Category Archives: Digital/Social/Web

3 Things I Learned from Configuring My Alexa Devices

Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

When I bought my Amazon Echo a year ago, it immediately changed my behavior at home. I suddenly found myself listening to music around the house far more often. Moreover, I found myself listening to a wider variety of music than ever before. And it wasn’t just music. Suddenly, it was easy to call up a podcast or audiobook while cooking or folding the laundry. Thanks to the Echo, audio entertainment became a far more frequent occurrence in my home.

I recently moved into a new house, and this week I finally found the time to configure my smart speaker setup. I have an Amazon Echo, and my girlfriend has two Amazon Dots. I spent a couple of hours figuring out which device should go in which room. (FYI: A Dot in the bedroom, a Dot in the living room, and the Echo in the kitchen.) Along the way, I discovered a few of Alexa’s quirks. Here are three that radio broadcasters (and audio fans) should be aware of:

1. Devices can be grouped, but they can only belong to one group.
In the Alexa smartphone app that you use to set up your devices, you can create “Audio Groups.” This allows you to play audio on multiple devices simultaneously. So as I move from the bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen in the course of my morning routine, I can listen everywhere I go.

Unfortunately, devices can only belong to one group at a time. So if I have a group called “Front of House” with my living room Dot and my kitchen Echo, I cannot also have a group called “Everywhere” that contains all three devices. Amazon forces you to pick and choose groups.

2. Bluetooth speakers don’t work with Audio Groups.
While the Echo has a decent speaker, the audio quality from the Dots is subpar. Normally, this is fine, because I can connect them to a quality bluetooth speaker. Unfortunately, when a device is used in conjunction with other devices through an Audio Group, the bluetooth functionality goes away. This apparently happens because there is a lag when using bluetooth, so the audio coming from the different devices would be out of sync.

One workaround is to connect the Alexa device to the bluetooth speaker through an old fashioned audio cable. Unfortunately, I moved into an older house where the wiring isn’t grounded. This means that when I have the bluetooth speaker plugged into a power outlet and connected to a Dot with an audio cable at the same time, there’s an annoying hum. So, at the moment, to get a high-quality voice-activated audio setup that doesn’t require me to manually plug or unplug any wires, I’ll have to spend more money. My advice: Before you plunk down a lot of cash down for expensive bluetooth speakers, make sure you understand how they work with Alexa’s Audio Groups.

3. Alexa Routines now include audio.
Last year, Amazon introduced “Routines,” the ability to chainlink multiple commands and give it a unique name. For example, you can create a routine called “Start My Day” containing weather and traffic actions. When you say, “Alexa, start my day,” she will read the weather and traffic reports. I was bummed to learn that Routines are limited to a short list of actions: news, weather, traffic, volume control, smart home devices (such as turning up the heat on a wi-fi thermostat), and silly Alexa sayings. No music — at least, not on the evening that I was arranging my devices.

Lo and behold, the very next day, Amazon announced that they were adding the ability to listen to music, radio, and podcasts to Routines. However, this audio can only come from a short list of audio providers: Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, or your personal library. The good news for radio stations is that this makes it possible for Alexa owners to include their favorite radio morning show in their morning Routines. The (only somewhat) bad news is that it’s only possible through a third party that radio stations have no control over.

At the Worldwide Radio Summit in May, Fred Jacobs will reveal the results of our latest Techsurvey. This year, over 550 radio stations participated and more than 64,000 radio listeners told us how they’re using new technologies. But we’ve already revealed once juicy tidbit: smart speaker ownership is exploding. In fact, it nearly doubled in a single year, with 21% of respondents reporting that they own a smart speaker, up from just 11% in 2017. The vast majority of these people own Amazon devices.

If the audio listening habits of these people change as dramatically as my own habits have, it could have significant impact on radio broadcasters. If you’re in radio and you don’t own a smart speaker, I highly recommend getting one or two to see what you learn by using them. Plus, you can write them off as a business expense! 

