Based on the digital landscape in radio today, here are 11 predictions for radio’s future in digital:
1. The fusion of on-air content and online platforms will be seamless.
As radio stations develop strong digital strategies for their on-air talent, the content and engagement of online platforms will be naturally integrated into the on-air show. As the request lines ring less and less, jocks will use texting, social media and website commenting platforms to add more listener interaction to their shows.
2. Air talent social media platforms will be owned by the radio companies who employ them.
Many of the major radio corporations are already enforcing company social media guidelines upon air talent for their individual and show accounts. While some may retain control based on a “grandfathered in” negotiation, many will lose control as they are required to follow specific rules and even give administrative access to corporate staff.
3. Air talent will be held accountable for their online results.
Website traffic and social media success will no longer be measured out of curiosity or used for bonuses only. Air talent will be required to meet quarterly goals set by management, for both the station website and their show’s digital platforms.
4. Stations will budget for social media third party apps.
To achieve results with social media, radio will invest in applications for scheduling, contesting, and analytics.
5. Podcasting will no longer be the redheaded stepchild of radio.
Radio will follow the model of television (think DVR, on-demand), super-serving the core listeners with on-demand listening. Instead of viewing podcasts as a threat to both radio’s ratings and budget, managers will innovate and restructure podcasts to create ROI, regardless of the minimal ratings return.
6. All stations will have mobile apps and websites.
As mobile website usage continues to rise, even the smallest companies will focus on the mobile optimization of their station websites, and will invest in reliable mobile listening apps.
7. Stations will own advanced video equipment.
As the pressure to incorporate video into digital strategies builds, stations will invest in video equipment for use in-studio, at promotional events, concerts, and client remotes.
8. Radio will invest in social gaming for branding and promotions.
As listeners become more savvy to standard online advertisements, digital strategists and sales managers will invest more money for better results, with creative branding campaigns and promotions using social gaming.
9. Radio sales executives will sell the entire brand, rather than just terrestrial radio.
As advertisers seek more creative, multi-platform ideas, radio’s sales superstars will view their station brand from a big picture perspective, creating unique solutions for clients that involve marketing from a variety of platforms.
10. The radio industry will become an early adopter to digital innovations.
We’ve watched the newspaper industry’s struggle to innovate, and we won’t be left behind. Radio companies will be exploring new innovations as they arise, mining them for revenue opportunities.
11. Social media strategists and content curators will be standard positions in the radio industry.
As radio’s digital efforts continue, companies will hire content producers and social media strategists to create online content, design individual station strategies, and measure results.
Get our your Magic 8 Ball and make a prediction of your own in the comments. I’d love to hear it!
Photo courtesy of Sassy-Stock at deviantart.com.
My main concern is that most air personalities are good at producing on-air content, but beyond writing :60 copy for commercials are not well trained. I see a lot of content that is copied and pasted from other sources or poorly written (mine included).
I am feeling the pressure now, we had a great book, but the web traffic is slowly being included in my goals. The trick is translating what works on the air to what works on the web. Often they are not the same.
As for podcasting, I have been doing it off and on since 2005 – I find that rather than repackage the radio show, I go for topics and material NOT covered on the show. Give them a reason to go online and listen.
Stephanie Winans says
I agree with you about poorly written (or copied) content. Some of that could be due to lack of education, but often it’s also due to being overwhelmed with too many duties.
The trick to translating what works is through measurement- so you can test your efforts to see what your audience responds to.
Great tips on podcasting! I bet your P1 listeners love it.
Great list… two more to add… consumers will engage their favorite stations thru online aggregators like iHeart and TuneIn rather than individual station apps. Most apps never get downloaded, but of those that do, a majority are used only once or twice.
Digital platforms will allow for time shifted audio consumption that is encoded and counts in the ratings. If a consumer only listens to 20 minutes of their favorite morning show on their drive to work, why not listen to other parts of the show that you didn’t hear on your drive home?
Stephanie Winans says
I love these two additions and couldn’t agree more with both of them. (I should have interviewed you for this post!)
Warren Whitlock says
I have been researching and reading about the fusion of radio and social media all afternoon. This is by far the best post I’ve read and I agree totally with everything except for number two.
I see the winners of the future being those that own their own shows… What goes on the air, and what happens online.
it has been a long time since I worked in radio. Every time I look at it, I’m shocked at how little it’s changed… workers should own the means of production, job security was always tenuous in radio… I’m surprised that more have not adapted to the new reality that broadcasters don’t have to be big corporations with tons of money
Stephanie Winans says
I hope you’re right! I agree that having control over your show’s brand (whether through ownership or a careful contract) is ideal.