Category Archives: Digital/Social/Web

Behind the Scenes of “The KSHE Tapes” Podcast with The U-Man and Favazz

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

When I was working in the programming department of WBCN in Boston back at the beginning of this century, we had a closet full of recordings that had accumulated over the years. These include several decades’ worth of performances by and interviews with bands like The Ramones, Pearl Jam and Linkin Park. I have often wondered what happened to that treasure trove of music history. As I’ve watched the internet grow over the years, I’ve frequently thought about how many people would love to listen to those recordings online.

As it turns out, I’m not the only person who had that thought. Morning host John “The U-Man” Ulett and afternoon drive jock Guy “Favazz” Favazza of KSHE 95 in St. Louis, another legendary rock station with decades of heritage to mine, have launched a new podcast called “The KSHE Tapes” which features interviews from the station’s past. They’ve dug up old conversations with some of rock’s biggest names, including Paul McCartney, Slash, Alice Cooper, and Sammy Hagar. I asked them to tell me more about the podcast… –Seth

1. Tell us about The KSHE Tapes.
We host the show together, and between the two of us, we have plenty of interviews to choose from. We take one each week, set it up, and play it back. However, we pause the interview at times to ask questions of each other or make comments. It makes for good banter.

John “The U-Man” Ulett

2. John, how did the show come about?
For a while, we were mulling over what to do with a room full of tapes filled with KSHE history — not all of which are interviews. We’ve also been thinking about what would make a good KSHE podcast. Someone from one of our Hubbard stations in Cincinnati suggested that we do something with past interviews. So Favazz and I decided to use them in a podcast, but not just play them back; we comment throughout the playback and inject ourselves into the interviews to update things, or highlight something important, or even make light of something.

3. Describe the process of making the show.
We decide by Monday of each week which interview we will do. We text one another ideas and go from there. We record on Wednesday and post the episode on Friday. We might listen to parts of the interview beforehand to get an idea of what we might ask each other during recording. The biggest challenge — but not that big — was getting our engineering staff to bring a minidisc player and a DAT player into the production studio so we could use them for the show. Some of the interviews are even archived on reel to reel tape, but we have that covered too. We even play the parts of the interviews that never made it onto the air like the mic checks.

4. As you listen back to the archive of interviews, have you found any favorite moments?
We’re still mining the vault, so who knows what we’ll find, but at this point: Paul McCartney came across as so warm and friendly that we grew to admire him even more after hearing the interview.


5. Favazz, what have you learned in the course of making this podcast?
I think we’ve both learned that making a podcast is kinda fun. Listening back to old interviews is painful at times, but the content is what we enjoy the most. I have the easy part, as John does any editing the show might need. And I’m pretty sure we enjoy working with each other. John’s been doing mornings forever and I’m in my 20th year of afternoon drive. While we aren’t in the air studio at the same time, we’re golfing partners, so we knew our chemistry would work.

6. How are you promoting the podcast?
We’re promoting it on social media outlets and on the air. A recorded promo spot is being formulated. Word of mouth has also been strong.

7. Based on your experience so far, what advice would you give to other radio stations looking to turn their archived interviews into a podcast? Any surprises?
Dig up the interviews no matter what form they’re in and have fun with them. This week, we’ll be doing an interview that’s on cassette. Who knows when we’ll do one on reel to reel? You need a cooperative engineering staff to make all that happen. We are in the early stages, and while we wouldn’t change anything right now, it will evolve.

We’ve been most surprised at the number of downloads already. After two weeks and three episodes, we’ve already had almost 4,500 downloads. That’s pretty good. We are both proud that we host the first podcast ever for KSHE. That’s no small thing after 51 years in existence!

Any final thoughts?
We would like to thank Chris Files from Hubbard for his help in getting this thing off the ground. Also, Drew Patterson for producing the podcast’s open and close, and our boss, Rick Balis.