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

Why Your Station Should Switch to a Secure 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

In the wake of recent revelations about the way Facebook data has been used, the general public is expressing increased concern over data privacy. This concern will impact radio stations, as listeners will come to expect that any data they provide through their favorite radio station’s website will be kept secure. In light of these concerns, it is more important than ever that radio stations secure their websites.

When we talk about “secure websites,” we mean that the data passed between the computer that a website originates from and the computer with the browser displaying the site is scrambled. If somebody else accesses the data as it is passed from one computer to the other, they will only be able to see a string of characters, and they will not be able to make any sense of it.

Insecure website URLs begin with “http://,” while secure website URLs begin with “https://.” The extra letter ‘s’ stands for ‘secure,’ and signifies that the website is using an SSL Certificate (a special set of files) to encrypt its data. When you visit a secure website, you will see a green padlock displayed in your browser’s URL bar to indicate that the site is secure.

If your radio station’s website is not currently secured with an SSL certificate, here’s why your webmaster should secure it:

1. Your Station is Asking Listeners for Personal Data
Your radio station is probably asking your listeners to provide data through its website, whether it’s inviting them to register for the email database or to enter a contest. Ensuring that listeners’ data is safe is not only the ethical thing to do, but it’s the smart thing to do as well. It reduces your station’s risk of everything from lawsuits to PR debacles.

2. Browsers Will Scare Listeners Away from Insecure Websites
Increasingly, web browsers are going to do more to let people know that they are visiting insecure websites. Currently, if you use Google Chrome to visit an insecure site, the browser labels it with a grey “info” icon in the URL bar. In the near future, Chrome will label insecure websites with red warning icons. These new labels will discourage listeners from entering personal information into your station website, and you will likely see a drop off in email signups and contest entries.

3. It Will Impact Your Ranking in Google’s Search Results
For years, Google has indicated that it will take a website’s security into consideration when deciding which ones to list at the top of its search results. If your website is not secure, you could be losing traffic to similar sites because Google would rather send people to a site that will provide people with a safer experience.

Securing a website is usually not a difficult process. If you haven’t secured your radio station’s site, now is the time to talk to your web developer about doing it.

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

Facebook’s Got Big Problems – And They’re Going to Impact Your Radio Station

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

Fred Jacobs:  “Social media has become a part of radio’s promotional, marketing, and in some cases, sales plans. Over the past decade, its use has skyrocketed, led by the almighty Facebook. Always first in both “cume” and daily “time spent socializing” in our Techsurveys, Facebook has emerged as a go-to tool for stations, as well as personalities.” 

“Our resident Digital Dot Connector – Seth Resler – has been thinking long and hard about how Facebook’s recent problems impact all of  us, but also how radio broadcasters will be affected by an unsettled environment in the world’s leading social media platform. Trying to make sense out of a landscape that is now very much in flux goes to the heart of Seth’s “take” on where Facebook might be headed – and where that leaves radio.”

Recently, I was at the Michigan Association of Broadcasters’ Great Lakes Media Show in Lansing, when a social media manager told me that her radio station had seen a significant dropoff in interaction on Facebook since the social network had altered its algorithm in the wake of criticism over its role in the 2016 election.

Other radio stations have reported the same thing to me: huge declines in the number of people seeing and engaging with their content since Facebook has shifted its focus away from displaying business page content and towards personal interaction.

“How do we get more people to see our posts?” the social media manager asked me.

I don’t know.

I don’t know because Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t know.

If you’ve been following the news, you know Facebook is facing huge problems and even bigger questions at the moment. In the wake of revelations that Cambridge Analytica used the social network to gather data on millions of people and use that data to exploit political divisions, Facebook’s stock nosedived, losing nearly $5o billion in value. After several days of being MIA, Zuckerberg finally made the rounds in the media to apologize.

But Facebook’s problems go well beyond a mere public relations issue. While facts are still coming to light, it’s possible the social network was weaponized by foreign actors in an attempt to hobble the most powerful nation on the planet.

Your radio station’s decline in interaction is just one small piece of a much larger and murkier picture. Facebook will inevitably be forced to change the way it does business. In the past, they’ve never been particularly good at communicating about changes they make to their platform. Now, as the company faces pressure from angry users, investors, and government regulators, there’s no telling what they’ll do as they muddle through this mess.

