Category Archives: Digital/Social/Web

9 Ways to Promote Your Radio Station’s Mobile App

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

Smartphones are everywhere. In our latest Techsurvey, 87% of radio listeners report having a smartphone. 41% admit to being addicted to them. So, it’s imperative that your radio station have an app to make itself available to listeners on their mobile phones.

But, it’s not just enough to have an app — you also need to promote it. One of the biggest mistakes we see radio stations make with their mobile apps is that they fail to promote them enough. Here are some ways your radio station can get word out about your station’s app:

1. Use the Proper Keywords
Think of the Apple and Android app stores as big search engines. When people go there, the first thing they usually do is search for an app. To make it easy for your listeners to find yours, you’ll want to do a few things.

For starters, give people exactly what they are looking for: Name the app after your radio station as you most commonly say it on the air, and use the station’s logo for the icon image. Apple allows you to include several keywords when you submit your app. You may want to include your station’s call letters (if they are not part of the station name), the station’s city, the name of any high-profile shows or on-air talent, or the music format. Android does not allow you to submit keywords, so make sure that you work all of these terms into the description of the app. Apple offers tips on submitting apps, and Google gives advice as well.

2. Ask Listeners to Review Your App
People often check the reviews for an app before downloading it to their phone, so encourage your listeners to leave positive reviews. You can do this by sending a Push Notification to people who have download the app asking to leave a review.

3. Live On-Air Mentions
You’ve got airwaves, so use ’em. Your DJs should encourage people to download the app. While generic mentions of the app will work, calls to action that involve specific content can be more effective. For example, your afternoon jock might say, “If you missed Sam and Diane’s interview with Miley Cyrus this morning, you can listen to it in the WKRP app.”

4. On-Air Production Elements
Sweepers and bumpers are a great place to promote your station’s mobile app. Another option is to create a series of recorded promos with each one focusing on a different feature of the app. If you have particular features on the air that have corresponding sections in the app, you may want to mention this in the production elements for that on-air feature. For example: “This is the WKRP Concert Calendar. For a complete list of upcoming shows, download our app.” Or, “This is the Local Music Show on WKRP. For a list of songs from tonight’s show, download our app.”

5. Email Blasts
Send a link to the app to your email list. If you have an automated drip campaign set up, use the very first email, sent as soon as people register for your email list, to encourage people to download the app.

6. Social Media
Social media posts with a link to the app, especially on Facebook and Twitter, can be an effective way to drive app downloads. While you can simply post a link to the app store, you may want to consider using a “deep link.” A deep link directs people to a specific piece of content within the app, such as the Miley Cyrus interview. If the person clicking on the link already has the app installed, the app will open and they will be taken directly to that content. If they don’t have the app installed yet, they will be directed to the app store and be asked to install the app.

7. At Events
When your street team is out at events, they should actively encourage people to download the station’s app: “Want to spin the prize wheel for a beer koozie? Download the WKRP and will give you a shot.”

If your on-air talent is on stage introducing a band at a concert, they should encourage people to download the app: “I’m DJ No Name, and if you want to hear the interview I did with this band earlier today, download the WKRP app.”

8. Signage
The phrase “Download our app” should appear on your station van, your banner-on-a-roll, and the backs of your bumper stickers. You can also print it on ticket stubs and wristbands.

9. Podcasts
If your radio station produces podcasts, this offers a nice opportunity to get some extra bang out of your promotional buck. While iOS devices come with a Podcasts app pre-installed, Android devices do not. This makes it more difficult for Android users to listen to a podcast and, as a result, the overwhelming majority of podcast listening happens on Apple devices. When you promote your station’s podcasts on the air, chances are most Android users won’t know how to listen to them. But if you’ve included the podcasts in your app, you can make it easy. Just say, “Want to listen to our podcast? Download our app!” Ta-da! With a single line, you’ve promoted both your app and your podcast.

Mobile App Strategy Webinar
jacappsWant to learn more? We’re partnering with our sister company, jācapps, to host a special webinar, “Mobile 101: What Every Radio Station Should Know About Mobile App Strategy.”
Register here.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

Podcasts Are Different From Radio Shows…and It Matters

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 I work with different radio stations across the country, many of them dip their toes into the podcasting pool by repurposing their on-air shows as on-demand shows. The results are often less than spectacular.

That’s because while radio shows and podcasts are similar, they’re not the same. There are important differences between the two mediums. These differences make it easier to repurpose some radio shows than others. For example, public radio shows like Fresh Air, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and The Moth can be published as podcast episodes with little or no changes, but five-hour commercial morning shows or music-driven radio shifts don’t work as well as podcasts.

