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Radio websites: Why do you Exist?

Inside Radio today commented on the projection, noted here previously, that radio will get 2% of local web dollars.

That amount is dwarfed by the dollars newspapers and TV are expected to derive from local online sources this year.

Emmis’s Rey Mena correctly notes that the way users look at a radio site is “vastly different” from the way they may see a TV or newspaper site.

I agree, and I think this is a problem.

You see, for radio in the US the website is largely a “brand extension.” Another way to hear the same station, for example, or a list of what’s played on-air, or bios for the personalities, or whatever (yes, there are exceptions, but look at a hundred radio sites and I’m right on the money).

But both local newspaper and TV sites are built around their core news services. They provide more of what’s on the air or in print. They deepen the experience you go to those more traditional media forms for. They are not simply “extensions.” They are fuller, richer, deeper. They are highly content-based and have a clear reason to exist.

If it’s news I want, I go to the local newspaper website because no one locally is likely to offer it better.

If it’s more on a local TV story or an update on the local weather, I go to the local TV station website because I have a relationship with these particular newsreaders and now I can access them and their content 24/7.

Inside Radio notes that “despite fewer sites [TV and newspaper] are pulling in hundreds of millions more [dollars].”

No, not “despite” fewer sites but because of fewer sites.

Consumers have more good reasons to visit one newspaper site than thirty radio station sites.

Every radio website should ask this fundamental question: Why do we exist? What do we offer listeners that they can get nowhere else?

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