One thing is sure: Whatever happens, it will impact your radio station…along with thousands of other businesses across the globe.

So what is a radio station to do?

We’ve often talked about the difference between “renting” and “owning” channels. When you create original content and post it on your website, you are using a channel that you own. When you post content on Facebook, you are renting a channel that somebody else owns.

Of course, the rent has always been free … or at least, so it seemed. Now we’re discovering that “free” comes with a heavy price. For users, that price is a loss of privacy. For businesses, that price is an algorithm with rules that can be changed at a moment’s notice, without explanation or notification.

Over the years, our annual Techsurveys have shown that Facebook is, by far, the dominant social network used by radio listeners. So dominant, in fact, that we’ve advised many radio stations to focus the vast majority of their social media efforts on Facebook. If you had limited resources — and every radio station I know has limited resources — the smart move is to shortchange Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and spend your time, creativity, and effort on Facebook instead.

In the wake of recent revelations, it may be time to revisit that advice. Not because we expect Facebook to lose its position as the dominant social network — although some users may abandon it out of privacy concerns — but because it may be unwise for radio stations to put all of their eggs in Zuck’s basket. It’s time for your radio station to diversify its social media efforts by increasing its investment in other channels.

Of course, to do this, you’ll need more eggs. If your radio station has been skating by with a single, less experienced staffer handling your social media strategy, it’s time to step up your game. You will need to invest serious resources into hiring, training, and tools for social media. Offer digital staffers salaries that are competitive with other industries. Send your digital staffers to training programs and conferences outside of the radio space to help them gain a competitive edge. Invest in social media management software that enables your team to successfully execute their strategy.

Because if there’s one takeaway in the current controversy, it’s that social media is an incredibly powerful communication tool — powerful enough to disrupt nations — and broadcasting companies need to treat it as seriously as they treat their airwaves.

In just a few weeks, Techsurvey 2018 will be presented, revealing new metrics that will help radio stations of all formats make these decisions. With more than 64,000 respondents in the sample, we’ll have data on more than a dozen formats that will provide guidance and direction.

For some stations, investment in other social platforms will be an effective tool for connecting to your audience. For others where Facebook has been the only portal that’s mattered, your social impact will most certainly suffer.

But as Fred reminded me, there’s always that other form of “social interaction” – street presence and eye contact with your audience. As the weather improves all over the country, this might be a good time to connect more personally with your audience.

And at least you own your station van.

 

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

How Radio Stations Can Use Gary Vaynerchuck’s $1.80 Instagram Strategy

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

Gary Vaynerchuck (a.k.a. “Gary Vee”), the CEO of digital media agency VaynerMedia, is a popular speaker, author, and podcaster in the digital marketing space. He’s also an Instagram evangelist.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Personally, I am bearish on Instagram’s value as a marketing tool for radio stations. First, because radio is not an inherently visual medium. Second, because Instagram — unlike, for example, Pinterest — does not allow users to include clickable links inside individual posts. You can only include a clickable link in the account profile. This makes it very difficult to use Instagram to drive traffic back to your radio station’s website, where you can steer visitors towards actions that contribute to your station’s bottom line.

Nonetheless, as Facebook tweaks its algorithm to show users less content from businesses and media outlets, many radio stations are expressing a desire to invest more time and energy into other social networks, including Instagram. (Note: Facebook owns Instagram.) If your radio station is looking for some practical advice for approaching Instagram, you may want to adopt Vaynerchuck’s $1.80 Instagram strategy.

1. Identify Popular Hashtags in Your Market
Last year, Instagram enabled people to search posts by hashtag. To do this, open Instagram on your phone and click the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the screen. When the search bar appears at the top of your screen, click in it. Four tabs will appear: Top, People, Tags, and Places. Click on “Tags” and type in the tag that you want to search for.

One way to find popular hashtags in your market is to choose a big venue, such as a convention center, university, or park. Go to the calendar on the venue’s website. Browse the upcoming events, find the websites for the most popular events, and scan their social media feeds for hashtags. Using this technique, you may discover local hashtags like #ComicConSLC or #DenverBeerFest.

