RTDNA

Social media and mobile continue to gain momentum as essential platforms in the world of radio—and radio has certainly noticed. A new RTDNA/Hofstra University survey found among other takeaways that stations are reaching out to Millennials with a number of new strategies.

Overall, new efforts in social media rose by 7.5 points to 41.2% among respondents. Stations with the biggest staffs, in the larger markets, larger local station groups and non-commercial stations led the way. In all, 430 radio news directors and GMs across 1,151 radio stations responded to the survey.

Among those working up something new, Facebook Live (and live streaming) led the way among methods at 32.5%. That includes posting video clips, video from events and promotions, posting video of in-studio artists, and streaming newscasts. Just behind, at 28.8%, is a mixture of strategy and “doing more.” News directors and GMs noted establishing regular daily or weekly posting goals, tracking posts, getting more employees involved, interacting more with the audience, being more aggressive, posting more links, doing more contests, and putting someone in charge of social media as part of that “more” strategy. Working up new content is the next most named strategy, with 13.8%. That includes pictures, breaking news, videos, more visually appealing material and posting long-form material.

Half of the radio respondents said they are working to specifically reach Millennial listeners. Leading the list of “how,” at 36.4%, is increased social media presence. That includes new social media pages, a different approach to social media, and the use of Facebook.

Second among Millennial attractors is tweaking music formats, at 23.6%. “That might be a switch to a younger format or simply that the station’s format appealed to younger listeners,” RTNDA explained. Next, at 13.6%, is appearances at high school or college events and/or instruction at high schools or colleges. And at 10.9% is the broadcast of college and/or high school news or, more commonly, sports.

Contests and promotions aimed at younger listeners drew a check mark from 10% of respondents while 9.1% are now committed to special programs on-air or online (or both) geared toward Millennials. At times, those programs enlist young people to help or even produce them. At 5.5% came podcasts geared toward younger listeners and a different news approach aimed specifically younger; and finally, at 2.7% is “a digital-first approach to information.”

Among social media platforms, not surprisingly, Facebook and Twitter rule—and 44% of the respondents said they utilize no other social media at their stations. For those stations that do look beyond the top two, Instagram is the overwhelming next favorite at 83.7%; it is used for posting station photos, shots of station activities, cross promotion, sharing articles, and for behind-the-scenes shots.

Other methods, in order, are Snapchat, SoundCloud, Tumblr, YouTube, Periscope and Google+.

Mobile, meanwhile, is still gaining traction among news directors and GMs at radio. Nearly two-thirds (64.2%) said they did nothing new in mobile in 2016. That’s down less than 2 points from a year ago.

Of the 35.8% that did initiate something new in mobile, apps dominated the list at 54.7%. That’s 80% higher than a year ago and includes new apps, better apps, more apps, specialized apps and updated apps. Apps for contests, discounts, giveaways, and a county fair were mentioned, along with apps for TuneIn and non-commercial apps for NPR One. Next, at 21.9%, came streaming, utilized for breaking news, special events and Facebook Live. That’s more than double last year’s streaming total.