Here are the key differences between radio shows and podcasts:

1. Mass Appeal vs. Niche Topics
Generally speaking, radio shows aim to cover a wide range of mass appeal topics, including sports, celebrity news and general interest topics. It’s common for radio stations to use the “morning zoo” format: a collection of likable hosts discussing popular subjects.

Radio stations do this because the audience they reach is already limited by two factors: the station format and geographic reach. When you’re a country station in Los Angeles or a rock station in Topeka, you don’t want to further whittle down to your audience by focusing on niche topics.

Podcasts, on the other hand, are not limited by station format or geographic reach, so they can focus on specific niches. While it makes no sense to launch a radio station that focuses on knitting in Los Angeles, a knitting podcast could be successful because it has the potential to attract knitters from around the globe.

Moreover, when people go to a “podcatcher” (a podcast listening app) to find a new podcast, they often search by topic. If your podcast covers a wide range of topics, instead of focusing on a specific area like beer or parenting or politics, it may have a hard time getting discovered.

Your station’s radio shows should be mass appeal, but its podcasts should focus on a specific niche.

2. Tune In Anytime vs. Listen From the Beginning
With radio, different people tune in at different times. As broadcasters, we never know whether a listener heard our last break, so we must constantly repeat elements, like the call letters.

But with a podcast, everybody starts at the same point: the beginning of the episode. This means that the first minute of a podcast episode is crucial, because that’s when listeners decide if they will commit to the entire thing.

Although listeners all start at the beginning of the episode, they don’t all start with the first podcast episode. As a listener, my first episode of Marc Maron’s WTF may be his 300th episode (the exception is serialized podcasts like, well, Serial, which set the expectation that listeners should start with episode one), Because people may start listening to a podcast with any given episode, the first 60 seconds of every episode should repeat the same basic information: What the podcast is about, what the episode is about, who the host is, etc.

3. Time Constraints vs. No Time Constraints
On a radio show, you’ve got time constraints. If you’re hosting a morning show with no music, you may have 45+ minutes per hour to fill, while the host of a music-driven show may have only a few minutes. With a podcast, you can make your episodes as long or as short as you want.

Which is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, if you have tons of compelling content, you don’t have to worry about not being able to include it all.

On the other hand, there’s less incentive to edit your show down to just the best material because it’s so easy to upload everything.

4. Music vs. Right Issues
On the radio, we obviously play lots of music, but you can’t in a podcast because of rights issues (I’m not a lawyer, so if you want to quibble about the finer points of copyright law, go find somebody who is; but the short answer to the question, “Can I play Shakira in my podcast?,” is “No”),

This means that in a podcast, not only can we talk more that most of us do on the radio, we actually have to. When it comes to podcasts, broadcasters who don’t host talk shows probably don’t create enough on-air content to repurpose it as a podcast, so they’ll have to create some new audio content.

5. Fleeting vs. Long Shelf Life
On the radio, we do our break and then move on to the next one. Once a break is over, it disappears into the ether, never to be heard again, and we turn our attention to the next one. DJ breaks on the radio are disposable.

That’s not the case with podcast episodes. Years from now, people may listen to old episodes of Grammar Girl or Hardcore History. Podcast episodes can have a long shelf life. Of course, some contain content that is evergreen, while others tend to be more ephemeral. But unlike radio, they can all be listened to weeks, months, or even years later.

In fact, some podcasts don’t gain traction until long after their first episodes were published. My food and travel podcast saw its highest download numbers last fall — a year and a half after I stopped producing it! Creating podcasts that age well can be an effective long-term strategy, but it requires a different mindset for most radio broadcasters.

Podcast Movement
We’ve teamed up with the organizers of Podcast Movement to produce a special track at this year’s conference designed especially for radio broadcasters. The conference is in Anaheim at the end of August. Program directors, on-air talent and digital team members are invited to come learn how your radio station can thrive in the world of podcasting.  For more information, click here.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

How Your Radio Station Can Send Tailored Email Campaigns to Listeners

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

Email marketing is a fantastic way to stay engaged with your radio station’s listeners. You can use it to encourage them to come back to your website regularly. I am a big proponent of setting up automated email campaigns. Few stations have the personnel they need to constantly be writing new emails. But, if you let the people in your database sit for too long without sending them any email, they may be surprised when they get receive a message after months of silence and view it as spam. By automating your email campaigns, you can stay in constant touch with your listeners without overburdening your staff.

There are two types of automated email campaigns: RSS-to-Email Campaigns, which are used to send out emails linking to content that you’ve just published on your website and Drip or Autoresponder Campaigns, which are used to recycle evergreen content on your website. The campaigns discussed below are RSS-to-Email campaigns for new content.