You can also find hashtags with a site like TrendsMap.com. Although Trends Map tracks Twitter hashtags, not Instagram hashtags, the two social networks are likely to have overlapping hashtags.

Vaynerchuck recommends identifying the ten hashtags that are most relevant to your audience. Some of those hashtags, such as #Orlando, may stay the same over time. Others, such as #FinalFour, may come and go.

2. Leave Thoughtful Comments
For each of these ten hashtags, you’ll want to identify the top nine posts. When considering posts, look at a number of factors — the number of followers the posting account has, the number of likes, the number of comments, the relevance to your audience, etc. This is not an exact science; you’re eyeballing the post and making an educated guess. On each of these top posts, leave a thoughtful comment. Gary refers to this as “adding your 2 cents,” which is where the $1.80 strategy comes from: 10 hashtags * 9 posts * $.02 = $1.80.

It’s important to make sure the comments you leave are relevant and engaging to the publisher of the original post. A good example: Reply to a local comedy club who posts about an upcoming show with Kathleen Madigan by saying “She’s hilarious! Can’t wait for the show!” A bad example: Replying with a generic “That’s awesome!” on multiple posts.

3. Browse Local Posts and Comment
Because radio stations have geographic boundaries that many other companies don’t, you can also identify top relevant posts by conducting a search for local images. To do this, when you search Instagram, simply click on the “Places” tab instead of the “Tags” tab.


4. Repeat Daily
Gary claims that if you do this every day for a month, you will see substantial growth in your Instagram following. It’s worth noting that he’s measuring success in terms of the number of Instagram followers you have. I think it’s far more important to keep an eye on your Google Analytics to see if the amount of incoming website visitors from Instagram increases. Also, watch to see how many of these visitors produce goal conversions.

The $1.80 strategy is time-consuming. Vaynerchuck suggests spending about three hours per day finding and responding to posts. At this point, I can’t endorse it as a tried-and-true method for stations with limited resources. However, for radio brands/personalities looking for a practical way to experiment with Instagram strategies, this is a good place to start. You can then refine your strategy based on the results.

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

The WordPress Plugin That Will Help Your Radio Station’s Website Get Into Google Search Results

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

“Search Engine Optimization,” which is the art of getting your website content to show up in the results of search engines like Google when people search for specific terms, is often overlooked by radio stations. SEO is a critical component of any digital strategy. I would argue that it is as important to pay attention to your radio station’s SEO strategy as it is to pay attention to your radio station’s Facebook strategy.

Why do you invest time and energy into making sure that your website content can be found on Facebook? Because lots of your listeners use it.

Why should you invest time and energy into making sure that your website content can be found on Google? Because lots of your listeners use it.

Yet SEO can be intimidating. An entire cottage industry has popped up around search engine optimization. You can hire a company to go through all of your website content and optimize it for you. But if you can’t convince your GM to make this expenditure — or if your station is not producing enough website content yet to justify the cost — there is a WordPress plugin that can help you with the basics.

The Yoast SEO Plugin
Yoast SEO is a popular WordPress plugin, which means that your station’s website will need to be built on the WordPress platform to take advantage of it. Yoast actually offers a handful of plugins, including ones to optimize videos, commerce websites, and local businesses. They also offer a premium version of their plugin. I recommend that you start with the free version of the regular plugin and, once you get the hang of it, decide if you want to upgrade.

What exactly does the Yoast plugin do? It does a lot — it’s quite powerful! — but in this column, I am going to focus on its ability to control what people see when your content is shared on social media or found in search engine results. Here are the basic steps:

1. Install the Yoast Plugin and Configure the Sitewide Settings
Your web developer can quickly install the Yoast plugin just like they would install any other website plugin. Once they do, they can navigate to the plugin’s settings page by clicking on ‘SEO’ in the dark left-hand column in the WordPress backend. Your webmaster can go through each tab one at a time. Most of these settings are intuitive, but there is a Configuration Wizard and plenty of support documentation if you need it.