Listen to “The KSHE Tapes”

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

How Radio Commercials Are Different From Podcast Sponsorships

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Podcasts represent a great opportunity for radio stations to add to their sellable inventory without driving ratings down or program directors crazy. But before your radio station’s sales team starts pitching podcasts to clients, they should understand the differences between podcast ads and radio commercials. Here are some of the key differences:

1. Podcasts use host-read ads, not produced spots.
Podcasting is a more intimate medium than radio listening. People often listen to radio in the background, so commercials have to grab listeners’ attention to cut through. With podcasts, people listen more actively. That’s why podcasts are often described as a “lean in” medium. Blaring commercials with music, sound effects and cheesy announcers are too jarring for podcasts. Instead, most podcast commercials are copy points read by the host, sometimes with a fair amount of improvisation.

2. Podcasts are not as strict about commercial length.
On our airwaves, we adhere to strict clocks. With podcasts, things are much looser. Podcasts ads don’t have strict 30 or 60-second time limits. This is good for creative on-air talents, but bad for long-winded ones.

3. Podcast spotloads are much lighter.
Podcasts do not run 6 spots in a single break, or 12-15 minutes of commercials in an hour. Depending on their length, podcast episodes often have a pre-roll break, one or two midroll breaks, and a post-roll break. At most, I’ve heard three different sponsors in a single break, and that is rare.

4. Podcasts often contain direct response ads.
Many podcast ads feature a host directing listeners to a custom URL (such as “Acme-dot-com-slash-Awesomecast”) or asking listeners to type in a custom discount code. These podcasters get paid every time a sale is attributed to their ads through these URLs or codes. Some companies, such as Audible, set up turn-key advertising programs so that any podcaster can run direct response ads for them without requiring prior approval.

5. Podcast ads can be dynamically inserted.
Many podcast hosting companies now offer the ability to dynamically insert ads. “Baked in” ads are ads that are recorded at the same time that the rest of an episode is recorded; the baked in ad is permanently part of the episode, so everybody who downloads the episode hears the same ad. Dynamically inserted ads, on the other hand, are not included in the original episode recording, but inserted when a listener downloads the episode. For example, if I download a five-year-old episode of Hardcore History today, I may hear a different ad than somebody who downloaded the same episode when it was first published.

Ads can be dynamically inserted by time or by geography. Somebody in Los Angeles might hear a different ad than somebody in Topeka. This allows national podcasters to sell to local advertisers.

Before your sales team starts selling podcasts, make sure they understand these key differences. You may want to gather them in a room and listen to a range of different ones, from entertainment shows like comedian Joe Rogan’s to public radio shows like Invisibilia, to hear how different podcasts are handling advertisements. Using these as a starting point, decide what makes the most sense for your station’s shows.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

Facebook Now Lets You Add Music to Your Page’s Facebook Stories

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

As Facebook has tweaked its algorithm in response to outside pressure, radio stations — as well as businesses generally — have reported a significant decline in engagement. One hope for stations looking to stem the tide has been to try and use Facebook’s Stories feature, which allows users to publish videos or photo collections that only last for 24 hours. Business pages, such as those used by radio stations and radio personalities, can publish stories from the Facebook mobile app.

Facebook has announced that those stories can now include short music clips.  Here’s how to do it:

1) On your phone, open the Facebook app.

2) Navigate to your Facebook page (usually by searching for it then clicking on it in the results).

3) Scroll down until you see the “Your Page’s Story” section. Click on “Create a Story.”

4) At the bottom of the screen, select either “Boomerang” (for a series of quick shots) or “Video.”

5) Click the big round white button and record. (You may want to switch cameras for a selfie shot.)

6) When you’ve stopped recording, click the sticker icon at the top of the screen.

7) Push the “Music” button.

8) Search for a song and click the blue “Add” button.

9) Select the portion of the song you want to use by scrolling left or right.

10) In the top right corner, click “Done.”

11) In the lower right corner, click the “Next” button.

12) Decide if you want to share this to Your Story (it will last for 24 hours and anybody can see it), as a Post (it will stay up unless you remove it, but you can select the audience), or both. Then click the blue button in the lower right corner.

Your Story will now appear at the top of the feed for fans of your page.

The hope is that by creating Stories, owners of Facebook Pages will have an easier time reaching their fans. For posts that will age quickly then become irrelevant to your fans, consider posting to your Stories instead of clogging up your feed. For example, you may want to post videos of contest winners or street team stops to your Stories so these posts will disappear after 24 hours.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

How to Use RSS Feeds to Keep Up on Radio Industry News

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

I am a big fan of using RSS feeds to pull news from all of your favorite websites into a single place where it’s easy to skim. In the past, I have written about how radio DJs can use RSS feeds to build their own custom show prep service. Other folks in the radio industry can also use the same technique to keep up on what’s happening in their profession.

