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News/Talk Radio becomes News/Talk VIDEO

What do you call a News/Talk station that’s investing in original web video programming?

You call it a station that understands “news” is what the consumer wants, the way he wants it.  “News” is not a newscast or the kind of news that limits itself to audio.

And Bonneville’s KTAR has one such station.  They debuted a modest investment in video equipment (and I mean more than Flip cams, thank you) during the recent election.  This represents exclusive video content – not a camera in the air studio playing the voyeur to a simulcast radio show.

Here’s a peek at what they created:

Says KTAR’s Russ Hill:

Our reporters did updates from the political party victory parties for radio and then stood up and looked into the camera and did live hits on video.  Our personalities who headlined our radio coverage took turns walking out of the radio studio and over to our video set where they went on for 10 minutes.  All of this provided natural cross promotion opportunities as the talent talked about stepping away from radio to go be on camera and vice versa. Election night was only the beginning.  We have plans to produce a video channel available online and on mobile devices that will feature original program 8 hours a day.  We’ll be debuting this in first quarter of 11.  We’re building the lineup of diverse programming right now.  These will all be exclusive web programs utilizing our radio talent as well as new talent we’re developing or using in the market. All this video will NOT be branded with our radio call letters.   It will be under a new brand that will allow us to cast our net wider.  The video will allow us to transform our personalities into multi-platform talent which will increase their value, help promote our terrestrial products, and create brand new revenue models.

In case you are seeing all this and asking yourself “why are you wasting the money?” perhaps you should consider this larger question:  If you’re in the local news business how can you possibly justify not using video to amplify your news efforts and satisfy the news needs of new (and predominantly younger) audiences who will increasingly get their news from the Internet – and I don’t mean your audio stream?

It also probably didn’t escape your notice that all of this is perfectly monetizable.

Added Russ:

We are now finally getting serious about doing more than capturing radio people doing radio on video.  No one really wants to see that. Our first stab at it was on election night.  Sure, we had our five hour live, continuous coverage on radio.  But, on the other side of the newsroom we utilized other people on our staff and did exclusive web video content. Now, our first attempt at this won’t win us any Emmy awards, but it has started a ball rolling in our shop that is going to produce some pretty remarkable things in the months ahead.

Great change doesn’t come without great commitment.

And neither does great profits.

Kudos to Russ and the crew at KTAR.

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