This business can be a real kick in the pants sometimes. Talented people get let go and promising shows can be blown up before they even get a chance to find their stride or get a foothold with listeners and advertisers. It sucks, but those are the realities of radio (not just sports, but all formats) in 2018.
Let’s have a discussion about why owning your own media matters. Our biggest audiences probably come via our radio shows, but once they have found you and made a connection with you, they are your audience. They want to be entertained by you and hear your opinions. If you give them more opportunities, it makes sense that they will take advantage of them, right?
Your radio show likely already has some kind of podcast element involved with it. It’s 2018 after all. You’re either posting full hours or cobbling together a 30 minute to one hour best of show that goes up immediately after you turn off the mics.
Those podcasts are great, and they matter to your audience, but they are technically the intellectual property of the radio station. If your show goes away, so does that podcast.
I have always thought that it is important to give your listeners something unique in the digital realm. There are three reasons that it makes sense to create content for the internet beyond just a replay of what listeners have already heard if they tuned in to that day’s radio show.
First, unique digital content gives your listeners more opportunities to choose you. Maybe those superfans that will listen to a three or four hour show and then go download a one hour podcast featuring the best of what they just heard exists, but they would be in the vast minority. For the most part, your most dedicated listeners have no reason to listen to your show’s podcast. It’s made up of content they have already heard.
It’s likely that given the ability to interact on social media, your radio P1s are already your internet P1s. They follow you on Instagram. They retweet and favorite your Twitter posts. Giving those people a half hour of content exclusive to the internet gives them something to proselytize. They don’t want to use their tweets to say “go to another device at another time to hear this thing I like!”. If they like you they want to be able to say to their followers “I like this show. Here it is!” and be able to provide a link straight to it.
Next, consider how much deeper of a connection your listeners can make with you if you give them another platform to connect. Whether you decide to go the podcasting route or upload videos to YouTube, you are going to have to deliver something different than the radio show.
Does that mean you veer completely away from sports? Maybe. Do you cover other sports topics or maybe do deeper dives on a single topic you have covered only in passing on the radio show?
Honestly, any of them are fine options, because owning your own media gives you the chance to control your message and your image. You want to show your listeners who you are away from the confines of hard outs and live reads. You want them to see you with the reigns truly off to create your perfect show. It is a chance for them to connect with you all over again, this time in a brand new way.
Finally, it doesn’t hurt to have already established your own presence away from the radio station should the day come that you are no longer at the radio station. Like I said earlier, if your radio show goes away, so does its official podcast. If advertisers support your radio show because they believe in you, it won’t hurt to offer them another project that you can work on together or another outlet you can show them where you already have a listener community.
Who really knows what the radio business looks like five or ten years from now? Who can honestly say they feel confident predicting the medium’s future? The media landscape and the way audiences want to consume their favorite shows has changed. Being everywhere that audience is matters. If you look at your station’s daily lineup and see the number of shows hosted by guys you see in the building day in and day out dwindling, you understand why it is important to establish a presence outside of the station.