Much of the talk regarding on-demand content centers around longer form episodic programs, with the goal of growing that base and increasing downloads. While the focus has been to move away from repurposing on-air content into on-demand form in favor of creating something original and new, some stations are using the latest available technology to reinforce what makes live radio great in the first place – special guests and celebrity interviews, for instance. Groups utilizing the latest digital tools say creating appealing, platform-agnostic, on-demand videos of on-air audio pieces is a game-changer.
When it was reported that Cars frontman Ric Ocasek passed away on Sunday, Sept. 15, Steph White, producer of “The Morning Stash” on Shamrock Communications classic rock “100.7 The Bay” WZBA Baltimore, quickly assembled an audio/video piece from an earlier interview Ocasek did with morning host Stash. Using Futuri’s podcasting, on-demand, and digital audio management platform POST, White was able to secure a licensed image, upload the audio, along with the station logo and create an embeddable, shareable social post of station content.
The interview was conducted in February and when originally posted garnered a fair amount of listens and downloads. “After he passed, we re-shared that interview using the new POST tool,” White told Inside Radio. “And we have seen record numbers of people listening to that interview.” Besides the fact that a lot of “people who listen to our radio station and follow us on social media really love this individual who suddenly passed away,” White points to the look and feel of the post that helped with the engagement. “I truly believe that a big part of it had to do with the way it was presented to the audience on social media,” she says.
Townsquare Media also uses audio/video pieces to create and publish on-demand content. Townsquare was one of the earliest partners for social video creation platform, Headliner. “It’s a simple tool for taking the best moments of [a station’s] broadcast content, adding some visuals and turning it into on-demand content,” Senior VP, Digital Strategy & Operations Jared Willig explains. “They came to us in the very beginning and asked us to be a beta partner. We have been using it for years.”
While the intent behind these tools is to create on-demand content that is visually appealing, they also serve to brand the station and bring listeners back to live programming. “What we do see almost across the board is that when our digital audience increases, our on-air listenership grows,” Willig reveals. “We see a direct correlation between growth of our web audience and our social audience and our on-air ratings. We know people are discovering our radio stations via our digital properties.”
White says access to the Futuri tool, “has been a complete game changer when posting interviews from the morning show to our social media platforms.” She and morning host Stash are using the tool to house interviews that may not be able to be played in their full form on air. “It’s a new platform for Stash to do some really compelling interviews with artists that we can’t get on the air – we have a fast-moving morning show that plays a lot of songs. We now have a place for [the interviews] that our listeners can go at their leisure to sit down and listen to.”
Townsquare talent are also playing to the reach of social media and creating multiple forms of pieces, depending on the how users consume content on any particular social network. “Certain platforms lend themselves to shorter programming,” Willig says. “So, we might take a celebrity interview from on-air, add a visual to it, and cut it two or three different ways for different platforms.”
According to Willig, the social platforms that make the most sense for these types of audio/video pieces are YouTube and Instagram. “In the last year or so we have grown particularly on social platforms where that content sort of lives natively,” he says. “Instagram, we have grown about 30% year over year, YouTube subscribers have grown over 45% year over year. Those are the places we use Headliner the most. I won’t say all their growth is from Headliner, because all of our stations are not using it, but it has certainly been an asset.”
White is also monitoring social activity, with encouraging stats from Facebook Insights. Since WZBA started using the tool, she likes to gauge “the immediate reaction to a Facebook post – views and shares – that to me is what is most important.” –Jay Gleason