Thursday, June 04, 2015

If Digital is the Future, Public Radio Needs to Promote it Better Now

I just spent part of the last two days listening to 50 station breaks across 14 different large and medium market public radio stations. Every station is considered to be a top station in public radio and most are considered to be digitally savvy. Some quick numbers:
  • 43 of the breaks (86%) had absolutely no promotion for the station's digital listening offerings.
  • 8 of the 14 stations had no digital listening promotion. I listened to at least 3 breaks in one hour for each station.
  • Of the 5 stations that had some sort of digital listening promotion, 3 mentioned more than one type of digital listening in the same break.  For example, the website was promoted as a way to stream the station and as a way to hear the station's new podcast.
  • 1 station qualified as promoting digital listening only because it included the website in its legal ID, "...and online at WXZY.org."  That's more of a throw away mention than a promotion, but I still counted it.
There's not a whole lot to say here other than this is a woefully inadequate level of self-promotion given the importance of digital listening to public radio's future.  It is a notable lack of promotion given public radio's decades-long marketing lament, "If only more people knew about us."

When it comes to digital, even the people who know about us through the radio probably don't really know about our digital offerings.

It is going to be tough enough to win new listeners with the infinite number of media options now available in the digital space. Stations need to make it a priority to move as many current listeners as possible to its digital platforms. That starts with the station selling current listeners on those digital offerings. Right now, that doesn't appear to be happening in any meaningful way.

In the next post, a possible template for the promotion of digital listening.

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