Creating a Digital Strategy for Radio: Policy

Posted by Paul Miedzik

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Jan 20, 2016 9:42:13 AM

Creating a Digital Strategy for Radio: Policy

Successful organizations infuse digital in their culture & throughout the foundation of the "4Ps": People, Platform, Policy, and Process.

In this article we will focus on where you stand with respect to “POLICY” in your organization and determine if you are up to speed with the procedures and compliance measures needed to thrive in today’s digital landscape. In order to effectively create a digital strategy for radio, you need to ask yourself:

Do you have a set of structured policies needed to succeed in the digital era?

Policies and procedures are guidelines toward accepted business strategies, objectives and tactics and act as the link between an organization’s goals and day-to-day operations. They provide a guide to the decision making process for management on how to handle problems when they arise.

For Radio brands investing in digital and allocating resources into online contesting, social media initiatives and digital advertising, policies need to be well documented and defined. They should stem from the top-down throughout the organization. This ensures the organization and it's personnel has a clear understanding and full control over the decision making process.

Clearly defined policies help:

  • Manage company risks
  • Protect the brand's reputation
  • Assist with networking and overall awareness
  • Increase productivity
  • Mitigate legal threats
  • Increase the accountability of the organization and staff

Here are list of digital policies and procedures for Radio brands investing in digital in 2016:

1. Social Media Policy

A social media policy outlines the standards of behaviour in which employees and radio staff can use social media professionally and effectively to benefit the station.

A great social media policy for Radio ensures that employees know exactly what restrictions they have on social tactics and the processes that are imperative for the company to stay true to their values while maintaining the law.

Some common guidlines of a social policy include:

  • A list of employees who have permission to post on social networks
  • Clearly defined posting times and frequencies
  • A mandatory content schedule
  • Guidelines regarding the handling of confidential and sensitive company information 
  • A crisis plan for internal issues (What if your Social Media Manager goes rogue?)
  • A crisis plan for external issues (What if your community backlashes against you?)
  • A copyright infringement guide
  • Updated social media platform policies

While social media policies tend to focus on the restrictions of users, it is important to also have guidelines for employees on how to achieve digital and company goals. Your guide should also include:

  • Best practices in using social media for Radio
  • Tips on effective ways to engage audiences and generate refferal website traffic
  • How to stay in-line with the stations’ brand voice
  • How to respond to complaints, requests, and contest inquiries

2. Digital as part of Staff Performance Assessments and Compensation

You’ve allocated resources to your sales team and they now have budgets to sell digital properties on all of your digital assets. Now that digital is part of your funnel, it's important to have a policy of reviewing your employees based on their ability to identify digital opportunities when they arise.

For example: Is your sales team selling digital add-ons or layering a digital campaign on top of traditional campaigns? This process should now be included in the evaluation process to motivate your sales reps and grow additional revenue for your Radio brands.

A well defined compensation system should be in place to reward employees for selling digital and driving incremental revenue. This system should be well defined, include detailed targets, and meets the expectations of your sales team.

3. A dedicated Team Lead for managing listener data & compliance is in place

As you are dealing with personal customer information, it is imperative to have a dedicated lead to manage all of the listener and membership data at your station as well as any compliance issues that may arise.


Someone with the proper credentials and skills has to ensure that customer information will not be compromised, and is able to secure all your data from outside threats.

With security being top of mind, a strong IT policy must be in place so that breaches are mitigated and there is a documented processes for managing, and reporting security concerns throught the organization.

Social Media/Digital

Having a digital playbook, with a team lead to oversee the updating documents regarding the social media policy, website monitoring and other digital assets is crucial to managing the station's digital presence. This assures your properties are on brand and in line with modern social media, web policies and security protocols.

Privacy Policy Management 

It's very important to have your privacy policy documented and posted for your audience on all of your digtal properties (website and apps). It's also essential to ensure that you have a designated Privacy Officer in place to manage all inquiries and complaints. This individual needs to have clear undertanding of your organizations policies and how to address inquiries related to this policy. This individual also needs to stay on top of ensuring your Radio brand is complying with regulations (gov legislation) and audits internal processes at regualr intervals.  

You need to provide access and details for your audience to reach your Privacy Officer and ensure you have a dedicated inbox that the officer is responsible for checking - essentially making sure no inquires get dropped on the floor.

4. You have tools to mitigate legal risks

Image Sourcing

There are plenty of stories out there around copyright infringement due to lack of attribution or use of non-rights free images when Radio professionals are sourcing images. Many Radio brands have been fined for the unlawful use of images when curating them for their content.

Having a strict policy on image sourcing and curation needs to be put in place, especially when social media and blogging is so vital to a digital strategy for Radio brands.

The policy should include:

  • A How-to-Guide on properly attributing content
  • A list of rights free image libraries
  • A list of associated risks and what it means to get a cease and desist/bill/DMCA or law suit filed
  • An internal media library with pre-approved, rights-free images
  • A built in image sourcing tool within their CMS

Legality for contests

Contests and promotions are the life blood of any Radio station, so making sure your contests are legal is vital.

Whenever you share a contest, especially with sponsors, whether it be on social media, through a Radio app, or blog, you should always link to your contest rules and terms of service. This ensures protection for your brand, your sponsor affiliates and your actual contest participants.

For best practice it's recommended that you have a Website CMS for Radio that allows you to hard code legal terms for contests, to eliminate the promotional teams’ risk of exposure to legal ramifications. Having a single click option, or automated feature with your CMS provider can save your station time, money, and a legal burden.

For reference: Here is a recent legal issue that a large Radio group experienced in January 2016 - Cumulus Hit with $540K Sponsorship ID Fine

In summary, policies and procedures are essentiel for radio brands to protect themselves and their staff from acting in a manner that may endanger the organization. With the digital landscape being so robust, it's important your team is secure and prepared to make the right decisions when issues arise.

Are your radio brands ready for digital success in 2016? We've created an awesome digital checklist for radio, so you can review where your brands stand:

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For more articles on building a digital strategy for radio and radio trends 2016 and digital tools for radio, subscribe to the SoCast blog!

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