I like to think of RSS feeds as pipes for information. If a website has an RSS feed — and most news sites and blogs do; some offer several feeds — then you can subscribe to it and import that information into another location. The most common place to import this information is into an RSS reader. An RSS reader allows you to subscribe to multiple RSS feeds where you can easily scan the imported information to find the stuff you want to read. It’s like a build-your-own newspaper!

There are a number of RSS readers out there. I use Feedly. In my Feedly account, I have subscribed to the RSS feeds of numerous websites and organized them into different folders. For example, I have a folder for radio industry websites like Radio Ink, Radio World, and All Access. I have a folder for online marketing websites like Social Media Examiner, the Content Marketing Institute, and Hubspot. Different types of radio employees will obviously want to keep up on different sources; what interests an engineer might not interest a promotions director. But, of course, everybody will want to subscribe to the Jacobs Media blog. Here’s the RSS feed:

I also include RSS feeds from Google Alerts in my RSS Reader.

A peak at my Feedly RSS reader account.

Every morning, I take a few minutes to open up my RSS reader and scan through the day’s news. I also have my RSS reader’s mobile app installed on my phone so I can keep up with what’s going on when I’m standing in line at Starbucks or I’m stuck in the waiting room at my dentist’s office.|

In addition to making it easy to keep up with the latest news, my RSS reader also makes it easy for me to find stories to share on social media. If you’re required to post to your station’s social media accounts frequently, combining an RSS reader with a social media management tool — I use Hootsuite’s Hootlet — can make your job a lot easier. (Here’s more information on the type of information on the type of content you’ll want to share.)

RSS feeds are a great way to pull information from multiple sources into a single location, and they can help you stay informed.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

Apple is Cracking Down on Podcasts. How to Avoid Getting Pulled From iTunes

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

In recent weeks, there have been increasing reports of podcasters waking up to find that Apple has removed their shows from iTunes/ Apple Podcasts. Given that Apple Podcasts is far and away the biggest podcast directory, and that many other “podcatchers” (podcast listening apps) pull their data from iTunes, it goes without saying that you don’t want to lose your spot in Apple’s directory.

Apple is removing podcasts for “keyword stuffing.” In addition to being a directory, Apple Podcasts is also a search engine. Many podcasters know that one of the best ways to get new listeners to discover their shows is to ensure that they come up in the directory’s search results when people look for certain terms. Because Apple reportedly does not index show descriptions — only the show title, author, and episode titles — podcasters shove keywords into these indexed tags to increase the likelihood that listeners will find their shows.

One popular way to do this is to use a semi-colon in the show’s title followed by a brief description. For example: “Yummy In My Tummy: Homemade Soup Recipes.” This allows the podcaster to include the keyword “soup” in the show title, which is what a fan of this show is likely to search for. This podcast might also include the author tag, “Sara Jones of the Chicago Soup Store,” in case anybody searches for the name of her employer. Until now, I encouraged podcasters to use these techniques to help them find relevant audiences. However, Apple is now cracking down on this type of keyword stuffing.

How do you avoid having your podcast removed? I asked a few experts for their advice. Here’s what they said:

Todd Cochrane

1. Stick to your show title.
“Podcasters can avoid being de-listed by keeping their show titles titles, not extended descriptions,” says Raw Voice / Blubrry CEO Todd Cochrane. “If you have a dash or semicolon in your show’s title, you’re likely to be examined.”

Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn, agrees. “Stop putting in dashes and colons followed by keywords; that is a huge red flag,” says Walch. “Be direct with your title. Don’t get cute or clever. Cute and clever are horrible for search in Apple Podcasts.” (Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well for my podcast about Detroit, The D Brief. While it routinely gets compliments for having a clever name, it doesn’t perform well when searching for “Detroit” in Apple Podcasts.)

