Making Lasting Connections

Posted via Radio Ink

It's been an interesting year in the news. Then again, isn't the news always interesting? Whether it is the controversy over the death of Trayvon Martin, the debt crises in Europe and the U.S., the political battle brewing in this election year, or the diplomatic tensions with Syria and Iran, there is always a reason to tune in and get connected to what is happening in our world – locally and globally.

We turn to radio to keep up with the events of the day while simultaneously dealing with the day's events of our own lives. Radio is the ultimate companion. It's what we have always done while doing something else.

Increasingly, we turn to radio's digital manifestations via our computers and/or mobile devices. Digital has the added advantage of being able to diversify content coverage with video, maps, pictures, and links. It enhances the radio experience.

A recent Pew Research Center study indicates that "the migration of audiences toward digital news advanced to a new level in 2011 and early 2012, the era of mobile and multidigital devices." Further, the Pew report concluded that "as many as 38 percent of Americans now listen to audio on digital devices each week, and that is projected to double by 2015."

So, if you are a radio station that consumers turn to when news breaks, here are a few things to consider:

1. Make sure your hosting provider has the "headroom" necessary for traffic spikes.

Broadcasters spend significantly to ensure that the audience can hear their content. As that audience continues to increase, it is imperative that the same delivery quality exists. If your system is geared toward your typical volume, it will probably crash at atypical times. It's the radio equivalent of a retailer having the same inventory on Black Friday as they do any other day. Not good for consumers. And not good for advertisers.

2. Make sure your system is distributed.

Again, if traffic spikes and it's all on one server and that server goes down, you then replace the sound of incredible news coverage with the disturbing sound of silence. Multiple points of presence insure the distribution of your content to your audience – in your market, and if necessary, across the globe.

3. Make sure your technical partners are not flying by the seat of their pants.

Keeping pace with technical advances requires investment as much as know-how. Technology providers must continually invest, not only to keep pace but to innovate and stay ahead of the curve.

4. Take credit!

Watch your data carefully. When you have spikes indicating that the marketplace is turning to you for your station's take on things, share that data with clients and agencies. Internet audio has a quantifiability few other outlets can replicate. If you're the go-to resource, wear that mantle proudly.

News can be a boon to the industry – if your station is up to the challenge. Audit your systems to be sure it is. Great content that nobody can get to is the saddest commercial "break" of all.

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