RSS-to-Email Campaigns
Here’s how an RSS-to-Email Campaign works: Your Email Service Provider (your ESP, such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, etc.) pulls your latest website posts and drops them into an email template, then sends the email out. Think of the RSS feed as a pipe that pushes your website content out to the ESP. If there’s nothing new in the pipe, no email goes out. And you can set these emails to go out on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

You can set up different RSS feeds for different types of posts on your website. For example, if your station’s website is built in WordPress, it already has different feeds for the posts that you put in different categories. They look like this:

http://example.com/category/categoryname/feed

This means that you can set up a different email campaign for different types of posts. By doing so, you can allow listeners to tell you what type of content that they would like to have sent to them. Here’s how:

1. Set Up Your Email List with Groups
In your ESP, set up “groups” or “segments” for your email list. As part of this, you’ll be adding a checkbox question to the registration form. It might look like this:

What would you like us to send you each week?

  • Concert Info
  • Contests
  • Local Music Info
  • Morning Show Recaps

2. Create Corresponding Categories for Your Website Posts
In the backend of your website, set up categories for each of the groups. When you add content to your website, categorize it accordingly so that it is included in the proper email campaign.

3. Set Up an RSS-to-Email Campaign for Each Category
Get the RSS feed for each of the categories you have set up. For example, if your site is built in WordPress, the feed for the Contests category might be http://wkrp.com/category/contests/feed. In your ESP, use that feed to set up an automated email campaign. For example, you might set up the campaign to say, “Every Thursday at 3:00pm, check the Concerts RSS feed for new posts. If there are new posts, drop them into an email template and send it out to everybody in the ‘Concerts’ group.”

You don’t want to send out all of your automated campaigns at the same time. You may want to send your morning show recaps out daily at noon, your concert listings on Thursday mornings, your local music updates on Sunday nights and your contest info on Monday mornings. Not everybody will get every email; they’ll only receive the emails they opt into.

By setting up multiple automated campaigns, you can continually engage with your listeners by sending them just the information that they want.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

5 Ideas for Podcasts That Your Radio Station Can Launch Now

Seth Resler at NAB Show 2017 in Las Vegas

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

Last Wednesday, I spoke about podcasting at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. My goal was to give everybody in the room ideas that they could use to launch a podcast in the next 30 days. You can see Inside Radio‘s writeup of my session here.

When you set out to create a new podcast, consider launching it as a pilot program. Commit to a finite number of episodes — ten, for example — and then stop to reevaluate after you’ve published those episodes. If it’s going great, publish a second season. If the concept doesn’t seem to be connecting, drop it and launch a different podcast. Most likely, the results will be somewhere in the middle and you’ll want to tweak the podcast before moving forward. By making a point of stopping to reevaluate and giving yourself the freedom to pivot, you don’t lock yourself into a never-ending commitment.

Looking for some ideas for your station’s first podcast? Here are five to consider:

1. A Passion Topic
Geekshow Podcast.  Sometimes, we have on-air talent that is passionate about a specific topic, but they are limited in how much they can talk about it on the air before alienating listeners. If your morning show co-host is a huge wrestling fan, a little can go a long way. But with a podcast, you can free your air talent up to talk about wrestling as much as they want — and they’ll probably enjoy doing so.

A great example of this is the Geekshow podcast produced by Kerry Jackson of the Radio From Hell morning show on X96 in Salt Lake City. Kerry loves geek culture, from superheroes to science fiction, so he launched a podcast dedicated to the topic. Over the years, his podcast has opened many doors for him, including enabling him to get involved with the Salt Lake City Comic Con.

Here is a list of passion topics to consider:

  • Sports
  • Food
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Movies
  • TV Shows
  • Video Games
  • Music
  • Parenting
  • Pets
  • Cars
  • Geek Culture
  • Technology
  • Fashion
  • History
  • Travel

2. A Crossover Podcast
Mega Cast. If you have two members of your airstaff who like working with each other but never get the opportunity to be on the air at the same time because of their respective dayparts, let them do a podcast together. This is what happened when morning man Steve Migliore and afternoon co-host Ted Smith of KISW in Seattle launched the Mega Cast. By enabling your personalities to team up to do a podcast, it allows listeners to get a deeper look at your station’s family.

3. A Podcast Centered on an Event
An event or a series of events can provide an ideal opportunity for a podcast. Every year, I head out to Hollywood for the Worldwide Radio Summit, where I record a series of backstage interviews with radio broadcasters. Over the past two years, I’ve interviewed people like Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, Hubbard CEO Ginny Morris and controversial morning show personality Bubba the Love Sponge.

