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 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.