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Radio’s Social and Digital Dilemma

| November 16, 2016

By Bryan Crabtree
Talk Show Host


crabtreebryanwriterATLANTA — Radio was the original social media. We owned the dialogue. Now we own just some of it. Let’s stop complaining about the challenges and dominate the conversation again on both mediums.

There is a plethora of competing distractions to our audience and they are lost in a sea of confusing noise.

Our audience has changed, but have we?

Listeners will follow and respond to who or what they ‘believe’ is real. I was shocked to see so many lifelong broadcast conservatives double-down on their ‘#nevertrump’ hysteria.  I’m convinced that, for many, it wasn’t their personal conviction. It was the vanity of needing to be accurate on their predictions of Trump’s demise. The result was the destruction of years of earned credibility with their followers.

We don’t need to be ‘right,’ we just need to be real. Our audience listens for perspective not directive.

Radio has benefited greatly by the Trump candidacy, but did we learn the lesson he taught us?

Trump brilliantly used social media to persuade Americans to elect him the 45th president of the United States.

Talk radio is no longer just a three-hour, on-air production. Our shows must continue ’24/7′ via Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, iTunes, Youtube and other digital platforms.

For me, it created pure anxiety in knowing that all of these platforms were available for free, because the manpower required to utilize them was daunting. I knew there had to be some way to expedite and automate this process. After three months of testing, we decided on ‘Libsyn Pro.’  Now, instead of just posting the show highlights to Soundcloud, we syndicate our material everywhere possible.

My producer posts our show highlights on ‘Libsyn’ and it syndicates the post to dozens of the podcast sites. In the automation, a post is made on all of my social media sites (which includes an image and a ‘search-social-friendly’ narrative). Images build clicks and follows.

Tip: You can find free images on Google. Search for your topic, click “images,” then “settings” and “advanced search.” Under “image rights,” choose “Free to use or share even commercially”

As a result, we saw our online downloads/listens go from dozens per day to hundreds or thousands across all the platforms (on each highlight).

Many broadcasters believe in burying content on special-access websites. Some are trying to build a database while others are trying to sell ‘special’ content. Many believe they are withholding the content so that the audience will be forced to listen to live radio. Philosophically, I reject all of this as nonsense.

Each host has a responsibility to connect with his or her audience and create a relationship. Our audience is overwhelmed with content options. In order to cut through that clutter, we need to offer them numerous options outside of live radio so they built a habit of turning to us for analysis.

In addition to the automation, I write tweets (and social media posts) that reflected my thoughts on culture, news and the election. Twitter has become a 24-hour extension of my radio show.  I Tweet every article that we use for my radio show, which automatically places it in my ‘Crabtree Chronicle’ on my news/blog site. (You can use so ‘Tweeted’ links automatically collaborate such as on our ‘Chronicle’ page).

Talk radio has always been an interactive (callers) medium.  It surprises me how this listener interaction has not translated to social media and our websites. I visit my Twitter notifications or Facebook comments (a few times per day) and engage the audience in dialogue. I’m a conservative host but I have several regular liberal ‘keyboard bangers’ who engage in respectful dialogue of disagreement which creates some of the best future content.

My ‘Closet-Trumper’s Theory’ which accurately predicted this election came from a debate with one of them.

I explained my ‘Closet Trumpers Theory’ in May via a podcast suggesting Trump would become president with a landslide victory because of Michigan, Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, etc. It never aired on radio but it received thousands of downloads.

As broadcasters, we must expand beyond just live callers to engaging our audience in social media and building a relationship. The radio show is a hub for all our content but it must have several spokes.

By automating the syndication of my content to social/podcast sites, I’ve been able to free the time to write weekly articles for and other news sites. We ‘write’ a show every day. Commit your unique thoughts to your blog or offer them to a prominent news site. Search engines love YOUR words.

It is imperative that you read and engage the comment-threads of the articles you write. Much like talk radio, writers ignore the comments of readers. Responding to just a few becomes noticed by many.

In order to build your brand, you need to be writing thoughtful articles at least once or twice per week, posting regularly on all major social media platforms and syndicating the most unique highlights of your show to every site possible. To expand your exposure, consider sending a link and tag guests on interviews so they can also promote the show.

I’ve conducted over one-hundred interviews on radio and TV stations since July and less than 10 have sent me the audio/video. When they send them, I post, promote and tag.

Connecting to our audience, hearing them and acknowledging them is critical. None of what I’ve described was easy to develop, but it’s fun to operate.

I follow the free-analytics of Twitter and Facebook for feedback and to determine what works. For me the reward was the culmination of over 2,000,000 people viewing my material (Facebook/Twitter) in the final months of the general election, including over 300,000 on election night alone.

This stuff works!

Let’s revolutionize radio by taking back our dominance of ALL social media. We have the best content; we just need to expose it.


Bryan Crabtree is the publisher of, and a contributor to, and  He hosts the live afternoon talk show on Salem Atlanta’s WAFS “biz1190” and evenings on WGKA “AM920 The Answer.”  He can be emailed at:

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Category: Advice, Opinions