sites. Air America is working to see if social media can save the radio star. Here are a few of the things we’re trying to do:

  • Extend the two-way conversation beyond calls into the radio show or e-mails to the show hosts. Each show host should have their own Twitter account and Facebook Page, which can help recruit listeners to participate with the show and distribute blog posts afterward.
  • When possible, radio guests should be invited on-air if they also come with an online presence. When booking experts, find out if they are on Twitter, Facebook or have an e-mail list, and ask if they will share a clip from the show with their social networks after.
  • Listen to what is going on in the social Web and react in a timely way. If a popular topic is being discussed, make sure your content reflects that and connect with the opinion leaders online and on-air.
  • Leverage the larger company brand on social networks to direct links, drive traffic, coordinate customer service and act as a mouthpiece for the different brands underneath it.
  • Sell engagement, not just impressions. When pitching new radio affiliates, make sure to include Twitter followers and Facebook fans. These platforms extend the reach of the microphone and help drive listeners.
  • Measure your brand constantly. While it can take months for radio ratings to come through, you can tell what is working and what isn’t online immediately. Track the good, the bad and the ugly reactions to your brand and make sure to tweak the online strategy when appropriate.

Air America Media is trying to find a common signal between the radio and the internet. How are you integrating audio into Web?

Image credit, Graffizone via iStock