RAIN Summit panel discusses social strategies for radio

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 10:10am

Triton Digital Media VP Business Strategy, Applications & Services Division Jim Kerr moderated the "Social Radio" panel at last month's RAIN Summit Dallas. He spoke with four pros from the broadcast, online radio, and Internet services industries concerning how radio can best make use of social media tools, and take advantage of consumers' embrace of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and more.

In planning a mobile strategy, given the necessary committment of resources (engineers, social media professionals) Jelli founder/CEO Mike Dougherty advised focusing on the biggest and most important, which for his company (and the others agreed) were Facebook and Twitter. He also suggested being realistic about the impact. Integrating with Facebook's Open Graph enables Jelli users' sharing and participation, but "Facebook didn't spike our usage or traffic, but it did provide a 3-4% monthly increase. It's like interest on a bank account. That investment was really important for us."

Owen Grover (iHeartRadio SVP at the time, now Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises SVP/Content Partnerships) agreed, and suggested using realistic expectations and logic to help decide where to "spend" your company's resources in social media. "We ask, 'Who are the listeners we're addressing here?'" Different genres attract different demos and lifestyles -- the same goes for social media platforms. "You're not going to get a ton of AC listeners on Tumblr blogs... However, you see an extraordinary use of social photo apps among urban radio listeners," he said. You need to consider "where your listeners expect you to be."

Pureplay webcaster Raditaz founder/CEO Tom Brophy suggested if you give a highly-engaged audience "the channels to interact with the social networks, they'll use them." His company's plan has been to "provide (social media) channels and tools, and be proactive and push some content" to these networks.

SoundCloud doesn't create content; rather, they provide the platform for others to promote content. To make that as easy and rewarding as possible, SoundCloud Head of Audio Manolo Espinosa explained his company's work to integrate in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flipboard, and more. "Our idea is to make it super simple, give you the right stats, and help you promote your content."

But how can this help increase radio listening?

Grover called Facebook and Twitter "extraordinarily powerful at getting the word out, generating excitement, and creating conversations that feed the larger on-air conversation." His example is Clear Channel talent Elvis Duran, who dedicates large segments of his show to what's trending on Twitter and Facebook. Social media platforms shouldn't simply be "places to deposit content," or even necessarily just "traffic referrals," he advised. "We think of them as an extension of conversation. People are surprised to hear me say I'm interested in driving on-air occasions, because I'm the digital guy, but we think of our platform as '360,' and integration is the 'magic sauce' that differentiates us."

SoundCloud's Espinosa brought up CNN's Radio's use of his platform, as well as New York air talent Zach Sang, who posts clips he thinks have "viral" potential -- which include him promoting that evening's show. This takes great advantage of the fact that in the online world, people want to share content they enjoy. "Giving people that content to share in a way that doesn't impact their workflow, that's where you want to be!" said Espinosa.

Dougherty added that Jelli stations have seen actual ratings increases follow a good shift in social strategy that increased online engagement.

Naturally, a good social media strategy needs to be mobile. Grover advised thinking about the "meaningful distinctions between the desktop experience on social, and the mobile experience on social." His example: the difference between the Facebook mobile app and the desktop version, "and you realize there's no such thing as a 'tab' on a Facebook mobile app, and therefore some of the branding or marketing or partner- or sponsor-driven stuff that you're doing you can't execute the same way. You have to think about these differences."

Check out audio from this panel below. Audio from all the RAIN Summit Dallas segments is here.

Here's the latest agenda update for Tuesday's RAIN Summit Dallas

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 12:35pm

As if we didn't already have a full plate for next Tuesday's RAIN Summit!

You probably remember recent news of radio and webcasting royalty reform (with at least two bills in Congress) which you can read about here and here and here. Naturally, our panelists will also have something to say about the streaming concerns of radio at the local level (more on that here and here

We'll also be announcing the winners of the 2012 RAIN Internet Radio Awards (here are this year's finalists -- you should listen to them!). Plus, there's the keynote address (more here) from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment President of National Sales, Marketing & Partnerships Tim Castelli (left), and RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson's "State of the Industry" address.

Then, as if this weren't enough, news of Apple's rumored entry into Internet radio broke last week (here). 

Needless to say, there'll be lots to talk about! You should be part of this conversation! (There are a precious few seats left -- if you haven't yet, please secure your registration today here).

We'd also like to fill you in on the most recently added panel speakers for the Summit.

Raditaz is a free-to-use webcast service where users can create stations, listen to custom-curated stations, and use "tagging" to personalize their stations. Raditaz founder and CEO Tom Brophy will join us for the "Social Radio" panel song to discuss  song sharing, recommendations, listening rooms, and other social tools.

TuneIn, the stream aggregator and tuning software provider that serves as a "guide" to streams from thousands of broadcasters and webcasters worldwide is sending Senior Manager/Programming Scott Fleischer to the Summit, to speak about artist programmed channels, live acoustic shows, interactive news channels and more on the "Innovating Online Content" panel.

Live365 GM Johnie Floater, meanwhile, has been added to our legal panel, called "Music Licensing Roundtable." Live365 is the Internet radio network where members can create their own online radio station or listen to other Live365 broadcasters' online stations.

And of course, we'll cap the afternoon with the world-famous RAIN Reader Cocktail Party. We'll be in the Hilton Anatole's Verandah Shelbourne Room (on the 2nd floor of the Verandah Health Club).

You can see the full RAIN Summit Dallas agenda, with a complete rundown of panel topics and speakers, and registration information, here.

(We'd also like to remind you about our inaugural RAIN Summit Europe, coming up October 5th in Berlin. You can find more details on that, and links to register, here.)

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