Tag Archives: Issue 119

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

Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WOOD-TV, WDIV-TV Will Host Gubernatorial Debates Announced for October 12 and 24

Candidates in Michigan’s November Gubernatorial election will appear in two debates in October.  Democrat Gretchen Whitmer and Republican Bill Schuette will appear in debates hosted by WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids) on October 12 and WDIV-TV (Detroit) on October 24.

In Grand Rapids, Rick Albin, host of WOOD-TV’s political show “To the Point,” will moderate then first debate, to be held at the WOOD-TV studios.  In Detroit, WDIV-TV’s Kimberly Gill and Devin Scillian will moderate the second debate.  That debate will be held at the WDIV-TV studios.

Each debate includes questions from the moderators and will permit opening and closing statements. Debates will be televised by the hosting stations, streamed online and likely will be simulcast across Michigan on other stations.

Reminder: TV Shared Services Agreements Must Be on File with FCC

The FCC reaffirmed its requirement for commercial TV stations to disclose their Shared Services Agreements (SSAs) by uploading them to the online public inspection files. This requirement took effect on March 23, 2018. Each commercial TV station that is a party to an SSA executed before the March 23 effective date was required to place a copy of the SSA in its public file within 180 days. The deadline for those stations (September 19) has just passed.

SSAs executed after the March 23, 2018 effective date must be placed in stations’ online public files in a timely fashion. Stations must upload SSAs to a folder designated “Shared Service Agreements” on their station profile webpages. Further information can be found in the FCC’s public notice.

C-Band Satellite Dish Users Must Register by October 17

According to the Broadcast Law Blog, the FCC issued a reminder to all operators “of fixed-satellite service (FSS) earth stations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band that were constructed and operational as of April 19, 2018″ that the filing window to license or register such earth stations closes on October 17, 2018. This band and is commonly referred to as the “C-Band” and many of the “FSS earth stations” are satellite dishes that receive programming used by both radio and TV stations. The FCC is exploring allowing additional users into this spectrum, and has warned that only registered users of the spectrum will be entitled to any protections against any new users who may be authorized.

The FCC also stipulated in the public notice that those being protected not only need to have been operating by April 19 and registered by October 17 to be protected, but those entities will need to certify that the information in their registrations is correct on a form that will be made by the agency at a future date.

Pro-Trump SuperPAC Putting More than $850K Into the 8th and 11th Congressional Districts

The pro-Donald Trump SuperPAC called America First placed a $854,000 media buy into Michigan’s 8th Congressional District and a $850,000 order into Michigan’s 11th according to a report in Gongwer.

The spending was part of a $12.5 million ad buy put into 12 competitive 2018 midterm races. The ads will start October 2.

Universities Launch Media Campaign to Boost Enrollment

The Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU) launched a campaign with the goal of increasing higher education enrollment. The campaign, which is slated to run two years, includes radio and television advertising as well as online ads and is targeted to communities that have lower rates of enrollment.

The group is promoting both opportunities for financial assistance and the career possibilities of getting a degree.

The Assocation website is here.

See an news story on the advertising campaign from WILX-TV here.

Court of Appeals Upholds Copyright Royalty Board’s 2015 Webcasting Rate Decision

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP

On September 18, The US Court of Appeals released a decision upholding the Copyright Royalty Board’s 2015 decision setting the SoundExchange royalty rates for 2016-2020. We wrote about that decision here, and provided more details here. In any appeal of an agency decision, the Court routinely affords the agency deference in reaching its decision. The Court will not overturn that decision unless it has no basis in the record developed on the matter before the agency, or unless the agency decision was arbitrary and capricious – in plain English, the agency did not reach a logical conclusion based on the facts before it. That means that the Courts will not overturn a decision just because the agency might have logically reached another decision – but instead it will only intervene where the agency came to a conclusion that could not be logically supported. In this case, no reason to overturn the CRB decision was found.

