Long ago, in a galaxy far away, I worked at a radio station that served a lot of small communities. We did our best to get news from as many of these little towns as we could. I remember one of the things we did was give away little plastic rain gauges (with a sponsor logo). On a morning following a big rain these “Weather Watchers” would call in and report how much rain they received.
I was reminded of this today when I came across @reportstorms, the Twitter page of ReportStorms.com. (“Almost 2″ of rain in Rockford, IL area”)
If I worked at a radio station that was trying to serve a regional audience, I think I might set up a Twitter page for each community and recruit a few people from each burg to feed them. I might even provide a mobile phone with minutes so they didn’t have to use their own. Bet you could build that into a sponsorship.
So when Holcomb, MO gets a down-pour, you get up-to-the-minute reports. Even pix. Nobody covering the Holcomb Hornets basketball game? Twitter away.
Pull the RSS feeds of all of these community Twitter pages into a branded and sponsored page on the radio station website. Maybe feature a different community feed on the station home page every hour.
Can’t find good news people to work at your station? Why not have hundreds? Once you get some traction, I bet you’ll have people waiting in line to join up.
Oh, and one more thing. The new iPhones coming out this summer are rumored to do video.
PS: As far as I know stations are already doing this. If you know of any, link me up.