Consider launching a podcast around one of the following types of events:

    • Concerts
    • Sports
    • Holidays
    • Art & Wine Festivals
    • News Stories

4. Branded Content
Radio stations.  A particularly well-positioned to create a podcast series for a client. For example, if there is a big craft beer festival in your town, you could do a series of interviews with different brewers that will be featured at the event. Release these interviews as a podcast and promote them through the station’s email database, social media channels and an on-air spot schedule. This is a great way for the station to target listeners who are likely to attend the event with unique content.

5. A Podcast for Clients
Consider creating a podcast that isn’t aimed at listeners, but at advertisers and potential advertisers. This podcast series would focus on how clients can get the best results out of their radio spend. For example, one of your DJs might host a series of interviews, including conversations with:

  • The Program Director on how radio ratings work
  • The Sales Manager on how to choose the right target audience
  • The Production Director on how to write compelling commercial copy
  • The Promotions Director on how to get the most out of on-site events

When it comes to launching a podcast, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Dive right in with a pilot season and you’ll learn a lot along the way. If you’d like to learn more about these podcast ideas, you can watch this webinar.

This August, Jacobs Media is producing a special track at the Podcast Movement conference designed specifically for radio broadcasters. We’ll zero in on the issues in podcasting that radio professionals need to know about. We hope you’ll join us.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

How to Give Away Lots of Digital Download Codes From a Record Label

Seth Resler
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

Earlier this week, I got a phone call from a radio programmer with an interesting question: A record label had given him 100 digital download codes for a band’s new single. He wanted to give these away through his radio station’s website. What’s the simplest way to do this and notify all of the winners, as the Promotions Director would rather not spend an entire afternoon cutting and pasting 100 emails?

I thought I’d share my answer, as many of you may find yourself in a similar situation at some point. The specific tools you will use will depend on how your station is set up, but the general principles are the same.

1. Build a contest entry form on your website using your usual software.
If you don’t already have software for this, you can use a solution like Formstack or the WordPress plugin Gravity Forms.

2. Export the contest entries as a .CSV file.
The CSV (Comma Separate Variable) file format is simply an easy way to move data from one program to another. In this case, we want to move the data out of your form-building or database software and use it in a spreadsheet.

3. Open this CSV file as a spreadsheet.
Which program you will use to open this spreadsheet will depend on what software your station uses as an email client. For example, if you use Microsoft Outlook for email, you’ll probably want to open the spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel. If you you use Google’s Gmail, you probably want to open it as a Google Sheet. Note that we’re talking about the software that you use to send individual business emails, not the Email Service Provider (ESP) that you use to send mass emails to listeners (Constant Contact, Mailchimp, AWeber, etc.).

4. Randomly delete all but 100 rows.
These are your winners. I’m not a lawyer, so check with your legal team to make sure that you do this in a way that conforms with your station’s contest rules.

5. Add a new column and paste in the digital download codes from the record label.
Or, if there’s a unique link for each winner, paste these into this column.

6. Set up a Mail Merge.
A mail merge is a process in which your email program sends out lots of emails by pulling in data from a spreadsheet and dropping it into a template. It’s a convenient way to send out a large batch of emails.

To start, you’ll need to set up an email template. For example, a template might look like this:

Dear [[FIRST NAME]],

Congratulations! You’ve won a free digital download for The Archies’ new song, “Sugar Sugar.” To download it, go to http://freedownload.com and enter this code:

[[DOWNLOAD CODE]]

Enjoy!

Love,

Everyone at WKRP

Once you’ve written the template, you can set up your email program to fill in the placeholders with the data from the spreadsheet. The exact process for doing this depends on which email program you’re using, so you might need to search the web for specific instructions. Here are instructions for doing a mail merge with Outlook and Gmail.

Note that email programs may have a limit on how many mail merge emails you can send out. This is to prevent you from using mail merge to circumvent spamming laws. You may need to send out your mail merge in a couple of batches. I don’t recommend using it for a contest with several hundred or thousands of listeners, but it will work well for dozens.

Mail Merge is a great technique that can save your promotions staff a lot of time. You can use it in many other situations as well. For example, if your station is producing a concert and you need to send information to lots of band managers, or if you want to send info to a lot of clients. I hope this technique saves you some time.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

7 Mistakes Radio Stations Make With Their Mobile Apps

Seth Resler
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

Over the past decade, the smartphone has absorbed or integrated with just about every household device you can imagine, from the remote control to the thermostat to the alarm clock. So it’s only natural that radio listeners now expect their phones to take on the role once played by the radio, too. To thrive, radio stations need to ensure that they have a presence on their listeners’ phones.

A mobile-responsive website alone won’t cut it. According to eMarketer, 86% of the time that people spend on their phones is spent in apps, while only 14% is spent on a mobile web browser. So if you want to capture the attention of your listeners, you’ll need a mobile app.