Some podcasters have taken keyword stuffing to a whole other level by name-checking famous people in their podcasts’ titles even though these people are never actually interviewed. For example, a title might be “Fantastic Leaders: Conversations with People Like Tim Ferris, Seth Godin, and Zig Ziglar.” This is an obvious attempt to leverage the names of these famous people to drive downloads, and it’s precisely the type of spammy technique that Apple is trying to reign in. If your podcast title contains words like “covering,” “including,” or “similar to” followed by a laundry list of keywords, your show is at risk. “That just screams, ‘Kick me out!’” says Walch.

Rob Walch

2. Use only a first name and last name for the Author.
“Companies putting their names in the Author area will likely need to reconsider this practice,” says Cochrane. For example, in my podcast featuring interviews from the Worldwide Radio Summit, I listed the Author as “Seth Resler of All Access.” This way, if anybody searched for the name of the popular radio industry website, they would find my podcast. However, in the wake of Apple’s crackdown, I have changed the Author tag to simply, “Seth Resler.”

Elsie Escobar

3. Use common sense.
“Not everything is black and white, so just use common sense,” says Cochrane. As an enormous company, Apple is not particularly responsive to the individual needs of podcasters who are receiving the benefits of its popular directory for free — there’s just too many of them; if you try to skirt the rules, you’re at your own risk. “Stop asking when Apple is going to fix this or what Apple can do to help you. It’s a waste of your time, energy, and resources,” says Elsie Escobar, Co-Founder of the She Podcasts community. “Create a strategy for marketing your show that transcends specific platforms but respects the desired practices for each platform.”

It’s a good time to review your podcast’s tags and make adjustments. As Escobar points out, this type of housekeeping “is part of our daily responsibility as podcasters. You either take it on or you don’t.”

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

Four Questions to Ask About Your Website (and the Answers You Want to Hear)

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

In radio, we conduct all sorts of research: call-out research, library tests, perceptual studies, etc. Yet too few of us regularly test our websites to see how listeners are interacting with them.

I am a big proponent of running Website Usability Tests — tests designed to see how real people interact with your website. When I conduct these tests on radio station websites, I follow the methodology described by Steve Krug in his book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy. I find three people on Craigslist who are willing to give up an hour of their time for $40 apiece. I prefer to use people who are not in the same market as the radio station that runs the website we are testing. That’s because I want our testers to give us feedback based solely on the website itself, not on any other information they may have gleaned from listening to the radio.

I sit each person in front of a computer with the radio station website on it. I ask them to perform a series of tasks and to think out loud as they do them. I am looking for tasks that they have trouble completing. This tells me that we need to tweak some things to make the site easier to use. But before I start doling out tasks, I will ask them a few general questions. Here are those questions, along with the answers I hope to hear:

1. “What does the organization that runs this website do?”
In my recruitment for these tests, I am very careful never to give any hint as to what the website might be about. I never tell people that I am testing a “radio station’s website,” just a “client’s website.” That’s because I know that I am purposely asking a very broad question to open the test. Of course, the answer we’re looking for here is, “It’s a radio station.” You’d be surprised how long it sometimes takes people to figure out that they’re looking at a radio station website. I once had a tester take 10 minutes to figure it out!

Of course, some stations have signals on their site that makes it more obvious: If the station logo features a frequency followed by “AM” or “FM,” testers tend to figure it out pretty quickly. On the other hand, stations with generic names like “Arrow,” “Mix” or “Hawk” don’t usually fare as well.

2. “What city is this radio station in?”
My best guess is that 90% of all radio station website fail this question. On the air, we don’t need to identify our location consistently because everybody who can hear us is in the same place. On the web, however, that’s not the case. People can visit us from across the world. As broadcasters, we often neglect to tell people where we are on our website, but it’s not safe to assume that people know.

3. “If you tuned into this radio station, what would you expect to hear?”
Ideally, the testers will identify the musical genres a station plays or its format. (Testers are more likely to answer with the name of some formats than others; they might say “Top 40″ but they’re unlikely to respond with “Triple A.”) Hopefully, you’ve placed a musical positioning statement right beneath your station’s logo that tells people what type of music your station plays. Again, some positioning statements are going to be clearer than others: “Today’s Hot Country,” “Hip Hop and R&B,” and “Classic Rock” conjure up a more specific music selection in the minds of testers than a vague phrase like, “A Wider Variety.” That’s why I usually follow up this question by asking…

4. “Which artists would you expect to hear if you tuned in to this station?”
We’re hoping that the testers are able to namecheck your biggest artists in response to this question: “Kanye West, Beyonce and Rihanna,” or “Green Day, Sublime and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.” The best way to ensure that you get this type of answer is to have artwork that features these artists on the homepage. This could be labeled photos of bands, a collection of logos or a collage of album covers.

