One-Way Media is Boring

My favorite local radio station started promoting that their listener VIP club now has a way to join by texting in to their short code. Yesterday my favorite morning show on that station was doing their popular call in trivia segment. A listener called in and mentioned that she and her husband text message each …   Read More

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My favorite local radio station started promoting that their listener VIP club now has a way to join by texting in to their short code. Yesterday my favorite morning show on that station was doing their popular call in trivia segment. A listener called in and mentioned that she and her husband text message each other from their separate cars to guess the answer.

Snap! An idea hit me that the DJs could announce that once a week the trivia segment would be answered not by call in, but by text in. The catch would be that only VIP members could guess the answer by text message.

The VIP membership would soar. Plus, instead of getting 5-10 guesses from callers who could get through on the limited phone lines they could get thousands of guesses.

I quickly fired off an email to the show to tell them my idea.

The first answer I got back from one of the DJs was that this sounded boring for the listeners. So I replied back to suggest that the texted in guesses could be read out on air as they came streaming into their email from the phones. I said that listeners would love being able to participate.

Her response left me perplexed. She said very bluntly “we don’t really care if more people can participate” and furthermore went on to say that “how they get people into the VIP club is not really my concern.”

Wow. So in her old media mindset it is all about the listeners just shutting up and listening. The only way she can understand people being entertained is by the same old way radio has been done for years. And she really didn’t give a hoot that her listeners might really love to text in their guesses.

On top of that she failed to see that having a robust VIP club gives their show leverage. A way to get more people to their free summer concert. A way to remind listeners to donate during their annual charity marathon. It gives her ad sales department a way to prove that people are still listening to radio and actively participating with it.

But I guess all that is just plain boring. I’ll just shut up and listen.

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4 comments

  1. Eric Harber

    Everyday at HipCricket we work to make sure fans of broadcasters and brands do just the opposite of “shut up and listen”. Although sending a text message to your favorite station or company doesn’t make a lot of noise, it can leave a lasting impression. Especially if those on the receiving end understand the value of a 1-to-1 relationship with a customer. Traditional media is struggling due to the type of dated attitude you described while digital mediums continue to gain market share. The truth is print, radio and television must find a better way to prove their effectiveness and, more importantly, to actively engage consumers. In today’s world of crowds and clouds, power is truly shifting to the people. Not only do consumers have the luxury of choice, but they can often customize, or at least personalize, the products they purchase. It’s even becoming commonplace to invite individuals to participate early in the product development cycle. HipCricket’s clients that interact with customers on their most personal devices have thriving databases and growing revenues. And, in the current economic environment, results like these are far from “boring”.

  2. yourhometownradio.com » One way media is boring, or is it safer to just try the old fashioned way and be caller #10?

    […] thoughts limited to 140 characters.  However, they sometimes lead to interesting articles.  “One Way Media is Boring is one of those articles.  The writer, Kim, wrote an interesting concept: Yesterday my favorite […]

  3. Donny Kemick - Life's Mobile

    As a relatively “mature” entertainment channel, you would think that a radio station would be looking for new ways to interact and make radio more entertaining.

    Fully agree with Eydie that getting in touch with the marketing director would probably yield better results… DJ should be embarrassed for talking to someone like that. How would they feel if you went to their competitor(s) with the idea and it was successful?

  4. Eydie

    If it’s any consolation, I think maybe it’s the fact she’s a DJ–sorry, on-air personality–and sometimes their minor celebrity inflates their egos to the point that they don’t think anyone knows better than them.

    Your story reminded me of when I used to write a music column for a daily newspaper in Florida. A minor local radio station had a Sunday night broadcast dedicated to local music. One night when I tuned in, it was during a discussion of new proposed laws that would basically end nighttime local music performances. Feeling like this was something for which local media should band together and prevent, I called in and said, “Hi, this is Eydie from [newspaper] and I’d be interesting in writing about this ban. Do you know anything more?” The DJ’s answer: “Sorry, all I know is how to stink up a room, babe!”

    Right there, the radio station passed up a big chance to market itself as a real proponent of local musicians and the community. Instead, it cemented just how much of a small-town, flaccid operation it was.

    But thinking about both these situations: I’m wondering if maybe the radio station marketing director is really the person to contact? (The DJ in all fairness probably doesn’t know much about the operations side–just goes on-air when she’s supposed to, and makes in-person appearances whenever directed by her boss.) In this economy, at least the marketing director fully understands the financial need for increased, more loyal listenership. Texting is a very cheap and effective way to achieve this!

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