Our sister company, jācapps, has built over 1,000 mobile apps for radio stations. In that time, they’ve learned a thing or two. They’ve also seen some common mistakes made by radio stations when it comes to their mobile apps. Here they are:

1. They Don’t Know Where the Mobile App Fits Into Their Overall Digital Strategy
When it comes to digital strategy, always start by setting goals: What do you want your listeners to do? Once you have clearly stated goals, then you can start to think about how your different digital tools — including your mobile app — help your station achieve those goals. For example, if one of your station’s goals is to capture data about listeners, is your mobile app set up to do that? If one of the goals is to drive online listening, does that app put that functionality front and center? You don’t need an app just to have an app; you need an app to achieve specific station goals. Know what those goals are.

2. They Include Too Much Stuff
When it comes to deciding what goes into their mobile apps, radio stations have a tendency to cram everything in. This can result in an app that is difficult to navigate because it’s overloaded with things that listeners don’t really care about. Just because something is on your website, that doesn’t mean that it should be in your mobile app. Be judicious with what you include: live streaming, blog content, podcasts, and concert listings should rank high on the list. But that doesn’t mean that you also need to include the playlist from the Saturday night techno show. Less is more.

3. They Don’t Showcase Their Brand in The App
Your mobile app is an ideal place to place to strengthen the connection between your station and its listeners. Make sure that your app showcases your station’s brand properly. The station’s logo should appear in the header of every screen in the app and important content, such as “WKRP’s Phone Scams,” should be named so it aligns with the station’s on-air programming.

4. They Only Think About Smartphones
While smartphones are one of the most important places for radio stations to make apps available, they are far from the only place. As more cars roll off the assembly line with Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto in charge of the dashboard, stations need in-car apps to maintain their presence in vehicles. As smart TVs and home streaming devices like Apple TV and the Roku penetrate more homes, radio stations will want to be available there as well. And as smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, see increased sales, radio stations will want to make themselves available as “skills” on these devices.

5. They Don’t Perform Usability Tests on Their App
One of the most important tests we run on radio station websites is a usability test, in which we invite average people to think out loud as they use a website. This helps us figure out how websites get used in the real world and uncovers any tasks that people find challenging.

A usability test can also be run on a mobile app. Pay a handful of testers to come into the station. In one-on-one sessions, ask them to open the app and perform basic tasks: listen to the station, find the venue for an upcoming concert, set the alarm clock up, etc. Watch to see how easily the testers are able to perform these tasks. You’ll quickly discover any issues that need to be fixed.

6. They Don’t Promote the App
Many radio stations develop a mobile app, only to let it languish in the app stores. Once you’ve got a mobile app, develop a plan to tell your listeners about it. You have a number of tools at your disposal: live on-air mentions, sweepers and recorded promos, your website, your email database, social media, signage at on-site events, etc. You should even promote it on the side of the station van!

Occasionally, we hear radio broadcasters object, worrying that if fans listen to the station through a mobile app, the station might lose a PPM meter. While there is this risk, we think it misses the larger picture. These days, people expect to consume media when they want, where they want and on whatever device they want. It’s important for radio stations to make their content available on as many platforms as possible.

7. They Don’t Monitor the Analytics on a Regular Basis
You would never put a radio station on the air and then ignore the ratings. Yet many stations build an app but never look at the analytics to see how it’s performing. Set aside a regular time, such as your Weekly Web Meeting, for your staff to review your app analytics as a group. Pay attention to how many downloads the app gets, the reviews it is receiving in the app stores and any data points related to the goals of your digital strategy.

Webinar: Mobile App Strategy
If your radio station needs a mobile app, or if it needs a better app, our sister company, jācapps, is happy to help out. Next month, we’ll be teaming up with them for a webinar on mobile app strategy. Please join us!  Register here.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

10 Places to Ask for Email Addresses on Your Radio Station’s Website

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

One of the most important questions you can ask as part of your radio station’s digital strategy is this: “When listeners come to our website, what do we want them to do?” We call these actions, that we want our website visitors to take, “goals.” Your website may have multiple goals, but one of them should definitely be to drive listeners to sign up for your email database.

The calls to action related to your website goals should be front and center on the website. Too often, I see radio station websites that bury their email signup forms among a lot of other clutter. When we conduct usability tests on radio station websites, we always ask our testers to try and sign up for the station’s email list. You’d be amazed how many of them have trouble doing so.

Set and Meet Expectations
Remember, when asking for people to give you their email address, always tell them what you’re going to send them (Blogposts? Concert listings? Contests?) and how often they can expect to receive emails from your station. Once you set those expectations, make sure you meet them.