2. On Individual Pages and Posts, Get in the Habit of Configuring Your SEO Settings
Now that the plugin has been installed, you will see a new box in the WordPress backend of your posts labeled “Yoast SEO”:

Here, you can control what shows up in Google, Facebook, and Twitter when this particular webpage is found there. Note the three icons to the left: Three vertical dots, the ‘Share’ symbol (three dots connects by lines), and a gear.

Google Settings
When you click on the three vertical dots, you can control how your page will appear in Google search results. The ‘Snippet Preview’ shows you how your page will appear in Google. By default, the plugin will pull the first several words from your post. However, you’ll want to write a concise summary of the post to be used instead. Click the ‘Edit Snippet’ button, and you can type in the summary you want Google to use. A colored bar will turn red to show you if your summary is too long.

You can also control the headline that Google uses here. By default, the plugin uses the title of the blogpost. However, there are circumstances in which you may want to use a different headline. For example, you want “keywords” — the words people are likely to type into Google when looking for content like yours — to appear in the headline. This increases the chances that your content will show up in Google’s search results. If they are not already in the post or page’s title, you’ll want to include them here.

In fact, if you enter “Focus Keywords” in the ‘Analysis’ section below, the plugin will tell you how you can improve the likelihood that your content will appear in Google’s search results. It will identify ‘Problems,’ suggest ‘Improvements,’ and tell you what’s ‘Good’ about the post.

On our blog, Fred often uses artistic titles. For example, he might write a blogpost about The Beatles called “Remembering the Fab Four.” This title makes sense when you see it within the context of our website, but it is unlikely to show up in Google’s search results because most people will search for “Beatles,” not “Fab Four.” So we want to use the Yoast plugin to change the headline that appears in Google to “Remembering The Beatles” without changing the headline that appears at the top of our webpage. We can do that here.

Social Media Settings
When you click on the ‘Share’ icon, you get to the social media settings for your post or page. Here, you can control what appears when this webpage is shared to Facebook or Twitter. In addition to the headline and the excerpt, you can also control the image that is used. By default, the Featured Image is used for social media. However, for really important pages — such as a page about your radio station’s big annual concert — you may want to use images that are the ideal sizes for each social network (1200 by 630 pixels for Facebook and 1024 by 512 pixels for Twitter).

Advanced Settings
Finally, if you click on the gear icon, you’ll find the ‘Advanced Settings.’ The ‘Meta Robots Index’ allows you to decide if this particular page should be indexed by Google. I often set pages that I don’t want to be seen by the general public to “No Index.” For example, you may want to do this with any pages that are only meant to be seen by clients.

There’s a lot more that the Yoast SEO plugin can do, but by taking an extra minute to configure these settings every time you publish new content on your website, you increase the likelihood that your content will appear in search engines, and the likelihood that people will click through to your content when they see it on social media.

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

Programming, Promotion and Digital/Social Media Sessions at 2018 GLMS

Here’s a quick summary of the programming, promotion and digital/social media sessions at this year’s Great Lakes Media Show, March 6-7 in Lansing.  Full descriptions can be found on the schedule here.

Comprehensive Digital Strategy: How to Connect Everything from Google Analytics to Social Media
Wednesday, March 7 10:10 – 11:00 a.m.
Presented by Seth Resler, Jacobs Media Strategies

31 Things You Need to Know to Get a Job Right Now & 8 Reasons Why You are the Future of Broadcasting
Wednesday, March 7 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Presented by Jay Kruz, WREW-FM Mix 94.9 (Cincinnati)

What You Have to Know To Be A Program Director in 2018
Wednesday, March 7 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Presented by Kevin Robinson, Robinson Media

Double your Audience
Wednesday, March 7 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Presented by Paige Nienaber, Clifton Radio & CPR

Also of Interest:

Drones and Tools
Wednesday, March 7 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Presented by Brian Town, Michigan Creative

Radio Broadcasters and the Digital Dashboard
Wednesday, March 7 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Presented by David Layer, National Association of Broadcaster

And don’t forget the Exhibit Hall is open for a preview on Tuesday from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. and again all day Wednesday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m!

