Cleaning Up Radio Industry Web Sites
First, here's a positive item relative to radio station web sites - Clear Channel's 96.5 KISS FM donation of a $5,000 prom concert to Chardon High School. The school was recently in the news when one student shot five others, killing three and sending the community into shock. The prom concert was the result of multiple high school students voting in Chardon High's favor in an online contest. (Another article on social media's ability to influence is waiting with this story.) But I was stopped in my tracks on going into detail about this kind gesture upon visiting the web site of 96.5 KISS FM.
That's quite a few radio commericals for any one person to do. Not all were great, but more than a few were considered memorable and successful. I've been granted a Southern California Broadcasters award, an Arbitron "Great Radio Promotion" award, one from the Cleveland Ad Club, and an Air Award "Best Campaign of the Year," yada, yada, yada.
Quality programming and content used to be the draw, but it's much easier to put a shot of three women in bras, panties and garters on a home page.
Let's take a quick left turn and question what a picture and caption like this are doing here. What makes 96.5 KISS FM think it is doing a service to visitors by presenting something like this as a lead photo?
Here's the reality check. It's also the lead photo on other Clear Channel web sites that use this network photo application. Go check KISS 95.7, Hartford, CT, WQEN-FM Birmingham, AL, or KSME-FM 96.1 Fort Collins, CO. All carry the same picture and caption. (Note: There's a chance this picture will be absent from these sites when you get time to look. For reporting purposes, the shots above are stored on AG servers. The picture was present on all of these Clear Channel sites on 3/15/12 at 9am EST.)
I know 96.5 KISS FM is an "Adult Contemporary" station, but it targets youth - evidenced by it giving away a high school "prom concert."
So accolades to 96.5 KISS FM for stepping up to offer this concert to high schools, and for demonstrating the power of social media. It's reported that 70,000+ votes for Chardon came from 120,000+ cast, showing this tragedy brought a heartfelt response from students at dozens of other high schools.
But criticisms are also in order; the radio industry can't seem to get away from projecting this sleazy look in the name of trying to attract attention.
Quality programming and content used to be the draw, but it's much easier to put a shot of three women in bras, panties and garters on a home page. And, yes, I am fully aware of what your Classic Rock, Rock, and Alternative web sites feature - many times labeling them "soft porn" is not out of the question.
As for the bloated web sites that this discussion started off to address. Do a quick visit to multiple broadcast radio web sites. See how you can shave 50%, and more, of what's crammed onto the home page and still end up forcing your audience to work at comprehending what's in front of them. Bloated web sites are the norm in the radio industry.
This is the essence of the radio mindset - it's not quality but volume that gathers attention. Unfortunately, it's also a reason why so many radio web sites are hurting for repeat visits.
Many people find too much to digest equitable to being in an uncomfortable environment. In the case of 96.5 WAKS, Cleveland, cutting the smut is a good place to start.
Thursday - 3/15/2012
Today's artist introduction is to Pop from Sarah Flanagan.
Give "We Defy" a listen.
Stations: Add it to your playlist, free.