When I talk with people who are tasked with executing digital strategy at radio stations across the country, they often tell me that they have difficulties getting on-air talent to write digital content. This isn't true for all DJs — some love writing — but I hear it frequently enough that I have helped radio stations develop techniques to get buy-in from the airstaff.
I empathize with the airstaff; most DJs didn't get into radio to write, they got into it to talk on the microphone. But in a digital world, it's not enough to be just a radio star anymore. If you work at a media business these days, you're in the multi-media business. Television anchors are podcasting, newspaper reporters are hosting videos, and so radio talent must also embrace other forms of online content.
This can feel overwhelming if you think of it as an additional burden on top of your regular radio show. That's why I find it useful to think of it as a natural extension of a jock's radio show — a third dimension, if you will — that is a result of the show prep process. Here's what that looks like:
When I prep for a radio show, I like to use an RSS reader set up to pull content from multiple sources, including national music news sites and local media outlets, into a single place. This allows me to quickly scan for interesting content to use during my show. Sometimes, that content is bite-size: worthy of a quick one-liner in a single break. Other times, that content is more substantial; it's worthy of being stretched out over multiple breaks, or turned into a morning show segment. I might also be looking for content that can be slotted into benchmark features, such as a music news, celebrity gossip, or “news of the weird” segment. In other words, a central component of the show prep process is making judgement calls about where content can best be used to engage the audience.
When you add in digital responsibilities, the basic procedure doesn't change; you just have more places to use the content you find in the preparation process. For example, let's say that as a DJ, my radio station requires me to find content to share on social media and to publish a daily blogpost. Now, as I scan through my show prep service, I'm not just thinking about my breaks, but also looking for material for these other destinations. For example, if I find something that's compelling but has an important visual component to it, I might share that on social media but not use it on air.
Often times, you can use the same content both on air and online. For example, if an artist releases a new video, you can embed that video along with your own thoughts in a blogpost. Then, when frontselling that song on the air, you can direct people to the video in your blogpost. Over time, identifying these types of opportunities to cross-promote between your airwaves and your website can have a significant impact on the station's website traffic. Too often, DJs think about their on-air duties and online duties as separate tasks, when using the show prep process as the catalyst for both can make these jobs faster, easier, and more efficient.
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