To make it easy for listeners to sign up for your radio station’s email list, here are ten places on your website that you can place a box that asks listeners to register:

1. Pop-Up Windows
When used incorrectly, pop-up windows are incredibly annoying. Never let your station’s sales team use pop-up windows to advertise car dealerships or mattress stores.

However, pop-up windows can be extremely effective when asking visitors if they would like to sign up for your email list. Essentially, what you’re saying is, “You seem to like what you’re reading. Would you like us to deliver more of it to your inbox?”

This strategy can be extremely effective. I have seen websites increase their email registrations by 500% by deploying pop-up windows. In fact, these windows are the top source of email signups on our own website.

2. The Stream
Many listeners visit radio station websites specifically because they are interested in listening online. According to our 2016 Techsurvey, 71% of listeners are willing to register to stream the station, making this an ideal opportunity to collect email addresses.

3. The Sidebar
If your website has a static sidebar that appears on most of the site’s pages, use this prime real estate to collect email addresses. I like to see everything in the sidebar connect back to your website’s goals, so declutter the sidebar by removing unnecessary content, such as Facebook and Twitter widgets. (Note that everything in the sidebar on our website leads you to a form that captures email addresses.)

4. End of Posts
If a person gets all the way to the end of a blogpost or article on your site, that’s an indication that they liked it. Use this as an opportunity to ask them if they would like to receive more of your station’s content by email.

5. Contest Entry Forms
Of course, everybody who enters a contest should be added to your station’s email list. Make sure that your website’s contest entry forms are properly integrated with your email database.

6. Concerts Page
On radio station websites, the Concert Listing is usually one of the site’s most visited pages. Use this page as an opportunity to extend a specific invitation to listeners. Instead of vaguely asking them to join your station’s email list, ask them to register to receive emails with concert listings, announcements and discounts. Then set up an email campaign with concert information tailored to people who register on this page.

7. Morning Show Page
This is another page on your website that deserves an invitation to register for a specific email campaign. On this page, ask visitors if they would like to receive a daily or weekly recap of the morning show. Then set up the corresponding email campaign.

8. Freemium Content
Freemium Content” is content that is free but only accessible to people who register. For example, on our website, our guides and webinar recordings are “freemium.” If your station has online content that is compelling enough that people are willing to register to access it, this can be an effective way to drive email signups. For example, your radio station may want to make any artist interviews that are older than six months available online, but put them behind a form to capture email addresses.

9. The Comments Box
If you allow visitors to comment on your site’s posts, add a checkbox that enables them to quickly and easily register for your email list when they do.

10. The 404 Error Page
The 404 Error Page is the webpage that appears when a website can’t find the link that a visitor is looking for. It often includes a message like, “Oops! We can’t find the page that you’re looking for.”

Add an email registration box to this page on your site with a message like, “…but don’t leave empty-handed. Sign up for our email list and we’ll send you our best stuff every week!” The 404 page can drive a small but significant number of email registrations.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

You’re a Radio DJ. You’ve Lost Your Job. How to Take Control of Your Online Presence

Seth Resler
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

Stay in the radio business long enough, and sooner or later you’ll find yourself out of work. It’s a rite of passage.

But, that doesn’t change the fact that in the moments immediately following your dismissal, you’re prone to panic. I’ve been there more than once or twice: carrying a box full of office supplies and old backstage passes out to the car. You may not feel this way now, but one day you will wear this battle scar as a badge of honor.

You’ll go home and work the phones immediately in the hopes of shaping the story before it gets out. I’m always reminded of this scene from Jerry Maguire:


Once the shock wears off and you’ve called all the people you need to call, it’s time to come up with a gameplan. There’s a good chance your future employer will look you up online, so it’s time to take control of your digital presence. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Set up a website
You need a central place on the web where you can direct both fans and potential employers. Purchase a domain for your on-air name, preferably one that ends in “dot com.” If there are common misspellings of your name, purchase domains for those, too. Even if you are using a hosted service like Blogger or WordPress.com, purchase a domain name and redirect it to your site. You can do this at any domain registry site, like GoDaddy or 1and1.com.

There are plenty of inexpensive website building programs out there. My recommendation is that you set up a self-hosted WordPress site. This isn’t hard to do, but if you’re not technically inclined, you can easily hire somebody to create one for you. One of WordPress’ big advantages is that once it’s set up, you can update it yourself with a backend that’s as intuitive as Microsoft Word. Plus, the platform is so popular that you can always find a WordPress developer for hire.

Your website doesn’t need to be fancy. A headshot, a brief bio, an aircheck and links to your social media profiles is enough. If you’ve got a blog, you get bonus points, but make sure you update it regularly and that you’ve posted recently. An out-of-date blog looks bad.

