Stations proudly proclaim their mobile apps: “Now on the iPhone!” – as if having an iPhone app were somehow essential.
It is not.
Too many stations are viewing these apps as ways to further monetize their content rather than seeing them for what they are supposed to be: Solutions to consumer problems.
Even the games (among the most popular apps) solve the problem of how to conveniently pass the time and have a little fun doing so (the question of why no radio station wraps its brand around a game is one I’ll leave for another post).
Well, you might say, my app solves the problem of “I want to listen to the station on my iPhone.” Exactly who has that problem other than the cast and crew of your own radio station? I’ll bet you don’t have more than a few hundred people in your market with this problem – total.
None of this is to suggest you should skip the iPhone or other mobile platforms – quite the contrary. But you need to recognize that before you create an iPhone app you need to be worth experiencing on an iPhone. Because the app isn’t for you – it’s for those who would call themselves your fans. And those fans can already hear your station – what they can’t do is experience your brand on the iPhone. What they can’t do is hear, see, or do something other than your station – from you – on their iPhone. And only when you aggregate those fans can their behaviors be monetized.
So what question are you asking?
Is it “How do we get the cheapest iPhone app?”
Or is it “Are we worth experiencing on an iPhone? What is that rich experience that will attract fans aplenty, and what is it worth to us?”
Consider what you should do on an iPhone before deciding that’s where you belong.