By now you should have a website for your station. If you don't, you
have some catching up to do. The world is online; if you're not online
you're not in the game.
Simply having a website is not enough. Your station website is an
extension of the station. With so much information available online,
your station is a valuable source of information. Just as time spent
listening is important for ratings, time spent online - called
stickiness - is important to a successful website.
Of greatest importance is to update the website every day.
Less-frequent updates will not attract visitors as often. Often, many
of the same techniques used to encourage listeners to tune in can be
applied to your website. Don't get caught creating an online space and
posting an under construction graphic. There is no better way to drive
The daily update can contain information from several station
departments. Programming and promotions are obvious content suppliers,
but the sales force and engineering can supply useful content too.
A real job Maintaining the website can be a full-time job. Since the
Web is a part of our lives now, it makes sense to have someone maintain
your website on a regular basis. This doesn't mean giving the task to
the promotions intern. Be sure the person maintaining the site
understands the station, its listeners and advertisers.
Basic information such as a concert calendar, team game schedules,
station remote appearances and community events are a good start.
Station engineering information can be a good source of information.
Include facts like the original station sign-on date, ERP, antenna
height, transmitter type and studio facilities. A virtual studio tour
is another possibility. Be careful not to provide too much
One thing I often see missing from station websites is complete
contact information. The request line and request fax are almost always
there, but listeners are not the only Web visitors you will have.
Contact information for the office and sales staff is very important.
Likewise, include information from the station's media kit. A potential
advertiser may find you. Make it easy for him to contact you as
anyway? Internet radio is proving to have real promise
as a delivery medium. As streaming technologies continue to evolve, the
quality of Internet radio will improve. Radio stations already have an
audio stream available. It is not difficult to get an audio stream
online. If hosting your own audio server is not practical, there are
plenty of companies that provide streaming services. These companies
handle all the details and maintain the equipment. All you have to do
is supply the audio stream.
Your online stream can also become a source of revenue. While the
online stream can simply simulcast the air signal, the commercial
inventory that is available online does not need to be given away. Sell
the over-the-air inventory, but be sure your contracts stipulate that
the online inventory may not be included.
At the NAB Radio Show, one technology was the source of many
discussions: ad insertion. This allows you to insert a new audio ad
into the audio stream in place of the commercial being played over the
This concept can be taken a step further with targeted ad insertion.
This relies on specific demographic information from the listener. Each
person listening online can hear a different commercial based on that
listener's own interests. While audio streaming may not be a major
source of revenue yet, it is definitely something to get into.
Your website is even of interest to the FCC. A recent rulemaking
provides for portions of the Public File to be available online.