The Trouble With Content

20 Oct

Radio was easy a few years ago.

The competition  was limited to what people could pull out of the air locally.

Now it comes from all sides, radio, the web, WIFI, IPODS, IPhones, and I’m probably forgetting some.

It is tough out there.

So what is a radio station to do?

Simple.  Focus on creating content.

A few years ago, the President of a large radio group boasted  that his company had lots of content.  They could take it an re-use it or re-purpose it on the web and it would generate additional income.

Not so fast there big guy.  Most radio stations don’t create much of their own content.

The music they play isn’t theirs.  Imaging between the songs isn’t content.  .

Most jocks have little to say other than to plug the website or what was already said in the imaging.

That big radio company hasn’t been all that successful on the web.

Talk radio is different but most talk stations are programmed from networks.  Most local stations create very little content of their own, and probably won’t have rights to re-use the network stuff on the web.

Local news is content.  Only a handful of stations  have anything resembling a local news room.

Most stations have very small  overworked staffs focused on  keeping the station on the air.  No one in the building has time to create more content.

Yet content is being cranked out at enormous rates on the internet by regular people.  Blogs like this one and hundreds of podcasts are examples.

The web is loaded with experts and  hobbyists  each with a passion for specific subject.  They are creating content that touches the real life interests of your listeners.

Radio is competing with the guy down the street for a share of the audience’s attention.  Soon WiFi will bring thousands of  radio stations from around the world to the car.

Content tells your story , builds the brand and most importantly adds value to the lives of your listeners/readers/viewers.

People already spend more time on line each week than they do listening to your radio station.

Facebook’s size is equal in population to the fourth largest country in the world.

The station website will be the primary channel from which your audience will access your stuff.

The thinking at radio must change.  Instead of being a radio station with website attached, it will be a website with radio station attached.

Your station either becomes an important part of their on-line experience or you go away.

This is not about putting the same old  stuff in a new package. This is about creating content that that is not heard on your  transmitter.

New day.  New time.  New rules.

Radio can‘t worry about the train leaving the station when the rocket ship is heading to Mars.

Let‘s hope it hasn‘t already left.

1 Comment

Posted by on October 20, 2009 in Uncategorized


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One response to “The Trouble With Content

  1. jsadsinger

    February 17, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Well said! Radio is currently in a very sad state! I have seen so many radio friends of mine fall victim to the new PPM madness. While I don’t disagree with the data it’s provided I do disagree with the literal interpretation. Personality radio is dead? Please…Are people turned off by announcers when they crack the mic? Why wouldn’t they be? Thanks to coporate mentality and the research agencies the only thing announcers are allowed to say when they open the mic are the liner cards in front of them. How can listeners identify with any announcers when they all sound exactly the same? How boring! Insead of loosing personalities because of missreading data I think stations should be encouraging reasearchers to find out what the pulse of their audience is and use that data to empower more personality on ALL shifts. (Hey consultants…are you listening?) Most stations,no matter what the format, have one thing in common right now…nothing new or interesting to offer listeners. Same old contests,same old station promotions,same old imaging…”we play the best…blah..blah..blah..with the biggest voice we can find and call it station imaging. No wonder radio is in the fix it’s in. If that’s the only thing you have to hang your image on then you’re lucky to have an image at all! It’s all about the flash without the substance. And EVERYONE is doing the same boring things. What radio need is an enema to shit out the boring crap they try to pass of as entertainment. No one is buying it anymore. No one is being fooled except the corporate office who pays way too much money for consultants who tell them to sound more like an I-Pod. Really? That’s all you got? Radio now wants to do battle with the I-Pod? …what the….The problem here is that I-pods DONT HAVE COMMERCIALS or Boring liner card readers! Good luck with that.

    Nothing unexcpected or creative is offered to listeners so why is anyone surprised by the lack of interest when the mic gets turned on? People are starving for entertainment and a break from the bad news that we all hear every day and announcers are all told to shut up and play the music. That just doesn’t seem right. It feels like a great opportunitiy to communicate with a more complex audience is being waisted. It just takes some creativity and talent…isn’t that what is supposed to happen in this business? Radio can still be thatre of the mind and sound more like everyone is having fun but instead it chooses to be mundane, predictable and scared to death to take any chances.

    The pendulum, sooner or later, must swing back the other way and allow announcers to be personalities that are zoned in to what the listener wants.

    Like my old boss said (back in the 70’s) “All stations play good songs” If you don’t give listeners more than that how do you expect to grow you audience? You may keep the listeners who like the same stuff over and over but do you really believe that you can get any listener loyalty with liner card readers?

    It only takes one station to have the balls and take a chance and when that finally happens watch everyone else start playing follow the leader.

    Right now radio takes itself way too seriously and because of this it has stopped being fun to listen to not only for the listeners but for the people who work there as well.

    The corporate world is a world that lives in a “bottom line” mentality but what they forgot, at the top, is that radio (while all of us on the inside know it’s a revenue stream)is supposed to be entertaining. If you don’t want to enetrtain your audience then why not just automate the whole damn thing? Give them something to stick around for. Everyone will be happy and talented personalities won’t have to worry about losing their jobs because of a simple minded interpretation of data.


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