When Radio And Social Media Merge
November 6, 2012
It's funny how life plays out.
I had just finished writing what was going to be this week's Merge –how focusing on impact can help you find ways to become a memorable, anticipated brand in the social space and even differentiate you from your competitors.
And then I get an email from Bill Weston, the masterful PD of WMMR/Philadelphia. Everything I had just written about had played out beautifully on-air, on Facebook, and in real life.
As Bill related, "This is a wonderful story about social media, traditional media, and the talent of an on-air host to relate to so many."
And the story goes like this:
A fan of WMMR who is stuck on the Atlantic City Expressway calls the station to tell its midday guy and 30 year veteran, Pierre Robert, about a line of 15 out of state bucket trucks he spots heading to the Jersey shore.
He asks Pierre if he would give a shout-out and a word of thanks to these guys from Alabama Power. These guys have been driving for days to get up to Jersey to help restore power in Hurricane Sandy's aftermath.
So, Pierre airs the call and rolls into the classic opening chords of "Sweet Home Alabama."
Now in the B.F. times – Before Facebook – this is where the story would end. Pierre plays the song, several thousand listeners hear it and smile, and perhaps an Alabama Power trucker hears it in real time. In short, a nice moment where we always wondered if the right person (or people) even heard their name on the air.
But today, social media changes that story, magnifies it, and then allows for potentially thousands or more people to hear about it.
The Alabama Power guys not only heard the on-air gesture, they were so emotionally impacted by being acknowledged that the company took to Facebook and posted their gratitude:
But all of the dots didn't connect to WMMR until a rep from Alabama Power reached out socially to the station.
Jamie Sandford took the time to write on WMMR's Facebook page to let them know how much the crew appreciated Pierre's tip of the hat:
Another example of how Facebook can be fundamentally meaningful. As it has been written many times here on Merge, radio builds relationships every day, and social media is there to serve and strengthen those connections and communications with real human-speak - not corporate/promotional type talk.
Mark Zuckerberg has given radio an incredible gift. Beyond the metrics like conversion traffic to our websites, it is these emotional moments that pack the most power. Nearly 900 people shared this story all over Facebook, connecting it to their communities. (It's an even bigger deal when you consider that most people don't typically share posts on Facebook from a utility company!)
When radio does what does best – telling moving stories that matter to people and having a moving, emotional impact on other people's lives – Facebook is the engine that allows them to quickly and easily share those moments with the friends and family they care about the most.
But it requires sensitivity and a team like WMMRs that is present and connected to their fans who call in to create these unforgettable moments.
As Mark Zuckerberg reminds us about Facebook, "One definition of technology is that it extends human capability. A social network extends people's real social capacity.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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