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Is Radio Serious about the Internet?

I’m not so sure.

And I’m not talking about streaming here. It’s already clear that radio is not necessarily serious about that, or we wouldn’t suffer endless debates about whether or not we should create a business model native to the Internet that leverages all the wonderful advantages of technology to offer up targeting and dimensionality and accountability to clients who desire it and consumers who appreciate it.

Yes, we should do all that.

No, we should not simply aspire to simulcast our streams with our over-the-air product so as to increase our odds of winning what Arbitron describes as “ratings estimates” but what I prefer to consider an illegal lottery.

But hey, I’m not talking about streaming here. I’m talking about being serious about web design.

You remember web design. It’s what makes up your website. Way back at the end of 2012 Mashable crowned 2013 “The Year of Responsive Web Design.”

What is “responsive web design”? According to Wikipedia, it’s a “web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).”

It’s a myth that there are only desktops and apps. Apps may have special functionality, but they must be specifically downloaded and accessed – a major speed bump, whereas your site is always available on the same mobile browser the consumer uses for everything else she browses for. No downloads required. Consumers are irritated when forced to download apps unless they feel the problems those apps are designed to solve. And by “irritated,” I mean “they just won’t do it.”

Consider my site, It was accessed on 167 mobile devices alone in the past month, and almost 30% of all traffic is mobile or tablet. How much of YOUR traffic is mobile? And how much would your traffic increase if your site was more mobile-friendly? Or, put another way, how many fans are you turning off?

This is why I have just completed a top-to-bottom responsive redesign of my site (check it out if you’re reading this by email). And it boggles my mind that so very few broadcasters – with resources considerably greater than my own – have not followed suit.

To be sure, there are exceptions – Federated Media is a big one, for example. And NPR is an even bigger one. But what is it that Federated and NPR know that you don’t?

Yes, I know it’s more complicated for a digital team to work with responsive sites, but as far as I know no consumer has ever shed a tear for the challenges faced by the technicians employed by their favorite brands. It’s about me – the consumer – not you.

If your radio brand has a website that’s intended to be pinched and squeezed on mobile devices, you are inviting your audience to go someplace else next time.

And if you turn them off on the web it’s that much more difficult to turn them on on the air.

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