Category Archives: Digital/Social/Web

Google Alerts: A Handy Tool Every Radio Broadcaster Should Know About

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

We all know that we can go to and search the web for information on a particular topic. But did you know that you can tell Google to constantly do a background search of the web and let you know whenever it finds a new webpage about that topic? You can — using a feature called Google Alerts. Here’s how it works:

1. Go to and enter a keyword or phrase in the search bar.

Enter y word or phrase just as you would if you were doing a regular Google search. For example, if you want an exact phrase match, enter the term in quotation marks (e.g., “Howard Stern”).

2. Before you click the ‘Create Alert’ button, click ‘Show Options.’

Google lets you specify how you want this alert to work. For example, you can specify whether you want “All Results” or “Only the Best Results.” The most important option is the “Deliver To” dropdown menu. You can have the results sent to you as an email, but I prefer to have the results delivered in an RSS feed.

RSS Feeds

Think of an RSS feed as a cable channel that can be plugged into an RSS Reader, which is like a television set. You can choose the feeds you want to plug in to your reader and customize your own “cable package.”

For example, you can set up alerts for “WKRP,” “Howard Stern,” and “Pandora” and have those delivered to a Feedly RSS Reader account so that you can gather everything you want to read into one place. News sites and blogs usually have their own RSS feeds as well, so you could also pull feeds for TMZ, Entertainment Weekly and your local newspaper’s sports section in the reader.

(You can even use RSS feeds to create a free, customized show prep service. Here’s a tutorial.)

More Google Alerts

Once you’ve set up your first Google Alert, repeat the process for as many keywords or phrases as you want. Here are some ideas:

    • Your station’s call letters.
    • The station’s on-air talent.
    • The morning show.
    • Signature station events, such as concerts.
    • Benchmark features and specialty shows.
    • Your competition’s call letters, DJs, events and key features.
    • Areas of interest to you: smart speakers, autonomous cars, podcasts, etc.

If you like digital techniques like this one, you may want to check out our webinar recording: “Digital Tricks Every Radio DJ Should Know.”

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

4 Things You Can Remove From Your Radio Station’s Homepage

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

The website homepage is more important for radio stations than it is for many other businesses that use a Content Marketing strategy to attract web traffic. For most businesses, the strategy works like this: create online content (blogposts) and share that content through social media and search engines to pull people back to your website. This means that in a successful content marketing strategy, most visitors come to the website through a side door (a blogpost), not the front door (the homepage).

But radio stations have a third channel to drive traffic to their websites: their airwaves. Listeners hear the website mentioned on the radio, go to a browser and type in the station’s url directly. As a result, radio stations see a much higher percentage of their traffic come through the homepage than other businesses. In Google Analytics terms, website visitors who type the url into their browser are called ‘direct traffic.’

Because radio stations typically see so much direct traffic, the design of the homepage is critical. Unfortunately, too many radio stations cram too much stuff onto their homepages. As I’ve seen in the course of running many usability tests on radio station websites, the result is an overwhelming and frustrating mess.

Most radio stations would benefit by removing unnecessary elements from their homepage. The key to doing this is to understand what role different webpages play in your online strategy. After all, not all webpages serve the same purpose. Some pages, such as blogposts, are there to attract people to the website in the first place. Others, such as contest pages, are there to capture data from your listeners. To accomplish the goals of your digital strategy, you need to not only know what the purpose of each webpage is, but also when to present that page to your website visitors.

With that in mind, let’s look at some elements which you can remove from your radio station’s homepage:

1. The Slideshow
If there’s one element that is single-handedly bringing down the quality of every radio station website in America, it’s the slideshow. The slideshow was designed to showcase multiple different stories on a website. It makes sense for bloggers, news stations and sports stations. It has no business on a music station’s website.

Yet almost every single music radio station has one. Why? Because the slideshow prevents fights inside the station. When the morning show is demanding some homepage real estate to promote their signature bit, and the MD wants to showcase a hot new band, and the promotions director wants to plug this weekend’s street team stop, and the sales manager needs a little something to close the deal with Dunkin’ Donuts, it’s really useful to dole out homepage slides like you’re Oprah Winfrey giving away cars. (“You get a slide! And you get a slide!”)

But this does nothing for the listeners.

Think of your homepage as a billboard for your radio station — it’s a chance to make a first impression. What’s the first and most important thing you want your listeners to know about your station? That you’re giving away coffee coolattas and tickets to The Fast and the Furious 26?


You want people to know what type of music you play and the other important features of your station. The homepage is the place for core artists, positioning statements and perhaps photos of the morning show cast. For the sake of your listeners, axe the slideshow, even if it means that your staff argues more.

2. Blogposts
Blogposts and news stories are great pieces of content to drive people to your radio station’s website from social media and search engines. Once people are already on your station’s site, however, these pieces of content have served their purpose. There is no reason to send them there now; instead, you want visitors to accomplish one of the goals of your website: stream the station, sign up for the email list, enter a contest, etc. So don’t use valuable homepage real estate to send people to your station’s blog; use it to steer them towards one of these goals.

This doesn’t mean that you’re preventing people from reading the blog once they’re on the homepage; you should still link to it in your site’s main menu. It just means that you aren’t going to go out of your way to send them to a blogpost when you could be sending them towards one of the site’s goals.

3. Social Media Widgets
By the same token, the point of having social media accounts is to attract people to your station’s website so you can get them to accomplish one of your goals. Once they’ve come to the site, the last thing you want to do is send them back to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Instead, keep them on your website. Remove any widgets that display your station’s latest tweets and status updates (but keep a link to your social media accounts).

4. The Weather
The weather appears on radio station websites as a holdover from a bygone era. People don’t go to radio station websites to find out the weather — there’s an app for that! (Though I prefer to ask Alexa while getting dressed.) Weather may still have a place on your radio station’s airwaves — even if it’s more likely to be motivated by sponsorship dollars than listener demand — but it has no place on your radio station’s homepage unless you are running a news station.

When it comes to radio station homepages, less is more. Use this prime real estate to make a first impression and drive your listeners towards the site’s goals. Remove anything that doesn’t advance this strategy.

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

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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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:

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 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 and enter this code:




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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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, purchase a domain name and redirect it to your site. You can do this at any domain registry site, like GoDaddy or

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 [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.