Merging radio and the web

One of our affiliate relations reps shared this story with me a few days ago and I’m posting it so I can find it later. And I might have some of the particulars wrong but they don’t change the point of the story.

Small market radio station manager gets a call from a program syndicator, trying to clear a three hour Christmas special. The station manager doesn’t want to commit that much time but likes the program and suggests they put the program on the station’s website, clear the syndicator’s commercials on the radio station and promote the special (online) on the air.

Hmmm.

Now, every program provider will tell you how important it is that the spots air inside the programming. They might have even sold that aspect to the advertisers. But when all is said and done (note that I did not say, "At the end of the day"), it’s really about getting the spots on the air.

Is there some obvious synergy here? Could web-savvy radio stations take this approach to enrich their online offering and pull more local listeners (and advertisers) to their websites?

And while there are only 24 hours in the on-air programming clock, there are no limits online. A station could have a sports "channel," an ag channel, a home fix-up channel and on and on.

Yes, I see the limitation. For now, it’s those 30 second radios spots that have value to the advertiser. The radio station still has to program a radio station the people want to listen to.

And all my "what if’s" and "how about’s" are predicated on the idea that radio stations must be more than "radio" stations. They’ve got to find a way to survive online. We all do.

If I had a little AM Daytimer (insert joke here), I might fill my air time with excerpts from a wide variety of programming (as local as I could afford to make it) on my website(s).

As for networks and syndicators that rely on getting their programs (commercials) on all those radio stations… their fortunes are tied to the radio stations. To paraphrase the old saw about land, God isn’t making any more 30’s and 60’s. But He/She has an endless supply of web pages.

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