Your Radio Station Staff Should Have These Images on Hand

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

With the rise of the worldwide web, even audio mediums like ours have an increasing need for a strong visual presence. Chances are, multiple staff members at your radio station, from your Promotions Director to your Web Designer to your Salespeople, will need station images from time to time. It’s a good idea to set up a shared folder where the appropriate people can easily access these images:

  • The station logo (color)
  • The station logo (black and white)
  • A collection of logos from stations in the cluster
  • The company logo
  • The morning show logo
  • Logos for key station events, such as annual concerts
  • Headshots of each on-air personality
  • A publicity photo of the morning show
  • Various “action” publicity photos, such as the street team at an on-site promotion or a DJ introducing a band onstage at a concert

By collecting pre-approved images into one place, you’ll make everybody’s job easier. Now they don’t have to waste time hunting them down.

Web vs. Print Images
It’s important for your staff to know the difference between image files that are suitable to be used on the web, and files that are appropriate for use in printed materials. For the web, you want image files to be small, so they load quickly. The resolution of an image is measured in “dots per inch,” or “DPI.” (Technically, web images are measured in “pixels per inch,” but “PPI” and “DPI” are often used interchangeably.) On computer screens, images only need to be 72 dots per inch to look crisp to the human eye.

On the other hand, printed images need a higher resolution to look crisp. Print houses usually require that artwork be at least 300 dots per inch. If you try to use a 72-dpi image for printed materials, it will look “pixelated.” One of the easiest ways to slow a project down is to send a designer or print house a 72-dpi image when they need a 300-dpi image. In your shared images folder, it’s a good idea to have one subfolder labeled “Web Images” filled with 72-dpi versions of the images and another subfolder labeled “Print Images” containing 300-dpi versions of the same images.

Image Formats
Images can come in a number of different file formats. Each format has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. You can read this deep-dive into the formats, but here are the key points to remember:

  • .JPG or .JPEG: Compresses the file to make it smaller, making it quick to load on websites, but there is a slight loss in image quality; you cannot save transparency (such as a transparent background) with this file format.
  • .PNG: Compresses the file without any loss in quality and it can save transparency.
  • .TIF or .TIFF: Good for print, but often produces files that are larger than you want for the web.
  • .GIF: Compresses the file to make it smaller; it can be animated and it can save transparency, however it is limited to only 256 colors.

These file formats are used with specific image editing programs; you probably won’t use them unless a graphic designer requests them:

.PSD (Photoshop)
.AI (Adobe Illustrator)
.XCF (GIMP)
.CDR (CorelDRAW)

A small way to make everybody’s job easier at your radio station is to make sure that staff members can quickly and easily get the images they need in multiple file formats. It helps to include a “cheat sheet” in your shared image folder to help people understand which images to use under different circumstances. By doing this, you can save your staff some time.

 

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

How to Repurpose Audio as Video to Promote Your Radio Station on Social Media

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 radio broadcasters, we create audio content day in and day out. Unfortunately, audio doesn’t go viral on social media. If we want our audio content to spread, it’s best to turn it into video before posting it to social networks. Fortunately, there are a host of tools to help us do that.

Audiograms
Radio morning shows routinely take an excerpt from their latest show and repurpose as a recorded promo. That same recorded promo can also be repurposed as an audiogram.

An audiogram is a video that combines a static image with a waveform to match overlayed audio. For example, here is an audiogram that I recently created for my podcast, The D Brief:

There are a number of tools available to help you quickly and easily convert your audio into an audiogram. The audiogram above was made with Wavve.co. You may also want to look into Audiogram, Repurpose or SpareMin. Many podcasters use Auphonic to polish up the sound quality of their episodes, and it is also capable of creating audiograms.

Here is an audiogram made with Audiogram:

Ripl and Sweepers
Another tool that I like to use is Ripl. Ripl is a smartphone app that allows you to take a produced sweeper and turn it into a short video promo, like this:

Ripl is designed to be a full-blown social media marketing solution, allowing you to easily share videos to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. It also provides analytics so you can measure the engagement your videos produce.

Sometimes I use Ripl for generic promos like the one above. Other times, I’ll use it to promote a specific podcast episode:

Your radio station can use Ripl to promote upcoming interviews, contest or station events.

