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How the Internet can Save Radio

Is the Internet TV’s “secret sauce?”  And how can it be the same for radio?

From MediaPost:

Even with the boom in social media, TV is apparently roaring. One reason: a certain synergy has developed, where TV brand-building is driving Internet deep-diving. The dynamic has an element of direct response to it, with advertisers eager to drive people to the Web to make a purchase, get more information about a product, watch an added video, or become a Facebook friend and, if exceedingly lucky, become a brand evangelist. Chris Geraci, a managing director at OMD, noted Wednesday how the link is propelling TV spending: “I don think back then any of us really envisioned  this reciprocal relationship that’s going on right now, where television is actually better because of the Internet,” he said. “Not just online viewing — that ability to get more information and get more involved in what you’re seeing.”

In other words, the “megaphone” of legacy media is driving attention to digital destinations that spring from content on-air and magnetize consumers and advertisers, alike.

Continues MediaPost:

Initiative’s Kris Magel said the use of TV as a digital driver is prompting clients to up TV spending. “You’ve got this giant megaphone that is television that drives all this awareness, all this curiosity,” he said. “And you’ve got digital that’s now really developed into something amazing, sitting there like a giant catcher’s mitt pulling people in.” MTV Networks has made strides in using its brands as social-media conversation starters. It wants to turn that banter into more fruitful advertising opportunities — for example, a chance to attach advertising to the flurry of online conversation that takes place during an event such as the “Video Music Awards.” Synched with TV spots, that can be “a very powerful package,” said Jeff Lucas, who heads sales for networks such as MTV and Comedy Central.

This is a perfect illustration of my “media as megaphone” concept come to life.

So if TV can do it, why not radio?

Radio can, of course.  And here’s what you need to make it happen:

1.  Content that demands and stokes attention, interest, and passion.

Being consistently unremarkable, being the station “everyone can agree on,” is not the way to ignite attention, interest, or passion.

Instead, you need content people want to talk about and dig deeper into.  You need to spread a trail of breadcrumbs such that the path is actually worth following wherever it leads.  This is much more likely to be about what’s between the songs than about the way the songs are mixed and how short your breaks can be.

Indeed, every content element should be conceived from the outset to be live “cross-platform.”  This is a far cry from getting “a website for your show.”

2.  Recognition that the Internet is not an afterthought, it’s not a brand ornament, it’s not a station website, and it’s not a part-time job

Sow and you shall reap.  Scrimp and save and you shall waste your time and every one of your pinched pennies.

3.  The knowledge that content and sales are the same business.

Without content there are no sales, and without sales there is no content. These are not different functional areas, they are simply at different ends of the same continuum.  Great content can come from content makers or content sellers, ideally both in a collaborative stew.

One of radio’s problems is the notion that “programming” = “content.”  That is, the digital effort is the afterthought, while the over-the-air effort is the main, if not exclusive, thrust.  I’m here to tell you there is no such thing as “programming.”  There is only content across many platforms.

“But all the money is on-air,” you might say.  That’s because you are busy milking the cow dry, not nurturing baby calves.

I have had direct involvement with some of the work of MTV Networks which crosses both on-air and online boundaries, and I can tell you that no content is conceived without both parts in the formula.

It all starts with the idea.

From that comes executions of content in every shape and distribution channel possible and monetizable.

That’s why the most important things you need are…

4.  Ideas.

And the people who love them.

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