The Risks of Going In-house with your Radio Station Website

Posted by Elliott Hurst

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Mar 2, 2016 2:46:26 AM


SoCast - The Risks of going in-house with your Radio Station Website“We launched a major promo integrated with our Radio websites and apps, and one day nothing seemed to work. The webmaster who put it all together quit a month ago and the new guy can’t figure it out. The client wanted answers. We were screwed.”

Whether you’re a PD, account manager, or the VP of Sales, this would be a nightmare scenario if the failure happened at the broadcast tower level and there was intermittent outages ”on-air”.

But in the new world of digital content and mobile, where advertisers demand targeted proof of reach, clients and audiences are turning to digital means to engage with Radio.

While “dead air” has traditionally owned the moniker of the ultimate sin in Radio, the digital equivalent of “dead air” - “dead stream” if you will, is catching up to that title. In the PD’s view, the “dead stream” equivalent of “dead air” would be any interruption of service across any of it.

Is WordPress specifically configured for Radio workflow? If something goes down outside of WordPress can their technical support help you get it back up? Could they even identify where the problem is? Would they even provide that service? Do WordPress templates have best of class Radio policy and legal templates baked into them? Does WordPress manage content and synchronize publication for web, mobile and social? What about advertising inventory tracking synced across web, mobile, and social?  

These are things that are desperately needed in a Radio's platforms. In the traditional broadcasting process things like “content” and “automated programmatic advertising” across “multiple platforms” were inherent in the “on-air” transmitter. But in the world of digital and mobile… it's DIY suckers!

With all the opportunity for self-publishing and reaching the audience with brand consistency across web, mobile, social, and future platforms (car, set-top boxes and other bundles, etc.) therein lies the hidden risks.

While you may have 100 years or more of experience of quickly diagnosing, isolating and solving the whatever’s causing your “dead air” problem, you've got less than 15 years of experience in dealing with whatever could be causing your “dead stream” in web and less than two in mobile. Simply having the ability to troubleshoot your entire system is a new requirement for Radio today. Entrusting that to one person’s head is a Pandora’s box just waiting to open.  

Risks include:

Knowledge loss - Everything about how your business operated in digital space was in one person’s head, so when that person left, all that related knowledge left your business

Opportunity cost - While your team is figuring out how to keep everything working, your team is distracted from focusing on creating good Radio, and addressing the needs of your advertisers

Weight of Scale - Since digital represents the greatest long term growth opportunity for your business, you need a stable structure that won’t break, especially when you’re beginning to scale. Your one-man show running all digital operations for your business can only manage so much. If you hire him help, you have to hope he has management skills in addition to his specialty. You also have to have confidence in his ability to judge the growing demands of the platform(s) and his ability to keep everything working together as you grow.

Innovation driver – Let’s be honest. Your one-man show is going to be busy keeping the fort down, dealing with emergencies, handling unexpected situations caused by either tech integration, user error, or maintenance related. The last thing on his mind is where your platforms are going to be when the connected car hits 250M in the next few years. Or how to optimize ad units for programmatic ads. Or how to sync mobile user experience with web.

When you go with the right platform you have a company committed to R&D and tracking the latest trends to fit its product to, which may include:

  1. Speaking and attending leading industry and non-industry conferences
  2. Staying on the forefront of technology and best industry practices
  3. Focused on trends to grow your business
  4. Managing a team of product people from different backgrounds with radio experience

The future of your business is too vital to put in charge to one person. All of these risks can be significantly mitigated by turning to a third party platform provider.   

“More than anything else, the right 3rd party platform for Radio provides you with a layer of consistency, stability, and innovation as your business continues to quickly evolve and grow.”

But there’s a bright side. If you do want to stick with going in house with WordPress and a webmaster, finding a third party provider that already integrates with WordPress will hedge your risk in these key areas. However, the right provider will also maintain brand consistency across all digital platforms (web, mobile and social), and harness all the required audience data points to builds the type of targeted reach and reporting your advertisers want. It will empower your one-man show.

Beyond a layer of support and consistency, the right third party platform for Radio can also provide revenue opportunities through increasing ad inventory, higher value ad units, and widgets for promotions & direct email.  

“It turns your one-man show into a one-man team. You turn your cost center into a revenue center.”

SoCast Case Study: The Cromwell Group

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

Topics: Digital Strategy for Radio

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