Note that these tools produce square videos. That’s because Instagram uses square videos, and because square videos take up more of the screen when viewed in Facebook on a smartphone.

Experiment with these tools and see if you can find one that fits best into your workflow. By taking a few extra minutes each day, you can repurpose your radio station’s on-air content as videos that are more likely to be shared on social media.

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

Here’s Why Most Podcast Listening Happens on Apple Devices

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 overwhelming majority of podcast listening happens on Apple devices. While it can fluctuate, podcast hosting companies will tell you that roughly two-thirds of all podcast consumption takes place on iOS devices. Android comes in a distant second place.

So, why does Apple dominate the podcast medium?

To understand that, we need to take a closer look at the process involved in listening to a podcast. This process is slightly different on the two operating systems.

Apple used to include podcasts in a dedicated section of iTunes, its music management app. When it introduced iOS6 in 2012, it separated podcasts out into their own app, called Podcasts. When Apple introduced iOS8 in 2014, it made Podcasts a native app. That is, the Podcasts app came pre-installed on every iOS device; people no longer needed to download it from the App Store themselves.

So the steps required to listen to a podcast became:

  1. Open the Podcasts app.
  2. Find the podcast you want.
  3. Subscribe to the podcast.
  4. Download the latest episode.
  5. Play the episode.

Android phones, on the other hand, do not come with a dedicated podcast app already installed. As a result, listening to a podcast on an Android phone requires a few more hoops:

  1. Open the app store.
  2. Find and download a “podcatcher” (an app for listening to podcasts).
  3. Open the podcatcher.
  4. Find the podcast you want.
  5. Subscribe to the podcast.
  6. Download the latest episode.
  7. Play the episode.

It’s just a couple of extra steps, but those steps have a huge impact on podcast listening. That’s why many people in the podcasting space, myself included, believe the top factor that would increase the number of people who listen to podcasts globally is not just the release of compelling content (like Serial), but rather a technological development; if Google embraced podcasts by including a native podcatcher on every phone, listenership would increase dramatically.

Google took a step in the right direction in 2015, when it started including podcasts in its Google Play Music app; but this really just brings Google up to where Apple was in 2013, when it still included podcasts in a section of iTunes.

Of course, there are other technological developments that could drive more podcast listening. Spotify has embraced podcasts recently, and its app is installed on thousands of Android phones. Smart speakers, like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, could also contribute to an increase in podcast listening. So could dashboard operating systems like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Still, the development that most of us are waiting for is the native Android podcatcher. It may come any day now, or it may never arrive. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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

Write Digital Instructions to Help With Radio Station Staff Turnover

Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

I tell people that you’re not really in the radio industry until you’ve been fired at least once. We work in an industry with a lot of turnover, and that means we can lose a lot of time to learning curves as new people step in to take over the duties of previous employees.

It’s not just staffing changes that can cause disruptions. If a member of your team gets sick or injured, you may need somebody to step in and fill their role for a bit. To minimize the digital disruption in these situations, it’s helpful to write instructions and save them in a place where multiple people have access to them.

I am a big proponent of writing out clear step-by-step instructions, complete with annotated screenshots, for every digital task you can’t live without. Here are some of the things you will want to have instructions for:

  • How to send an email blast
  • How to send a text message blast
  • How to publish a blogpost
  • How to update the website’s concert calendar
  • How to set up a contest on the website
  • How to publish a podcast episode
  • How to back up the website
  • How to restore a backup of the website
  • How to publish a video to the station’s YouTube channel
  • How to set up online ticket sales for a station event
  • How to post an advertisement on the website

These instructions are useful not only to people who have to take over a role, but also to the same person who may have performed the task in the past. Because I do it so infrequently, I often have to go back and figure out what I did the previous year. If you’re responsible for an infrequent task, such as setting up ticket sales for an annual station concert, it can be incredibly valuable to go back and read instructions — even if you’re the one who wrote them!

If you don’t already have instructions for your most important digital tasks, start writing them today. The next time you have a staff position turnover, you’ll be glad that you did.

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