Radio Talent Show How Social And Digital Complement The Mother Ship
February 21, 2012
Last week here on “Merge” we took a deep dive into how some in our radio industry lack strategy and a sense of purpose in this digital and social space when it comes to breaking news. But on a day to day basis, our industry is not without talent using their natural creativity beyond the airwaves – and with some real success.
Maybe some of this is done “on the fly,” but more and more, radios personalities are starting to use digital and social platforms as a way to complement the “mother ship,” strengthen the landscape we “own” with the platforms we “rent” as we venture out in this social “wilderness.”
Focused on Impact
First, we start with one of the best case studies for using social and digital to “pinball” fans from the airwaves to the website to sharing socially to ultimately landing back at the “mother ship.” It was a recent campaign designed by Greater Media’s WRIF/Detroit afternoon star Meltdown and Program Director Mark Pennington.
Meltdown used the airwaves to “pinball” enough listeners to the website to vote for Jimmy Howard. Then fans were sent from the website to share this socially.
Proper balance of all the different channels is what garnered enough participation from fans to reach the goal of getting Jimmy Howard to play in the NHL All Star game (and the bonus of “local radio” getting thanked by a hometown hero on a national level.)
It’s one of the best campaigns I’ve seen radio do. The station was never compromised; in fact it was complemented and perceived as serving its local community while speaking to the passion of the WRIF audience.
The “Blog Space”
When it comes to the use of blogs in radio, people are always talking (or grumbling) about them. But at WIHT/Hot 99.5, Washington D.C.’s Toby Knapp understands the essence of it all.
The word “blog” in radio has always been misunderstood. I’m not sure why we ever called them blogs because it’s truly not about asking talent to write unique thought pieces every day.
The “blog space” for radio is more about building on your brand authority by expanding the content, telling the inside story about something discussed on-air, or providing a visual or personal context for what’s being talked about.
Toby also uses all of the social avenues that stations “rent,” such as Facebook, to strengthen the digital space the station “owns,” like his blog. Social is the gateway to his “space.”
He never sends people off to other sources such as Huffington Post or MTV.com. He understands that it’s about building on his authority – the station’s brand essence, and website metrics.
Building Social Value
This is one of Mark Zuckerberg’s five philosophical tenets. And in this department, Hubbard’s WTMX/The Mix (Chicago), Eric & Kathy are among the best in radio at making an impact on the world around them.
With guidance from their social media manager, Chris Petlak, Eric & Kathy aren’t afraid to get creative with emerging social platforms. The latest is Pinterest – where people “pin” their interests on boards created to tell stories.
Listeners love finding out about the morning show’s new favorite things, and they “pin” those items on their boards, expanding the show’s reach.
While we don’t yet know the full impact Pinterest can have on brands, Eric & Kathy aren’t afraid to try new things.
All three examples have specific takeaways that are crucial to building your brand’s digital and social value.
- WRIF’s Meltdown demonstrates how platforms can complement, not compromise the “mother ship.”
- WIHT’s Toby Knapp plays to the “rent/own” theory that we often discuss here on Merge – giving all of these platforms a cohesive vision by using the social spaces you “rent” to strengthen the digital spaces you “own.”
- WTMX’s Eric & Kathy serve as a reminder about how to be present and connected. Never underestimate the power of being where your audience is socially (no matter the emerging nature of the platform) to acknowledge your fans.
Radio’s emotional roots - the one-to-one relationships – are what make social and digital such a strong complement to our on-air product. Look at the array of channels as a way to better serve the relationships the radio stations are building each day.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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