Everyday I pour over Christian and General Market Radio Stations and analyze their potential reach and people ask what I am looking for? My job as a media representative is to come up with how media is presented and integrated in a way that helps families thrive. One of the judgement calls I make in choosing where programs that I represent are heard is I pull their numbers (Arbitron in Radio’s case), I examine their websites (Quantcast and write a review of the interactive, ease of use; widgets, links and overall design) and I also look at the program guide, how updated or not the site is, look for cool phone aps and the I try them all out.)
Gently down the stream
Sadly in an integrated radio world the effort of developing websites is not a front burner issue for radio or TV stations. Sure there are a lot of streams out there but some are embarrassingly jerky. One Christian station had a dove as an icon that hovered and flapped it’s wings to which I said, “If anything comes out of that dove I’m leaving!”
There is so much to judge these days. You can have a great digital presence and be lacking online or you could have both the digital and the online in order but have a tower that doesn’t reach across the street. A radio station that has a full powered FM or HD signal for their AM, a digital studio, and an online presence also is investing in the past, present and an ear to the future.
It appears that stations that are owned by an educational institution or University and has some educational media and arts center captures the three ways radio will continue to play out. A community minded radio station who does community outreach very well garners listeners. Web sites give you digital publishing capabilities that track readers and integrates the components of interactive media with the terrestrial. That also goes hand in hand with churches as well.The component of archiving content that is available anytime a listener wants is also a capability that “can’t miss,” literally.
Highlights of pieces longer than 20 minutes allows the listener and the radio station to have automatic content that can be adapted to localizing a national or international show. A station in Canton, Ohio did a contest on healthy marriages last week and interviewed Marriage Experts all week and then awarded materials to the married couple who told their story about what works in their marriage. The contest was opened to lifetime marriages that celebrated over ten years of marriage in the listening area. While that station has a digital, online and tower-terrestrial signal, they also have a community outreach and ties into Canton-Akron.
Yes Virginia, you can judge a radio station by it’s website. If they care about their community and getting the message out, then they are in-tune with what the community wants to read about, listen to and what to view. That tracks well in markets large and small and the impact is evergreen.