What does it mean for a radio station to be online?
What if it doesn’t mean that a station should focus exclusively on its own website?
Consider, for example, what strengths radio really has over any other brand with a website. The most important strength is this one: Radio has listeners – lots of them. Lots of relationships between consumers and advertisers mediated by a radio station.
Now, when that audience moves to the web, what’s the best way for you to mobilize them?
Is it to “drive them to your over-the-air station’s website”?
After all, the reason they’re listening to your radio station is because you’re a radio station, not because you’re a website. And, by and large, the reasons they go online are for things which are different from – not the same as – what they can get offline.
We should not assume that our online purpose as radio stations is simply to deepen the relationship we have with listeners on our own station’s websites. No.
Instead, we must recognize that we can move listeners online where and when we want. Assuming we are moving them to something that has value to them. And why should we marginalize that value by placing it within the four walls of the radio station’s brand box?
Why shouldn’t we be moving listeners to websites that solve their problems, whatever they may be, and do so by leveraging our strong relationships – especially our strong local relationships – with audiences and advertisers, both.
But who should own and control these websites? We should.
But should your station’s logo be slathered all over the site? No. This site has nothing to do with your station. Because listeners aren’t visiting these sites for your logo or your station. They’re visiting them to solve their problems.
If radio stations are to recognize their true future as local media companies, then they have to recognize that the online destinations we send our audiences may have little or nothing to do with the brand of the radio station and its on-air content.
What’s important is who owns the site and who drives audience to it and who monetizes that audience, not whose over-the-air logo (if any) is on it.
Think about it. More later.