Radio stations, by their very nature, make internal company communication difficult. DJs have to be on the air at different times of day, so it's rare when the night jock's path crosses the morning show's. Voice tracking software has lengthened a jock's leash to the air studio, but it hasn't turned everybody into a 9-to-5 employee like you see in other industries. We're all on different schedules, and that can make it difficult to get the entire team on the same page.
Back at the turn of the century, the go-to tool for communicating in the radio stations where I worked was AOL Instant Messenger. IMing people was a quick, easy way to get work done. Unfortunately, AOL shut down Instant Messenger in December of 2017.
Today, I use Slack. Of course, I'm not in a radio station, but I do produce a podcast with two co-hosts. We are only in the same room during the weekly recording session. So we use Slack to communicate on a daily basis.
Slack is an instant messaging service specifically designed for internal communication at companies; you can only use it with a company email address, or if you have been invited. To this end, it offers some useful features:
In Slack, you can create different channels for different discussion topics. This is useful for organizing thoughts so they don't get lost later. For example, we have a channel dedicated to topic ideas for our next podcast episode. Any time we come across a news story in our social media feeds that we think might be worth discussing on the podcast, we copy the link and post it into this channel. When we sit down to do our show prep, we have an abundance of material to pull from.
We've also created dedicated channels to other topics, such as Marketing, Sponsorships, or Interns. A radio station might want to set up Slack channels for the following:
- Morning Show Topics
- Remote Broadcasts
- Music News
One of the convenient features of Slack is that it allows you to upload files. For our podcast, my co-hosts will prepare notes for each show, then send them to me in advance to print. We'll also edit interview clips and upload the audio files to Slack to be loaded into the computer for the show. After a guest comes into our studio, we'll post photos to Slack so each host can use them in social media posts. Slack has replaced email and Dropbox as our main method of sharing files.
We use Slack so much, that its mobile app has earned a coveted spot on my phone's home screen. This simple messaging tool has become an invaluable means of communication for us because we are so rarely in the same place at the same time. If your station needs help improving internal communication, I recommend looking into it.
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