Unfortunately, too often, radio station homepages are dominated by a rotating slideshow. This slideshow usually doesn’t showcase the station’s core artists. Instead, it might feature a Dunkin’ Donuts promotion or whatever C-level band is playing the 300-seat club in town this weekend. Rotating slideshows detract from the message you want to send with your homepage, which is why I recommend removing it and replacing it with a static image featuring core artists.

If you’re reluctant to remove the slideshow, I have seen some radio stations successfully include the images of core artists in the website’s header.

After that, I’ll ask the testers to perform specific tasks. Here’s a full sample list of questions. I’ll also spend time examining the verbiage in main navigation, which often reveals these common mistakes. Based on what I learn from this usability test, we’ll implement changes that can improve the user experience. I recommend running a website usability test at least twice a year, before the launch of a new website or when adding a page for a key component of the station, such as a new morning show or an annual concert event.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

Your Digital Staffer is Leaving – Here Are the Passwords You Need to Secure

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Radio is an industry with traditionally high turnover. When an employee leaves, it’s important the station has everything they need from them to keep things running smoothly. That’s especially true when a digital staffer moves on because stations maintain so many different online accounts.

Here’s a checklist to help you make sure that you get all of the credentials that you need:

  1. Website Backend: Make sure you can log in to the back end of your website. If your website is built on a platform that uses a different login for each person (as opposed to a single login for everybody), then you will want to either delete the departing employee’s account or, if you want to keep the account so that any blogposts they published stay under their byline, simply change the password for their login.
  2. Website Hosting: This is where your website files actually live.
    Domain Registrar: This is where your website URL is registered. Often, it’s the same as your hosting company, but not always.
    Facebook: Facebook pages and groups do not use logins and passwords like many other services. Instead, a person’s personal account is attached to a business page or group. Remove the departing employee’s personal account from the page or group administrators.
  3. Twitter: Twitter uses a single login with a password. You will want to make sure that the email address associated with the station’s Twitter account goes to somebody besides the departing employee. You will also want to change the password. Remember, if you are using other software that automatically connects to your Twitter account, such as Hootsuite, you will need to update the credentials there, too.
  4. Instagram: Instagram uses a single login like Twitter.
  5. LinkedIn: LinkedIn works like Facebook, with personal accounts connected to the business. Remove the departing employee as an administrator on the business.
  6. YouTube: YouTube, which is owned by Google, uses a single login; it’s probably the same as the station’s Google login.
  7. Other Social Media: If your station is on Snapchat, Pinterest, or any other social networks, be sure to get those logins as well.
    Social Media Management Tools: TweetDeck, Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.
  8. Google Analytics: You can add multiple users to a Google Analytics account, so remove the departing employee.
    Email Marketing Service Provider: Constant Contact, Mailchimp, AWeber, etc.
  9. Podcast Hosting: If your station produces podcasts, your audio files reside with a hosting company like Libsyn, Blubrry, or Omny Studio.
  10. Audio Sharing Accounts: Soundcloud, TuneIn, etc.
  11. Apple ID and Podcasts Connect: If you have submitted podcasts to iTunes/Apple Podcasts, make sure you have this login.
    Mobile App Developer Accounts: If your station has a mobile app that’s available in the Apple or Google app stores, get the logins for the developer accounts.
  12. Smart Speaker Developer Accounts: If you built a skill for the Amazon Echo in house, you may have an Amazon developer account.
  13. Streaming Service Account: Stream Guys, Triton, etc.
    Other Podcast Directories: Stitcher, etc. (Google Podcasts does not require an account.)
  14. Video Hosting Services: Vimeo, Wistia, etc.
  15. Survey Software: Survey Monkey, Survey Gizmo, etc.
  16. Webinar Hosting Service: GoToWebinar, WebEx, etc.
  17. Stock Photography Site: iStock, Getty Images, Shutterstock, etc.
  18. Online Form Builder: Formstack, Gravity Forms, etc.
  19. Contesting: Triton, Aptivada, WooBox, etc.
  20. Online Advertising Accounts: Google Adwords, Google Place Listing, etc.
  21. Website Ad Management: DoubleClick for Publishers, etc.
  22. Design Software as a Service: Canva, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, etc.
  23. Text Message Management: EZTexting, ClubTexting, Join by Text, etc.
  24. Affiliate Marketing Accounts: If your station makes money by selling products or services for a third party, such as Amazon or Audible.

