Bridging the Techno Gap

Posted January 23rd in General

Never before could two people be so closely connected, or held so far apart by technology. In any given living room, at any given time, a grandparent can be on Facebook, a seven year old is taking pictures on an iPad, and a father is struggling to find the “alt” key while attempting to pay bills.

In a world where age and education do not seem to matter when it comes to technological knowledge and exposure, it is radio’s challenge and privilege to connect neighbors and family members through the same brand.

It would be foolish for those in radio to think instead of gathering around the radio on evenings– as families did during radio’s heyday–that everyone simply gather’s around a computer to listen to the radio’s stream.

Though the cume on radio’s streams are rising rapidly, as well as the usage of smartphone and tablet apps, there is still a technological gap between a father who listens in his pickup all day, and a son, who interacts more with his finely tuned playlist than his parents.

Radio’s biggest asset to its listeners is its local appeal. Whether it’s a playlist created on online, or an iTunes account that’s been accruing songs for the last ten years, it’s difficult to compete with personalization. However, localization, combined with re-packaging the station’s existing brand, can do wonders.

Our stations partner with Tune Genie (often locally called “Our Playlist,” “WXYZ Jukebox” or something similar)  to offer listeners the locality of their favorite radio station, and the ability to create playlists of their favorite songs, and post updates on Facebook, all branded with the local stations’ logo and tagline. Not only does this serve the listener with personalized playlists, but also it furthers the local brand by exposing it to the listener’s social network.

Of course, no listener can be browbeaten into using online content.  But, monthly, we see consumers using our products online for longer and more often, simply because they want to.  There are still a plethora of listeners who listen at work, in their car, call in during the morning and afternoon drive, and that’s the extent of their participation. Bless them; they are the foundation of radio.

The goal, however, is that at some point, a son says to his dad while listening to his dad’s favorite classic rock station in the car, “Hey dad, if you don’t get someone when you call in, I can show you how to enter to win their Van Halen tickets online too if you want.”  Or, “Hey, I’ve got that song on my playlist too!”


About the Author

I draw from my experience in digital, print and broadcasting to continuously look for creative ways to link our listenership with our incredible local businesses.