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The new face of Internet radio

Yesterday I visited an Internet radio station (details about this station much later).

That’s what you’re supposed to call it, I guess.

Because they are an Internet radio station that has a full commitment to things that are very much unrelated to “radio” and much more related to “Internet.”

One of the things radio stations fail to generally understand is that their existence online is not limited to buying a website template from a dedicated radio website template developer and pasting up banner ads and a stream player to their heart’s content.

For radio, the Internet is not a brand extension, contrary to conventional thinking. It is the new brand.

So the question your station must ask itself is this: What would we be and do if we didn’t have a broadcast tower at all and only had a website? How would we build this thing?

Granted, we function primarily in our local community, so the broadcast tower is our most significant marketing tool for our website (rather than the other way around), but what should our brand experience be online?

What community elements do we offer? What video do we provide? Can you get traffic and weather and news updates via TXT or email? How often does the content change (the answer should be “constantly”)? Do listener hear everything you have when they listen to your stream or does the website add a visual and interactive component that your visitors (not listeners) can’t live without? Is there a game-related element to the site? Do you encourage listeners to tell others about it via online links? In what ways are we either the best in the world or the most different at whatever we do?

How big is your commitment to making this happen?

Or are you too busy cutting staff to make an investment of this type in your future, one which clearly won’t pay off tomorrow?

Compare your efforts to those of the Internet radio station I visited, which is plainly planning for the digital future with a room full of painfully young artists creating digital and video content, live bands rolling through regularly (and a performance room for them to play in), a real-life air studio and another production studio, two station vans in the lot, and a programmer at the wheel who has helmed major radio stations before and knows full well that he is finally constrained not by what he must do, but what he could and should do.

Say “hello” to your new competition, where “radio” is only a tiny slice of the opportunity.

Don’t you wish you worked there?

Shouldn’t this be where you work now?

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