This photo was taken at the mall
This photo was taken at the mall

2. Get a professional headshot
Go to a photography studio and get some professional photos taken. You’re going to need them: for your website, for your social media profiles, for your YouTube aircheck.

Don’t cheap out on this. No, you can’t have your friend take a photo of you standing in front of a white wall. Shell out the $100 and get it done at one of those mall stores.

3. Update your LinkedIn profile
Many potential employers will take a look at your LinkedIn profile, so spend some quality time updating it. Make sure it’s complete, listing all of your past employers, along with a full list of your skills. You can upload files to your LinkedIn profile, so post your aircheck here to make it easy for people to listen to. Make sure you have a good number of connections, but don’t connect to people that you don’t really have a professional relationship with. LinkedIn shows you how complete your profile is — the more, the better.

4. Post your aircheck to Soundcloud and YouTube
No doubt, you’ve edited together a 3-minute aircheck demo before, but it may have been a while. If you don’t have access to an audio workstation anymore, you can download free or inexpensive software like Audacity or Garageband to get the job done.

Forget about burning your aircheck to CD; nobody has time for that anymore. Instead, create a Soundcloud account and upload your aircheck. Soundcloud is ideal for short pieces of audio because it is free, its audio player can easily be embedded on a website, and it integrates very nicely with social networks like Facebook. When somebody asks you for your aircheck, email them a link to your Soundcloud demo, don’t attach an Mp3 file; clicking is easier than downloading, especially if your email is received on a mobile device.


You may want to upload your aircheck to YouTube as well. Like Soundcloud files, YouTube videos are easy to embed on websites and share over social networks. The easiest way to make a YouTube video is to use a slideshow program like Powerpoint or Keynote. Create a single slide with your photo and name on it. Import your aircheck as audio. Then export the entire thing as a movie file and upload it to YouTube. Make sure you include a link to your website in the description of your video on YouTube.

5. Take control of your social media presence
Hopefully you have been actively using social media throughout your career, but if not, now is the time to start. At the very least, you should have a Facebook page (not just a personal profile), a LinkedIn profile, and a Twitter account. Use a program like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to manage all of your social media profiles from one place. If you haven’t been posting regularly, start. Aim for at least once per day.

Now is a good time to start participating in various online communities. Join discussions in some LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ groups. There are several that focus on the radio industry, including this Facebook group.

Bonus: Launch a podcast
Want to keep your skills honed? Start podcasting. It’s not likely to replace your income, but it can be a good way to stay involved. Plus, it’s a great skill to put on a resumé. Start with our podcasting guide or join the Podcast Movement Facebook group. Better yet, book a trip to the Podcast Movement conference this summer. It’s easy to teach yourself and the equipment is relatively inexpensive.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

10 Ways to Get Listeners to Sign Up for Your Radio Station’s Text Message List

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Every radio station should be building a text message list. Text message lists are inexpensive ways to stay engaged with your P1 listeners. It is far easier for listeners to opt in to a text message list than give you their email address when they are out and about with nothing but their mobile phones. This means that text message lists are perfect for concerts, sporting events, and other on-premise promotions.

Use a specialized service to set up your text message database. You will want to reserve a keyword, such as your call letters. (There is a small monthly fee for this.) When people text that word to your services dedicated number, they will automatically be signed up for the list. For example, if they text “WKRP” to the number 55555, they will have joined the list.

Once you have set up an account with a text message service and reserved your keyword, you need to get word out about your text message list. For example, you need to tell your listeners to “Text WKRP to 55555 to win cool prizes.”

Beware of the Text Message Trolls

A word of warning: Several radio broadcasting companies have been slapped with fines because they sent out mass text messages in a manner that did not conform with applicable laws. With text messaging in particular, there are “trolls” that subscribe to lists in the hope that a company will run afoul of the law so that they can seek payment. Always consult your legal team before initiating any text message strategy to ensure that your station does not run into any issues.

One way to sidestep problems may be to use your text message service to immediately encourage people to subscribe to your email newsletter. For example, when people text “WKRP’ to the number 55555, they will immediately receive a message that says “Reply with your email address to subscribe to our mailing list.” By doing this, you can take advantage of text messaging, but still use email as the primary communication method, thereby avoiding the trolls.

But seriously, check with your lawyers first.

Here are ten ways to get that message out to your listeners:

1. On-Air Contests

The era of “Caller #9” is over. Instead, require listeners to text in to enter a contest. Your promotions department can log into your text message service to pick a winner, or even set it up to automatically text one random entrant a winning text message.

The downside? You don’t get to air a caller telling you “which station hooks you up with all the cool swag!”

The upside? You capture the phone number of every single listener who enters the contest.

