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Thursday, July 21, 2011
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Radio: Moving Online and Missing a Trend

While it doesn't fit the dictionary definition of "trend," there have been several stories about radio stations moving online after being shuttered on-air.

WOXY started this radio industry movement a long time ago. It wasn't successful, but that may have been simply because it was ahead of its time.

"Is anybody thinking about the power that they have in hand when using a radio station's web site to ask consumers solid questions?" Last week news came down that New York's 101.9 WRXP would be closed, but kept open as an online-only station. It's not the only one to make this move, either. Nor is it only the U.S. radio industry that's showing signs of moving from stick to stream.

This morning I received a suggestion to add Nagoya Radio (Japan) to RadioRow, with this little message attached: "Terrestrial radio station in Nagoya ended, these guys took it online."

A lot of "guys" and girls are making the move from broadcast to stream as individuals, too. Getting blown out of your slot as a jock only to find there's life after radio by moving online is refreshing, if not challenging. My predication is that we'll see more of this stick-to-stream movement in the not-too-distant future.

So, here comes the question: Are any of these moves being done with preparation? Are the stations, or people who are making the move from a terrestrial-based radio industry to the web-centric industry, planning this to take advantage of online's ability to gather data? I'm not talking about the simple measurement of audience, but in using the internet's ability to deliver answers directly from consumers.

I've been pounding the metrics drum for well over a decade, yet have seen little from the radio industry - either online operators or by broadcasters with streams - that indicates anyone is taking advantage of analytics and metrics delivered through surveys.

There's a recent interest in survey results, as indicated by the radio industry trades publicizing Alan Burn's "Here She Comes 2011" webcast today. But I'm not finding surveys being put into use on many station web sites. (This morning I did a quick check on over twenty radio industry station sites and did not uncover one that was asking its visitors a question.)

On a couple of sites there were reports on surveys, which were conducted elsewhere. They answered absurd questions, though, such as: How bad is your boss?; Do you like cuddling?; What do you hate the most about idiot drivers?

Is anybody thinking about the power that they have in hand when using a radio station's web site to ask consumers solid questions?

Audio Graphics conducts the only continuous survey of online radio listeners, with support from Borrell Associates. We've been doing this since 2002 and have proven, again and again, that there's educational value in asking your audience serious questions. Use answers to improve your product, enhance an advertiser's market position, or to offer items to the audience that (they tell you) are on their wish list.

We asked questions like the following:
Have you made an online purchase in the last 30 days?
If Yes - of what value?
If you own a Hand Held device, do you listen to Internet Radio on it?

So my question is, why don't we see more radio stations employing the power of a survey with more stations now moving online?

If you answer it's too difficult, let me assure you that you're right - if you want to run the survey yourself. But if you are looking to join and share in a free survey system that Audio Graphics created, and has used for a decade, it's as simple as adding two lines of code to your web site. All serving stations share detailed information pulled from these surveys. Here are some graphs (serving stations also get more detailed data).

If you own a Hand Held device, do you listen to Internet Radio on it?

If Yes - of what value?

To see much more of what's offered, download the last survey results here. Then, if you want to serve the survey, contact me directly.

Run this online radio listener survey and you'll begin gaining consumer knowledge within minutes. You'll also join a group of radio stations that share a single goal, to use the internet for a better understanding of listeners and advertisers.

The movement of stations from broadcast to online is an unprecedented opportunity for the radio industry. To miss the benefit of the "online advantage" will only leave your station farther back in the race to reach listeners - and I am not talking here about getting on Facebook or Tweeting.

Surveying your online visitors is better than owning your own crystal ball. It's a radio industry trend that must not be put off until tomorrow.

Download the latest survey results now.

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