By Jay Douglas
There was a bit of grumbling going on at the Radio Luncheon at the National Association of Broadcasters show last week. A few people near me, and I expect elsewhere in the room, were unhappy that Kim Komando’s keynote speech came across as self-promotional.
I’m sorry they felt that way, because they missed the point of her talk. There’s a good chance, too, their feelings stood in the way of their walking out the door with some valuable take-aways, information that could transform their station’s online efforts from ho-hum (or worse) to high revenue.
Before those take-aways made sense, however, Komando had to describe the scope of her Phoenix operation.
She isn’t a radio star any more. She’s a hyphenate: radio personality-video star-online presence-entrepreneur. From her new 24,000-square-foot broadcast facility she turns out a constant stream of integrated information and entertainment. Hence, the perception Komando was on a self-promotion tour.
She was putting a new spin on an old story, the one about how we’ve gone from programming for radio to programming for the multi-platform universe in which our listeners receive information and seek out entertainment. If you missed the luncheon, or if you were there and. . .uh. . .sharing your feelings, here are some take-aways from her talk that you can put into action at your station right now.
- The business we used to call broadcasting, with its straight line from microphone to listener, is now best represented by a hub-and-spoke diagram. At the hub is the engine, the platform where you generate the information and entertainment—what I call programming—that attracts your core audience.
- Your hub programming defines your unique take/slant/perspective/point of view on the information and entertainment you share. Your hub programming answers that age-old listener question, “Why do I care?”
- For radio stations, Komando defines the hub as both your on-air and your online programming (which may include an Internet stream and most certainly should include a website). Forget the idea that you’re “adding” a digital component to your radio station. If your online programming isn’t seamlessly integrated with your on-air programming, your hub—that engine that drives what you do—is running at a fraction of its potential.
- Duplicating your on-air content on your website is a bit like playing the same album cut all week. The novelty wears off quickly. Listening to the radio and reading/viewing content online are two different animals that warrant unique presentations. Ask yourself what you can do on the air that you can’t do online. And, vice versa. Then, shape your programming accordingly.
- You have to think of your operation as a clear channel station rather than daytimer. Stopping at a radio signal plus web presence costs you the opportunity to reach an audience 24 hours a day. Your listeners get information and entertainment from a variety of sources. including blog posts, newsletters, and social media. These are the spokes that originate at the hub and reach out to your audience.
- A station newsletter spoke extends your on-air and/or online programming with fresh information. It doesn’t rehash what’s been pushed out along a different spoke.
- A video spoke adds a new dimension to your programming. But go beyond the camera-in-the-studio thinking. What part of your programming can be adapted to a regular video show? (My thoughts: Musicians performing live in your studio makes for engaging radio but great YouTube content. And quiz shows with local contestants and questions based around events in your radio service area make for must-see TV, too.)
- Social media is a critical spoke—if you understand its benefits and limitations. Leaning on social media exclusively to build an audience for your hub programming is like building an audience solely with liners. Instead, think of social media as your public file writ large and shared with the world. Only now, your talent—the public face of your hub programming—get to talk back from the perspective of that take/slant/perspective/point of view that makes your programming unique.
So, kudos to Komando for seizing on the new opportunities available to those of us who used to be mere broadcasters, and for letting us peek behind the curtain to see how she promotes her programming.
And, once or twice, herself.
Jay Douglas writes humorous blog posts and “bet you didn’t know that” posts at www.theoutofmymindblog.com. His posts about the intersection of radio and podcasting are at www.thetheaterofyourmind.com. He also produces “Small Talk,” a series of free short features built for local sponsorship. Reach him at 323-856-1795.