Get It Fast or Get It Right
It's been a rough few months for people in the radio industry. Scan any radio trade publication and view stories that speak of being a "lifeline" to the community during emergency times. There's little said about the quality of content produced during non-emergency times, though. And only recently one speaker at the NAB/RAB radio show pointed to how there's no revenue model if radio depended on being relevant only during times of crisis.
"We are reaching a time were small operators no longer have a reason to "get it fast." Indeed, the only option for the independent internet radio industry is to get it right."
Over in the online radio world there's not much said about being there during emergencies. Most lines are similar to "we play the best music," or "we feature live DJs" (as if dead ones would be a draw). What is not being done in either radio industry is focusing on how to present programming substance within today's technical flare. Analytics and metrics are still not highlighted on any radio industry radar.
In recent weeks there have been news items about a variety of established online music-based companies making a play for improving the delivery of songs. Twitter's new music app
is one, "with iTunes, Spotify, and Rdio integration." We also have JellyRadio, Spotify and Mog making inroads. For this I'm leaving out mention of the reported Apple foray into webcasting
that's due any time, or the gorilla Pandora.
Here's something vitally important to every independent online radio station: All of the above are not only terrestrial radio's competition, but they stand ready to be your competitor. Knowing this, what is your reaction? To get it right or get it fast? My eyeballs on the radio industry see many trying to do the latter. Watching what's happening online, there appears little movement at doing either, fast or right - with most operators putting up a playlist of songs and calling it a day.
There are exceptions, and those are radio stations that take extra steps. AccuRadio
, Swisssh Radio
, and Pirates of the Treasure Coast
are in this group. They exhibit a get-it-right attitude, taking time doing so.
But now online competition is heating up. Multiple very large groups are pumping hundreds-of-millions of dollars into expanding audiences. We are reaching a time when small operators no longer have a reason to "get it fast." Indeed, the only option for the independent internet radio industry is to get it right.
There has never been a time when more opportunity is offered to such a wide range of programmers. That terrestrial radio is just beginning to understand how vast this online audience is - and how it IS possible for the masses to transition away from the broadcast side - means we'll be witnessing major radio industry groups moving to "get it fast." And that is their Achilles heel.
Emergency times come and go. Yet we constantly hear how the terrestrial radio industry is hanging its hat on how important it is during these times. It's unspoken caveat is how few stations actually program for emergency coverage when it is required. That which is spoken are of the few stations which do go beyond the call of duty to supply pertinent information.
Online, radio is making its move to become tomorrow's primary music and information vehicle. If you are an independent internet radio operator, take your time to understand exactly what your audience wants, how to deliver it across multiple platforms, and ways to burn your station's image into a listener's mind. You should also spend some time, now, on how to respond during emergencies, even if its only with links to information.
The independent radio industry doesn't have the luxury of doing it fast and right. With planning though, it does possess the ability to do it better - but that takes time. Start now.
While the broadcast side of radio has a near lockout on indie artists, introducing music is open wide to internet stations.
We listen for songs that evoke emotion; fast, slow, female, male, group, it doesn't matter. When an artist has the power to please, they should be given a chance to be heard.
Give Diverse - "New Boy" a listen
Add it to your playlist, free!
Such is the new world of music distribution.
The radio industry had its shot. It's time internet radio programmers take a chance and reach into a huge pile of talent. It is there that new hit songs will increasingly be found.