A few best practices regarding accounts and passwords:

  1. Make sure you have all these accounts compiled into a single document hosted in a secure place where the appropriate staff members can access them.
  2. Change the password for all single login accounts and update this document accordingly when an employee leaves.
  3. Remove the employee as an admin or a user from all multi-user accounts.
  4. For all single login accounts, it’s best to use a generic role-based email address, such as “[email protected],” which forwards to multiple appropriate staffers, instead of attaching accounts to a single employee. This way, it’s easier to recover passwords if an employee is indisposed and easy to remove somebody from the email address forwarding when they move on.
  5. For most of these accounts, you will not have a representative as a point of contact. However, if there are any where you do, make sure you also get that person’s name, phone number, and email address.

Don’t wait for an employee to exit to start scurrying around the station, shoring up your digital assets. Take the time to get out in front of this issue so you’re prepared the next time an evitable departure occurs.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

Do Not Use Photos on Your Radio Station Website Unless You Have the Rights

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Radio stations can pull all of their digital tools together into a single overarching strategy using Content Marketing. At the heart of a Content Marketing strategy is online content housed in a blog or news section of the website. This content is more likely to go viral on social media and generate traffic from search engines if it includes images.

Yet images are one of the most dangerous potential pitfalls for companies publishing posts written by multiple authors. That’s because if one of these authors uses an image that the company does not have permission to use, the company leaves itself open to a lawsuit.

Radio Ink recently reported that Entercom was forced to write a check for an undisclosed amount as a settlement with photographer Jesse Cuervas after their (almost) morning DJ Kevin Kline used one of Cuervas’ photos as part of a controversial social media post. The fact that unauthorized use of photos can lead to unexpected costs shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone in the radio business. After all, broadcasting attorney David Oxenford has written about the issue in his Broadcast Law Blog here, here, here, here, here, and here — and that’s just in the last few years! Entercom isn’t an isolated case – many companies have been fined these past several years.

The point is, using unauthorized images could impact your radio station’s bottom line. Here are some steps that you can use to avoid this problem:

1. Write and distribute a clear policy regarding images.
Work with your station’s legal team to develop a clear policy. It should address is the difference between images that can be used for editorial purposes and images that can be used for creative or commercial purposes. For example, a photographer may make a photo of Twenty One Pilots available for somebody writing a news story about the band, but that doesn’t mean you can also use the photo to promote your station’s contest giving away tickets to the band’s next show. Your lawyers should help you clarify this distinction.

Of course, it’s not enough to have a policy. Every person on your staff who has the ability to publish online content must also be aware of and understand this policy. Proper communication and training is key. In all likelihood, this is a policy that you will need to reiterate at frequent intervals.

2. Use a stock image provider.
While there are several stock image websites out there that offer photos that can be used for free, these are probably going to be insufficient for most radio stations. These sites are great if you need generic birthday cake doodles, but if you need photos of popular bands or the local football team, you’re going to have to pay for them. Set up an account with a service like Getty Images or Shutterstock. Make sure that everybody who needs access to images can get it easily. When writers don’t know about the account or can’t log in, they’re going to be tempted to do a Copy & Paste job that could cost you thousands of dollars.

3. Make it easy for staff members to get answers.
If somebody on your staff has a question about whether or not they can use an image, make sure they know who to ask. Establish a point person for questions about images. If you have staff members who may have questions after hours, make sure they know how to contact this point person. Make sure that all questions are answered in a timely manner. If you leave your staff guessing, you increase the chances that they’ll use an image without permission.

