We know that people are driving less during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is a challenge for our industry because the car is, under normal circumstances, where the most radio listening happens. Radio broadcasters hope that they can offset the loss of in-car listening with an increase in in-home listening, but there's a hurdle: We recently surveyed radio listeners and found that nearly a fifth of them do not have a working radio at home:
To counteract this trend, your station needs to promote the other ways that people can listen: through your mobile app, on smart speakers, or by streaming on the website. We've seen that the more radio stations promote these assets, the more listeners use them. Here are eight ways to promote alternative ways to listen to your radio station:
1. On-Air Breaks
Your DJs should tell people about all the different ways that listeners can stream the stations. This doesn't need to involve lengthy breaks. DJs regularly begin or end breaks by saying the station's dial position and call letters, but in the current environment, the dial position may not be that important. You may want to replace saying “108.9 WKRP” with something like, “WKRP on the radio and in the app store.” A clever positioning statement can make it easier for jocks to promote the stream more often.
Fred Jacobs shows radio personalities how to take their game to the next level in this webinar recording.
2. On-Air Production
Not everything your station wants to promote requires a full-blown recorded promo. Sweepers between songs can do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to promoting station apps, Alexa skills, or streams.
3. The Website
Radio stations usually give their “Listen Now” buttons prime real estate on their websites — often in the top right corner of the page. Consider elevating two other calls to action to a prime position on your website: a link to the station's mobile app and a link to a page that explains how to listen to the station on smart speakers. The link to the mobile app is especially important on the mobile version of your site — the version that people see when they look at it on a smartphone or tablet. If you want to get really fancy, use a service like AppURL or Pretty Links to detect which operating system the user is on and send them to the Android or Apple app store accordingly.
4. Email Blasts
Under normal circumstances, your station might use its email database to keep listeners abreast of upcoming concerts or contests. But as the touring circuit grinds to a halt and the prize closet starts looking bare, use it to call attention to all the ways that people can listen to your station. This might mean a dedicated email blast or two on the topic, but it could also mean changing the template of your email newsletter to add renewed focus to the app or stream.
5. Mobile App Push Notifications
If listeners have installed your station's app on their phones, you can use push notifications to encourage them to listen or to educate them about alternative ways to listen. This webinar will fill you in on the basics of push notifications.
6. Livestreaming Videos
As DJs have been forced to work from home, they have learned to take advantage of new ways to engage listeners. But don't let the excitement of these shiny new toys distract your airstaff from the bottom line: Your station generates its revenue based on the number of people who listen in. When broadcasting live on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, or other platforms, find ways to tell people how they can listen to the station. This can be done verbally, with text overlays, or by placing links in the comments.
7. Instagram Bio
It's can be difficult to steer people towards a specific digital action on Instagram because, unlike Twitter and Facebook, Instagram limits the ability to use links in posts. Most accounts are confined to a single link in the bio. You can overcome this limitation to a degree by using a service link Linktree, which allows you to create a multi-button menu for your Instagram profile. Even if you've already set this up, now is a good time to review it to make sure the buttons link to the most important places given our current circumstances. If you're linking to your Contests page but not your mobile app, it's time to switch things up.
8. Images and Videos for Social Media
Finally, your station can create online content, such as graphics or videos, that promote alternative ways to listen and share these on social media. Here's an example from WMMR in Philadelphia:
Here's an example from Alt 94.9 in San Diego:
Don't assume that just because your listeners know how to find your station on their car stereo that they'll also find it on their newfangled home gadgets. During this time, renew your station's efforts to let audiences know how they can stream your station through its mobile app, its website, and on their smart speakers.
If you were a Techsurvey stakeholder, you have specific data on your station to help prioritize which outlets and gadgets to promote the most. The more ways you can get the word out, the better.