SoundExchange on appeal had attacked the CRB decision on several grounds – arguing that several defects led to an inappropriate decision as to the rates that would have been determined by a “willing buyer and willing seller” in a marketplace, the standard to be used by the CRB in setting rates. SoundExchange attacked the benchmarks that were relied on by the CRB to set the rates (the direct licensing deals on royalties arrived at between webcasters Pandora and iHeart Media and various record companies) arguing that these rates were too low as they were negotiated in the “shadow of the statutory license.” They argued that the only direct deals that could have been done were ones that were lower than the rates established by the CRB during the prior rate term, as no music service would agree to higher rates. Arguments were also raised that these rates relied on “steering” – the prospect that labels who agreed to the rates had songs played more frequently than those that did not agree to lower rates. SoundExchange argued that not all labels could take advantage of steering (as a label can only get the benefit of steering when a service is playing less of the music of labels that did not pay for steering). The appeals also challenged the determination that a qualified auditor to check royalty compliance had to be a CPA licensed in the state where the audit was conducted.

The Court looked at all of these arguments and a few related claims, and found that the CRB had adequately justified its decision. The direct deals were the only negotiated benchmarks that existed for noninteractive webcasting services, so they were appropriate to use in setting the royalties. The Court found that there was nothing wrong with relying on agreements that did exist, rather than trying to determine what agreements might exist in some hypothetical situation where a statutory royalty did not exist. The rejection of the steering argument was also appropriate, as the CRB had found that the royalties approximated what would happen in a competitive market were there no statutory royalties where labels were competing to get their product played on music services. The Court also found that the decision as the auditors had a basis in the record.

With this decision, any lingering doubts (see our article here about the appeal being filed) about the current royalties have been resolved, and the rates will (absent an unlikely further appeal) stay in place though the end of 2020. Of course, that is not far away, and next year, the process will begin again, as the CRB starts its proceeding to determine the rates for 2021-2025. The process that seemingly never ends…..

David Oxenford is MAB’s Washington Legal Counsel and provides members with answers to their legal questions with the MAB Legal Hotline. Access information here. (Members only access).

There are no additional costs for the call; the advice is free as part of your MAB membership.

Nationwide EAS/WEA Test Rescheduled for October 3; New Reporting Dates

On Monday, FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), postponed the nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) until October 3, 2018 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.

The test was originally scheduled for September 20.

On October 3, the WEA (cellphone) portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS (broadcast) portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.

October 3 was the previously scheduled back-up date for the test.  A backup date is always planned in case of widespread severe weather or other significant events on the primary test date.

For broadcasters, the test will be similar to a required monthly test, but will originate at FEMA facilities in Washington, D.C.

EAS equipment properly setup should pass on the test as required.

FEMA is offering broadcasters resources for this year’s test.  The national test website is at https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-test.  FEMA regularly updates the site as new content becomes available.

PSAs:  FEMA is also offering PSAs for broadcasters to run.  The 15, 30 and 60 seconds PSAs (video and audio) are available at FEMA’s media library: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/multimedia/collections/645.  FEMA has uploaded the MPEG versions to NAB’s website.

Broadcaster Reporting Requirements:  EAS Participants shall file the “day of test” information sought by ETRS Form Two at or before 11:59 PM EDT on October 3. EAS Participants shall file the more detailed post-test data sought by ETRS Form Three on or before November 19.

Another reminder for news, programming and production personnel:  Broadcasters and cable providers are not to air the audio attention signal for WEA or the EAS during any news coverage of the test. Any transmission, including broadcast, of the WEA or EAS attention signals or codes, or a simulation of them, under any circumstances other than a genuine alert, authorized test, or approved public service announcement violates the Commission’s rules and undermines the important public safety precautions that WEA and EAS provide. See 47 CFR §§ 10.520(d), 11.45. While the Commission encourages improving public awareness of WEA and the EAS, including the upcoming nationwide test, broadcasters and cable providers are reminded to exercise caution and avoid inadvertently broadcasting the WEA or EAS tones in a news story.