It’s easy for radio broadcasters to think they can get away with using images when they don’t have permission, but these days, the rights holders are more vigilant than ever. Don’t get caught making this mistake — it could cost your station a lot.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

Use These 4 Channels to Drive Traffic to Your Radio Station’s Website

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Today’s radio broadcasters are required to know how to use more tools than ever before. It’s no longer sufficient to simply know how the turntables and cart machines work; the modern radio DJ is expected to understand blogs, podcasts, social networks, email marketing, and more. To pull all of these different tools together into a single overarching framework, we use a Content Marketing strategy.

The first step in that Content Marketing strategy is to create content that is lives on your station’s website: online articles, blogposts, videos, podcasts, etc.

Once you’ve done that, you then need to drive people to that online content. Here are four channels for doing so:

1. Social Media
When you talk about online promotional channels, social networks like Facebook and Twitter are the first things that come to most radio broadcasters’ minds. You want to share your content on social media for the same reason that your radio station posts a billboard by the side of the highway: lots of people go there, and you hope some of them will see it and tune into your station — or click through to your website.

When it comes to social media, there are a lot of data points that can be measured, including likes, shares, and comments. Getting more of these is always a positive sign, but keep your focus on the most important data point: The number of people who click through and visit your website. After all, it is only once they come to your website that you can get them to take an action that has an impact on the bottom line.

Think of it this way: When you’re trying to measure the success of a billboard campaign, the yardstick you use is the Nielsen ratings. If they go up, the campaign worked. If they don’t go up, the campaign failed. It’s the same thing with social media: if your web traffic increases, your social media efforts are working; if it doesn’t, then you need to adjust.

This also means that some social networks are going to be more valuable than others. Lots of your listeners are on Instagram, but it’s much tougher to drive website traffic with Instagram than it is with Twitter because you can’t include clickable links in your Instagram posts. Meanwhile, Facebook’s ability to drive website traffic has significantly decreased for most broadcasters as the company has made changes to its algorithm.

2. Search Engines
Unlike social media, most radio broadcasters pay very little attention to search engines. This is a mistake. You want your website content to appear in search engine results for the same reason you want your content on social media and you want your billboard by the highway: lots of people go to search engines. In my experience, social media traffic tends to be sporadic: a post can go viral on social media and attract a lot of traffic, then die down. With search engines, the traffic tends to be slow but steady. Once Google decides that a piece of content you created is a good match for a particular search query, it will continue to send people to your website day in and day out. Here’s an example of how one post has done that on our website.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of getting your content to appear in search engine results. It can be intimidating, and you could a firm to do SEO for your website if you felt the need, but there are some basic steps your station can take to optimize your website posts and increase the chances of them being found in search results.

3. Your Airwaves
Your station’s airwaves are the most potent weapon in its promotional arsenal. That’s why clients pay to be on them! Yet few radio stations take full advantage of this channel for driving traffic back to their website. I’m always surprised by the number of stations that run sweepers between songs to drive people to Facebook or Instagram, but not their own websites. If I were programming a radio station today, the production elements between every song would drive people back to a different page of the station website.

4. Email
Email is not a good channel for driving people to your station’s website for the very first time (I don’t recommend buying email lists), but if people have given you their email address when they visited in the past, it’s a great way to drive return traffic. I recommend setting up automatic email campaigns that are sent to your list when you publish new content. Email is also a good way to recycle some of your older but evergreen content.

You will want to track the performance of all of these channels in your Google Analytics. You will also see other channels in your Google Analytics data, such as direct traffic (people who type your URL directly into their browser), referral traffic (people who come to your website by clicking on a link on another website, such as a blog), and paid search traffic (if you are paying to run a Google AdWords campaign). Over time, monitor how each of these channels are performing for you. You may discover some tweaks you can make to increase your website traffic.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

5 Ways to Help Radio DJs Avoid Writer’s Block When Blogging

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

When I talk to radio stations about their overall digital strategy, I use the framework of Content Marketing. Content Marketing begins, of course, with content. While videos and podcasts are wonderful forms of content for radio stations to produce, for most stations who are strapped for time and resources, launching a radio station blog is usually the easiest and most effective way to grow your website traffic.

