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AG News: Wednesday - 5/27/2009

An Exercise in Radio Station Addresses, Online

More than a handful of people will find the topic of this discussion boring. There will also be a few who read the following words, slap their foreheads, and think "where have radio industry leaders' heads been over the last decade?" For those in the middle, the ones who have never thought about it, please take this short lesson on internet addresses - better known as URLs or "top-level domain names" - and make your own decision as to their value.

What you'll see in the next few paragraphs is a demonstration of radio's inability to comprehend not only the power of obtaining a properly-named URL, but its lack of understanding of how important the name that you type into the address bar of your browser can be when localizing a radio station web site.

We'll start with the most obvious top-level domain name (URL), was first registered by CNet News, the company CBS Radio paid over a billion dollars to acquire about a year ago. Early on, redirected users to the more highly profiled, also owned by CNet. Today both URLs are the property of CBS, but only the URL is active. Go on, see what's at If your jaw takes more than a second to hit the floor, you're still not understanding the impact of using a descriptive domain name. Let's continue.

In this day of radio barking its heritage of "localism," start exploring what happens when you use a geographically-targeted domain assocated to the term "radio," like,,,,,, or even the mother of all radio industry names, Just click on each name and see what you get. The radio industry has dropped the ball in securing what is possibly the most important online address for each destination - besides missing out on, owned by Audio Graphics.

With all that wisdom reportedly in the CEO suites of radio (you know, those folks who've come up with terms like and - which has nothing to do with "High Definition"), why is it we have no major city URL tagged with a "" address? Even the term "," owned by Fisher Communications of Seattle Washington, sits idle with no redirect leading to any of Fisher's Seattle radio properties.

We don't need to spend more time on this because I believe the point's been made. If the radio industry can't grasp the importance of a simplistic internet addressing system and how to incorporate it into its online endeavors, how does anyone expect radio to extract more than 2% of local internet revenue from each market (as reported in Borrell Associates' last local media revenue report)?

Losing 24% of revenue y-2-y in Q1 2009 is a telling sign of where the radio industry is headed. That nearly every radio trade publication and industry leader keeps echoing how this drop is a result of a poor economy only reinforces the head-in-the-sand (HITS) thinking that's been so prevalent in radio since consolidation started.

We're not talking rocket science here. But, perhaps the slapping of foreheads with hands is a little too easy on those in command who have squandered opportunities for radio to raise itself out of this slump. They are not seeing the obvious on their own. Nor is it apparent that radio industry leaders are going to slap their own foreheads in one of those "doh" moments anytime soon.

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President, Audio Graphics
Ken Dardis
Online Since January 1997

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