For hundreds of radio stations around the country, an individual app is the preferred mobile strategy. Branded with their logo and slogan, individual apps, says station consultant Paul Jacobs, VP/GM for Jacobs Media, can work well for stations with strong individual assets such as well-known hosts, local brand recognition and original content.
They’re also ideal for helping smaller broadcasters play in the same big pool. Cox Media Group, Cumulus Media, Hubbard Radio and Entercom are among major radio companies that have opted for individual apps that emphasize singular local outlets. “Listeners don’t know who Hubbard is. They don’t need to. They know the brands and that’s what’s important,” says Jeremy Sinon, Hubbard Radio’s director of Digital Strategy.
One challenge with aggregated apps from larger broadcasters is helping users find them. In many cases, a search for a station’s call letters in the App Store or Google Play store comes up blank. If stations promote their apps on-air, it helps users make that connection if it isn’t obvious. To assist its audience in finding aggregator app LaMusica, SBS heavily promotes the new app on-air, online and at its events. “This is going to be the biggest company priority, promoted in all events and platforms,” SBS digital media executive Jesus Lara said when the app launched. ”We can give this product sustained marketing support for a long period of time.”
In some cases, broadcasters are putting forward both an individual app and a group portal, as Scripps does with its powerhouse news station WTMJ Milwaukee (620). The most popular mobile solutions vendors, including Jacobs Media’s Jacapps division, Futuri Media and Clip Interactive, work with radio stations on both flavors of apps. Jacapps built Scripps’ Radio League app, while Clip Interactive architected Beasley’s latest version of iRadioNow, and will soon launch a new portal app for Entravision called Sonoditos, which will include the company’s 60 stations, popular personalities and affiliates, according to Clip Interactive executive VP/chief revenue officer, Bill Freund.
With mobile apps such an evolving space, broadcasters are experimenting with other models as well. Entravision is also creating apps for its most popular shows, including a recently launched app for the “El Show de Erazno y la Chokolata,” which garnered 100,000 downloads in its first two months. Mobile is one of Entravision’s top priorities, COO Jeff Liberman said recently, and, later this year, the company will launch mobile apps for “El Show de Piolín” and “El Show de Alex ‘El Genio’ Lucas.” “The Latino marketplace has skipped desktop in most cases, and they use tablets or mobile phones as a way of connecting,” Liberman said. “We have taken a mobile-first vision.”
In still another twist on apps, Emmis Communications created a lifestyle app, “Where Hip-Hop Lives,” featuring its talent, music and content from rhythmic CHR powerhouses “Hot 97” WQHT New York and “Power 106” KPWR Los Angeles. The app offers original video, blogs and a subscription tier with exclusive content and ad-free audio streams. The “Where Hip-Hop Lives” app could serve as a model for launching more apps, says Emmis’ national director of Digital Content, Jeffrey Thacker. “It is creating a good blueprint on how to do this with other genres as well,” Thacker said recently. “I don’t think this is unique by any capacity.”