2. On-Site Contests

At on-site promotional appearances, don’t ask listeners to write their email address on a slip of paper with a golf pencil. Your promotions staff has better things to do than enter those email addresses into your database by hand. Instead, require entrants to text in to win, just as you would with an on-air contest.

If the local car dealership still likes to see that old prize wheel in their parking lot, no problem; just ask people to opt in to the text message list and show you the welcome message that is automatically sent back for a chance to spin.

3. Sweepers

Cue the station voice: “Want to join our email list? Text WKRP to 55555.” Rotate once per hour.

4. On-Stage Intros

When your DJ gets on stage to introduce the headliner at the next concert, make sure they tell people to pull out their phones and text in.

5. T-Shirts, Bumper Stickers, and Keychains

The great thing about the phrase “Text WKRP to 55555” is that it’s short enough to fit on every piece of promotional merchandise you give away.

6. The Station Vehicle

When you get that vehicle wrapped, include the text message instructions on all four sides of the van.

7. Banners and Signage

Yup. Here, too.

8. Wristbands

Wristbands are cheap. Print up several thousand with text message instructions on them and give them to your local concert venue to use when your artists come to town.

9. Artist Interviews

Got an interview with a big artist? Allow people to text in with a question that they want asked (“Text ‘WKRP and your question to 55555’ and maybe we’ll ask them on the air.”). Everybody who submits a question will be signed up for the list, and you’ll get a list of great ideas. You can even give prizes out to listeners if you use their questions.

10. Advertising

Planning a big outdoor, print or TV campaign? Include your radio station’s text message instructions.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

7 Features Radio Broadcasters Should Look for in a Smartphone App

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

 

According to eMarketer, people spend 86% of the time they spend on their smartphones using mobile apps, and only 14% of their time using a mobile web browser. If your radio station wants to reach its listeners through their phones, it’s not enough to have a mobile-responsive website; your station needs a mobile app as well.

What should your radio station look for when building a mobile app? Here are seven key features:

1. Streaming
The number one feature radio listeners look for in a smartphone app is the ability to stream the radio station. According to our 2016 Techsurvey, 84% of radio listeners own a smartphone. If they’ve downloaded your app, they can listen to your station wherever they are — at work, in the car, at the gym, at home, etc.
Seth-12. Registration/Data Collection
Once upon a time, advertisers were primarily interested in reaching the most consumers. Today, they are focused on reaching the right consumers. After all, a golf store doesn’t want to pay to reach a bunch of people who don’t play golf.

To connect your advertisers with the right people, your radio station will need to collect data about its listeners — above and beyond the data provided by Nielsen. Your radio station’s app can play a crucial role in that process. Make sure you are building an app that is capable of gathering data from listeners through registration forms, contest entries, social media integration, and more.

3. Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities
Digital revenue continues to be the best growth opportunity for radio broadcasters. According to a recent study by Borrell Associates and the Radio Advertising Bureau, digital revenue for radio stations is expected to grow by 22% in 2017. Make sure that your station’s app gives your sales team opportunities to generate revenue.

Seth-24. Push Notifications
A push notification is a message that pops up on a listeners mobile device, even when the app generating that notification isn’t currently being used. Push notifications are an effective way to alert your listeners to time-sensitive issues. For example, you may want to let listeners know when an on-air contest is happening, when tickets to a big concert go on sale, or when there’s an emergency in your community.

5. Social Sharing Buttons
As part of a Content Marketing strategy, social media is a very effective way to attract people to your radio station’s website. You want to make is easy for listeners to share your radio station’s online content, such as blogposts, on their social networks. When they do this, they bring their friends back to your website. If your mobile app is showcasing your station’s online content, make sure it also makes it easy for people to share that content.

6. Alarm Clock
In our 2016 Techsurvey, we saw the smartphone overtake the clock radio as the primary device used to wake people up for the first time. So if you want listeners to continue to wake up to your radio station, you’ll need an alarm clock feature in your app.
Seth-37. Podcasts
While podcast listening has seen steady growth over the years, it still hasn’t achieved mass adoption. In our 2016 Techsurvey, only 28% of radio listeners reported listening to a podcast in the last month. The reason for that is simple: Listening to a podcast requires several steps: You have to download a “podcatcher” app, find a podcast, subscribe to the podcast, and then download the latest episode.

Radio stations are very well-positioned to take advantage of the podcasting medium, in part because they can make it easier for their fans to listen to podcasts by including them in their mobile app. This cuts the number of steps down, making a station’s podcasts accessible to more people.

Mobile Strategy Webinar
Our sister company, jācapps, has built over one thousand radio station apps. Next month, join us as we co-host a free webinar with the jācapps team: “Mobile 101: What Every Radio Station Should Know About Mobile App Strategy.”  Register here.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.