Can Social Media Revive the Radio Star?

Video may have killed the radio star, but social media is bringing back the radio station. In today’s world of 24/7 connectivity, traditional forms of media have found they either need to adapt or they’ll become obsolete. While television and film industries have been slowly adapting to the new way of the world, radio has been a little slower to jump on the bandwagon.

A Changing Perspective

And really, why would they? The radio has always been the Twitter to television’s blog. You’d listen to the radio, and little bits of news or current events would be fed to you between songs. It was constant and you got spoon fed important bits as you listened.

However, in today’s onlinecentric world, we can get everything the radio offers with none of the interruption of commercials. Pandora,, and other digital music services offer custom radio stations based on your interests. And if you want the news, flip over to Twitter, and you can see what’s happening without even interrupting your listening.

So how does the traditional radio station keep you interested? By creating an engaging social media campaign. NPR has recently brought on Gary Knell, who was responsible for turning Sesame Street from a simple children’s show into an online powerhouse of interactive fun. NPR is hoping he can do the same for them.

Robert Siegel's been looking a little green..

However, NPR is not the best example. They already deliver something unique as a nationally syndicated talk radio station. They have numerous interviews and guest speakers that you won’t find elsewhere. While a strong social media campaign will bring them new listeners, they weren’t looking at closing their doors anytime soon.

No, the people who NEED the strong social strategy are the traditional radio shows. Sure, most of them have a morning talk show and personable DJs, but their content is still primarily focused on delivering music. Music I can get from Pandora.

Even in the car, you can plug your smartphone into the radio and listen to Pandora as long as you get 3G, which is pretty much everywhere at this point. If I’m taking a long road trip, why would I struggle to keep finding stations I like when my phone delivers the same station everywhere I go?

Tune In

So how can social media keep listeners tuned in? It’s all about content and interaction. You need to deliver the content people want and interact with your fan base. Nearly every radio station is online already, but that’s not really enough. Radio needs to have a campaign strategy that encourages listeners to actually listen.

  • Encourage DJs and talk show hosts to interact via Twitter and Facebook live. This encourages people to interact and gives you some great feedback.
  • Run contests both online and off. Most radio stations are constantly giving stuff away on air. Make sure you fill your online fans in, but require them to listen in order to win. Name that song type of contests are great for that.
  • Pull the videos for songs you’re playing off YouTube and put it up on Twitter or Facebook.  Better, pull fan made videos and post them. YouTube is full of homemade videos for nearly any song. Video is a strong sell online.
  • Encourage listeners to go interact with the social media campaign. I this day and age, people can listen to your radio station from anywhere they have a computer. If you live in a tourist industry based area, connect with listeners who will be listening to you when they come within radio distance. Expand your audience by expanding your area of influence.

But What About the Future?

Those are just a few ways social media can help a radio station. But realistically, even with these measures, it may just be delaying the death of radio. With digital content becoming more and more easy to access from anywhere, fewer people are looking at traditional methods of content distribution. The only sound coming from print is a death rattle, and Hulu, Netflix and Amazon On Demand prove that the TV can already see the end drawing nigh.

How much longer can it be until music radio has its final broadcast?

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