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Dead, or Online?

| April 22, 2013

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital

SHAKER HEIGHTS – Have you ever read something that just freshly fired up your motivation?  That happened to me recently.  It was a piece at by content marketing specialist Barry Feldman titled, “Social Media Doesn’t Really Connect Us. What Does?”

To sum it up, the proclamations that radio is dead, news publishing is dead, books are dead, mail is dead, and so on are wrong.  The media we’ve known for years are not dead, they’re just online.  Furthermore, media isn’t the issue.  Content is.

Social Content

This got me thinking.  Maybe, instead of social media, we need to call it “social content.”  That might help us avoid thinking of it as new technology.  Instead, it’s a new tool to provide content, which is what we have done for years.  Most people in radio don’t think of themselves as “transmitter operators.”  Programmers, sales managers, jocks, sellers, production folks, promotion teams … no one spends a lot of time thinking about the technology.  However, they do spend quite a bit of time thinking about content that entertains listeners or supports advertisers.

Whether it’s on your website or your broadcast, many of the same rules apply.  Digital media itself does not connect us; “our hearts and minds do,” as Feldman points out.

Advantage Radio

We in radio are so fortunate.  We already have a sense of how our on-air content touches our fans’ hearts and minds.  We have those experienced content providers who work day in and day out to make that happen.  We’ve helped our listeners build expectations about what we mean to them.

Those same listeners then hold similar expectations when they follow your social media or drop in on your website.  More and more, the digital space is viewed by regular folks as the sharing space.  So they expect you to have the content that fits with your format, and share it the way they want you to.

I know we’re not going to start calling it “social content,” but if we did, it would do a better job of understanding how these different platforms fit with your broadcast.  On the air, we broadcast to people.  Online, we share deeper, more focused content with our heaviest users, and use it to interact with them.

Doesn’t Matter…Yet

TV has been developing their “second screen” experience, so you can enjoy a show and simultaneously go online to interact with others.  Today, radio can still get away with doing a piecemeal digital job.  It’s not crucial yet to have a strategic plan for how your best brand-related content gets executed on your different platforms.  Tomorrow, it’s likely to be a competitive disadvantage if you’re not supporting your station online with deep, focused content related to your broadcast and a way for people to be a part of your community.

As an industry, we’ve done our program directors a disservice by giving them the title “Brand Manager,” without giving any guidance about how to integrate content across all platforms.  There are a lot of social media experts who can hashtag in their sleep but who don’t know content like radio programmers do.  Some basic strategy and skill-building will take us a long way into the future.


Chris Miller, owner of Chris Miller Digital, is a leading radio consultant specializing in research-based strategic planning and smart use of digital media. He can be phoned at 216-236-3955 or e-mailed at




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Category: Digital, Opinions