Of course, somebody needs to write these blogposts, and most stations don’t have a cadre of journalists on staff, which means blogging duties are going to be doled out to folks — usually DJs — who already have a lot on their plate. In my experience, there are two types of on-air talent: those who are hungry to be multimedia personalities and are willing to write, create videos, host podcasts, and put their creative talents to any use they can in their efforts to become a star; and those who got into radio because they prefer talking to writing. For this latter group, blogging can seem like an unbearable chore, and it can be difficult to get them to produce the content your station needs to grow its web traffic.

I sympathize with this latter group. I made several attempts at launching a blog over the past fifteen years, and none of them stuck until I stared writing about digital strategies for radio stations. Just as it takes a while — often years — for a DJ to find their voice on the microphone, it can take a long time for a DJ to find their voice as a blogger. In fact, their on-air voice and their written voice may be very different. They certainly are for me. When I’m on the radio, I deadpan short, snarky breaks laced with pop culture references; when I write, I strive to be instructional and helpful.

Nonetheless, we now live in a multimedia age, and our most successful on-air talents are the ones who find ways to be kings and queens of all media. You don’t need to look any farther than iHeart Radio’s Bobby Bones, who just published a book and has made a slew of television appearances, including an upcoming stint on Dancing With the Stars.

But you’ve got to crawl before you dance, so let’s start with blogging. Every week, I have to write a blogpost, and the process inevitably consists of three hours of me banging my head against the wall, screaming, “What am I going to write about?!” Then, an idea pops into my head, and I sit down and knock out a blogpost in 20 minutes. The 20 minutes is not difficult. The three hours are excruciating. The worst part of blogging for me — and I suspect many others — is thinking of something to say.

So here are five ways that you can help your airstaff overcome writer’s block:

1. Brainstorm a list of blog topic formulas.
Blog topics formulas are simple turnkey topic ideas that can be used over and over again but produce a different blogpost each time. An easy example is, “5 Things to Do Around Town This Weekend.” You could use this formula 52 times a year and each time you would produce a compelling piece of content for your listeners.

Gather all of your blog contributors in a room and brainstorm a list of blog topic formulas. Here are some ideas to help you start. When you’re done compiling this list, publish it in a place where all of your writers can access it.

2. Let DJs write about the things they are passionate about.
Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to write about things that you care about it. Find out what your on-air personalities are passionate about and allow them to blog about those topics. They often enjoy this outlet because these are topics that may be of interest to the audience, but don’t warrant a lot of on-air time. For example, you might have a morning show host who is really passionate about wrestling, or an afternoon jock who loves sharing recipes for healthy meals. If these topics fit with your station brand but are second or third tier subjects, let the jocks blog about them.

3. Crowdsource blogposts.
You may require your on-air talent to produce blogposts, but that doesn’t mean they actually have to do the writing. Allow your jocks to invite influencers in your market, such as local bands, chefs, or athletes, to contribute to the blog. This can be through written interviews, guest posts (see these examples), or by having multiple people contribute different answers to a question (here’s an example).

4. Share the website analytics with blog authors.
Employees like to see how their contributions are impacting the overall success of their organization. That’s why, when I was a program director, I believed in sharing the ratings with my airstaff. In fact, I always appreciated the jocks who came into my office to learn more about the ratings.

The same holds true for website analytics. Share them with your blog contributors. In particular, show them which blogposts are attracting the most website traffic. This information can be found in your website’s Google Analytics data. (Here’s a guide to Google Analytics for Radio Programmers.) The more they see that their efforts are having an impact, the more enthusiastic they’ll be about contributing. Moreover, when they see which blog topics are reacting with the audience — and which are not — it will give them guidance on selecting future topics.

5. Set the bar low and raise it slowly.
The fastest way to discourage reluctant writers is to set unrealistically aggressive goals. It takes time for on-air talent to make the transition to blogging, and they may not all adopt the practice at the same speed. Requiring your air talent to start writing daily blogposts tomorrow is only going to frustrate you and them. Instead, set a modest goal: one blogpost each week. When they’re able to hit that goal on a regular basis, gradually raise the bar: two blogposts per week, then two good blogposts per week, then three per week, etc. Most of all, be patient and supportive. This isn’t easy, and you won’t see success overnight.

Reducing writers block is one of the most important steps to take when launching or ramping up your radio station’s blog output. For more information on how your radio station can launch a blog, check out this guide.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.