-Written by Dan Halyburton, EVP, New Media
These are interesting times for radio operators and their customers.
Radio stations have been grappling with the challenges of the web since we first published a web site that was little more than an on-line business card. The industry was tentative at best in the early days when much of the discussion focused on what browser was best and how to deal with the limitations of bandwidth.
The era of “Streaming” began and this new channel of distribution at least made some sense to operators. It was an audio channel that we understood, even if many were slow to adopt it. The road has been littered with obstacles including high royalties and commercial restrictions but the “Streaming” era matured and has brought new radio like competitors. The next challenge and opportunity is the dashboard as many technologies combine to put on-line on wheels.
Mobile is white hot. Its technology, fashion and culture all rolled up into a small very personal experience and the stakes for today’s content makers are higher than ever. It is time to start to consider a customer/user-centered strategy. A strategy that is not just technology focused. We don’t want a strategy that just makes it easy for us. We need strategy that works for our users.
The desktop was our first sandbox. Everything that we have done here we seem to try and export to the new distribution channels. The desktop gave us lots of real estate and so we loaded it up. Threw the kitchen sink at it. We didn’t really spend much time considering how to provide the best user experience.
Social media arrived and we have embraced the ease of the interaction with our customers, we have not spent enough time energy and effort on creating the interaction on our own sites. We “broadcast” but we don’t engage. Importantly our social interactions are on channels we don’t own and the real estate has other people rules and restrictions. We need to connect our websites with our social media and the other way around.
Yes it’s exciting but we can’t treat the small screen like the desktop. To date we have primarily been treating “mobile” like it was a 1960s transistor radio, which it is not. Most stations don’t have mobile friendly sites and there is no content to speak of in most of the player apps, just a logo and a play button. Its time for a technology and content strategy that recognizes the personal nature of the small screen and the very task oriented nature of a mobile device.
We must start to seriously consider how these various screens are used. We need to tailor the user experience in a way that plays to our strengths. It should satisfy our customers’ needs and create new revenue opportunities for our future