Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mason's Minute: Your Stations Community

I hate blogs which do nothing but reprint good stuff from other ones, so that should tell you that I don't reprint this lightly.
"Radio stations tend to stubbornly resist the idea that their audiences are communities with a common interest in the radio station and instead view those audiences as pawns in a game of Arbitronic chess. The way to move listeners is by facilitating and motivating their movement, not by "forcing" it. So, in other words, if you build a community worth participating in, they'll come. And if you don't, all the contests in the world will only nudge you along a path to progress" - Mark Ramsey, Mercury Research
Ramsey covered the use of video by radio stations in his blog last Saturday, and it included the above quote, which is a topic all of its own.

How come a TV show called Oprah and a soap called Dove can create on-line communities, but radio stations don't? We marvel at the success of MySpace and YouTube, but we still stand on the sidelines and observe as this phenomenon continues. It reminds me of my wish that stupidity hurt, and that most of us would be in pain of so. Radio used to be run and populated by cutting edge people who would embrace new technology and succeed with it. But the people in control are so short sighted their vision doesn't go past the next quarter. Worse, some of them don't care about the future of radio, and are instead planning their Internet strategies, which are bound to fail because they've missed one of the principle poinrs of all this new technology - they're not in charge, the consumer is.

That thought strikes fear into the hearts and minds of many broadcasters. They've been thinking they're in charge for so long they either refuse to acknowledge it, or they just shake their heads in wonder. Why am I not surprised that Jack San Diego's GM Tracy Johnson is working on this, along with a few others? Like very few others, Tracy thinks and breathe innovation.

Not everyone can create a social network from their station, but many can. It works best for stations with a high level of P1's and a large cume. It may not work at all without an emotional connection with your listeners. Those are just some of the rules for facilitating a social network via radio. But they're enough to step off and make a decision to facilitate one.

Where are you? Are you planning your effort, or are you about to feel the pain of stupidity? -- Alan Mason

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