TV On The Radio

January 13, 2012

You may have seen the spot during one of many football games during this past holiday season – a clever ad for Google+ Hangouts featuring the Muppets.  This is the feature where you can do a video call with up to 9 other people.

Now Google understands that it’s not especially easy to describe Hangouts in writing or even verbally. That’s where video comes in.  And the Muppets are the perfect group for a fun demo – from Kermit to Oscar to the Swedish Chef to, of course, Miss Piggy.


After you see it, you instantly “get” some of the cool ways you could use Hangouts to connect your friends, your fantasy baseball league, your airstaff, your bridesmaids, your Classic Rock stations, or even your relatives for a fun, free video chat.

That’s the power of video married to a little cleverness and personality.

So answer me this – why aren’t radio stations making better use of video to demonstrate some of the cool things they’re doing?  Why are we still doing :30 audio promos for everything when the world loves video?

For example, the many ways to enjoy and access the station – besides listening on a standard radio.  Imagine your best (cutest, funniest) jock doing a short online video demo that shows how to tune in the station on a computer via the stream, and on a smartphone using your app (or your company’s “umbrella app”).  And maybe use the video to show listeners all the different places to listen and enjoy the station – at home, at work, in the car, at the game, while doing homework, etc.

Or maybe it’s a video showing fans how to access and use your station’s podcasts.  Or perhaps a video introduction to the morning show, gathering everyone together for some visual fun with the crew.  Or possibly a quick “how to” video on entering and maximizing your chances in the current station contest.

Video is a great teaching tool.  And radio can no longer take for granted that listeners simply understand (or even care about) everything that you’re doing.  Those promos that run once a daypart (if that given inventory pressures) are old school and nowhere near as effective as they used to be.  (93% of your audience does not hear them – trust me on this.)

They also aren’t sharable nor are they usually very interesting or fun.  Make a cool, entertaining video of what’s happening on your station and you can email it to your database, post it on your website and Facebook page, tweet it out, and let the audience do the rest.

We have to stop doing things the way we’ve always done them.

We have to stop playing “D” and start getting proactive.

We have to start innovating just like we were encouraged to do back in the ’60s and ‘70s when there was more creativity and vision and fewer rules.

We have to start acting like tech companies where new ideas, updated versions, and upgrades are encouraged.

We’ve got to start doing things differently.

Video for radio isn’t as contradictory or crazy as it sounds.

In fact, it’s a great place to start.


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5 Responses to TV On The Radio

  1. Clear Channel States The Obvious – RadioInsight on January 13, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    [...] creator and distributor. Right now their focus is on audio content, but online distribution is blurring the lines between forms of media. Clear Channel can now use its radio stations, apps, and other distribution [...]

  2. J.J. Johnson on January 13, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Hi, Fred! You’re right, of course, about finding newer, creative ways to promote one’s station (or anything else, for that matter) with the New Media tools we now have. For some of us “old school” radio people (I’m in my fifth decade having started in the mid-’60s), it’s daunting. There’s so much to learn it’s hard to know where to start. Yeah, I’m way too horse ‘n’ buggy, but I’m on this blog. It’s a (re-)start.

    • Fred Jacobs
      Fred Jacobs on January 13, 2012 at 5:08 PM

      Thanks for being here. We’re all learning. After running around CES for 3 days, you keep hearing those voices (“You’re falling behind….”). Our old school skill sets translate well because content creators who are good will always have a job. But there’s a lot to be learn. Appreciate you weighing in, J.J.

    • Kevin Dean on January 16, 2012 at 5:14 PM

      The tough part (for me)is trying to find that balance between the on air product which reaches 100 % of those listening with other media such as generating web content and producing / editing video which reaches a smaller group of listeners. Where is the tipping point of too much time spent on web presentation and not enough on the show?

      • Fred Jacobs
        Fred Jacobs on January 16, 2012 at 9:47 PM

        Kevin, a good question because your core content is key. I believe it’s a larger station issue – carving out the big strategy for digital/social/mobile, and then assigning roles. You can’t do everything, but you should decide on doing the most important things. Kudos to you for thinking it through. And thanks for commenting.

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