Has Your Web Lost Its Site?
April 12, 2016
Frequently I look at various radio websites to see if there are any upcoming events or pictures of personality appearances. I am concerned on how many sites I see without basic information (i.e., names attached to pictures) and the lack of local interaction with listeners being documented. I know stations are out and about and they do post to Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. However, many forget to place the same info on the station website. I am not sure if there is a disconnect between departments or an oversight. Many of the large companies share a lot of national content and that's great, but too many local properties are not adding in the local happenings for the world to see. Connecting with the audience at every level is a must.
For example, all the national network morning TV shows provide cutaways to allow local affiliates a chance to provide local news and information. There are even some radio stations that take the opportunity to localize with a personality during the allotted local commercial breaks on nationally syndicated radio shows.
Not Pointing Fingers
Who are the biggest offenders of not utilizing websites for the listener experience? I am not going to point out any one station or company, but do your own research and see if you come to the same conclusion I did. This is an easy fix and I do take into consideration the current state of our business with companies using less employees to do more. I just think too many are in the everyday war bubble for ratings and just need a little nudge on adding some simple touches to their websites.
What I Like To See On Station Websites
- Pictures with large, readable text and captions with the personalities name and shift
- Pictures of local events with personalities and listeners
- Blogs with comments; consistent postings once a day or once a week
- Sites that are smartphone-friendly
- Simple to operate and workable podcasts
- Content that makes sense and is up to date
- Banners that reflect your station's and city's identity
- Cross-plugging on-air contests and promotions
What I Don't Like To See On Websites
- Pictures of events that are a year old
- Blogs that read like mandatory diaries
- Sites with visual clutter due to things like surveys
- The use of radio jargon the average listener does not understand
- "Contact Us" dropdowns without the name of the PD or MD
- The poor use of the English language or too many misspellings
- Out-of-focus pictures
- Sites without any localization other than community calendars
There is a saying, "You are talking to a new listener every time you turn on the mic." The same holds true regardless of whatever way you are presenting your station to the audience. I talk to air personalities and program decisionmakers every day and know there is a time crunch to get things done. Please make it a priority to find a way to add some local flavor to what you are doing with your site.
Sometimes sales and programming get into heated battles because a site becomes the new added-value dump; reach a compromise and keep clutter to a minimum; the website should be treated like the airwaves. The goal is to recycle the listener base and keep them happy.
I suggest you look at various station sites and find ones suitable to your liking and then draw up your plan. Make sure you get with those who can be counted on to consistently get things done. Lastly, and this is important, always think in multiples when reviewing anything for the airwaves; you are also dealing with social media and your website. Everything has to be on point.
Fellow All Access columnist Lori Lewis recently wrote a very informative column dealing with things you should know concerning social media; much of it can also be applied to dealing with a radio station website.
Here a link.