For the most part there is nothing compelling on radio station websites. The primary reason that most people visit is to start the station’s stream or find information about what a station is playing. In a just released survey by The Media Audit, visits to station websites declined YOY from 17.7% of U.S. adults to 17.6%. As more and more options exist for listening to a station’s stream off website (through mobile app, Facebook, etc.) traffic will continue to decline. Most stations don’t promote their website because there is no original content and when the station’s website is mentioned it’s usually due to a contest which in my view artificially drives traffic to a site. Tweets and posts show up in a listener’s stream in many cases so no need to access the website. So how can radio develop unique content? Without investing a considerable amount of funds I don’t think there is much that can be done. However, I do believe there are other opportunities to create content and develop other brands. For example, one company I am working with Inner City, has for many years put on a weekend event in New York City called Circle of Sisters where over 40,000 people attended. There is an opportunity to further develop this well known brand apart from the radio station.
At Angel Street Capital we have invested in a local news site called GoLocal Providence (www.golocalprov.net) and they are in the process of rolling this same platform out to Worcester, MA. The site has been incredibly successful in challenging the local newspaper. Initially GoLocal launched in Providence with a local radio station partner. This opportunity exists for radio companies but I would suggest partnering rather than trying to develop it internally. Radio stations have a giant megaphone to launch other brands as they have been doing for their advertisers for many years. It’s time to use this megaphone themselves to develop brands they have an equity stake in.