In an exclusive interview in the April 27 Group Programmers Special Issue of R&R, Clear Channel executive VP of content development Tom Owens explains how rapidly changing consumer preferences are leading to “abbreviated” on-air content, where terrestrial stations are the bait, the Web is the catch and all roads lead to cell phone content convergence.
You could interperet Tom's quote here that the Web is more important than the terrestrial signal. Actually I sense Tom is really seeing that the Web Site is a hugely important interactive opportunity for your station and brand. The opportunity to dig in and offer podcasts, videos, downloads, and extended content from and around our broadcasts is a golden opportunity we are all missing. Taking the interview you had with a big band and taping it, or taking the un-edited version, or creating 'extra' moments from it and loading it up to the site for everyone to catch at their convience is a great opportunity. This is just one idea - there are many more and we often don't take the time or ignore the web opportunities.
The new world in the audience is INTERACTIVITY. With all the toys and tools of the web and it's spread to every nook and cranny of our communicative world radio has an opportunity to GO BEYOND BROADCASTING and start INTERACT-CASTING. We are no longer 'broadcasting' our format, music, opinions, or personality to the masses - we can now invite them into the dialog and the product. While our options on-air may be a bit limited to a few phone calls and features our the options on the web are limitless.
Yet, we often see programmers and management viewing the web as some kind of competitor instead of a partner and very valuable tool to build your brand and station into a multi platform monster.
Tom also points out that 'all roads lead to cell phone content convergence.' Radio used to be everywhere with portable radios, in the car, in the office, and at home. But, most radios just recieved our broadcasts and the audience passively listened in. Now Cell Phones are the 'everywhere appliance.' As cell phones become even more 'connected' radio will need to attach ourselves to this appliance somehow.
One thing I can't believe we don't start promoting and building up is FM Radio's in Cell Phones. It's really just a cheap extra chip in the phone and your station is connected. No web surfing fees, no data packages needed, and it even comes in when the service is weak. There are plenty of phones that have them.
Check out this one:
Beyond promoting these phones we need to start looking more and more at options to promote our entertaining content to any and all media within reason. Radio is no longer one of 2-3 options for enteratinment - it's one of thousands maybe millions. We can't overtake the rush of options only become a part of them.
Your Web Site or a Cell Phone interaction are not more important than the broadcast signal - but unless we start interacting with the audience on as may platforms as we can they will find plenty of entertainment in other places. We can either become a part of the new world or be buried in the old world.