Digital Can’t Be an Afterthought

Talk to virtually any radio group owner or operator and they’ll say the same thing, ‘We’re not doing near enough with digital.’ Have a conversation with anyone on the programming side and they’ll tell you how they need to be creating more digital content. So then, why aren’t stations creating more original digital content? Simple, because despite all of the talk about it year after year, in most organizations, digital is an afterthought. It’s the thing everyone does once they’ve finished with all of their other daily responsibilities. But, it certainly shouldn’t be an afterthought and with a few changes, it doesn’t have to be.

First, let’s clarify. When I mention original digital content I’m talking about video and blogs (articles) shared to both web and social and podcasts shared on all the major podcast platforms and promoted on web/social. I’m not talking about banner ads. Secondly, let me reiterate why I’m so passionate about this. At some point in the not-so-distant future, our terrestrial signal’s main purpose will be to drive traffic to all of our digital assets (Stream, website, podcasts, app and social feeds). This, by the way, isn’t bad programming either. In fact, it actually helps it, by further fine tuning our on-air programming to truly be the best bite-size chunks that have the broadest appeal for our on-air megaphone and getting more granular and long-form elsewhere for our diehard fans that want to do deeper dives.

So, we’ve established why it’s important and we all agree we should be doing more of it. Now let’s change our mindsets so digital isn’t an afterthought that we get around to if and when we have time. To do that we start thinking of digital as priority 1 and terrestrial as priority 2. For on-air and promotional staffs that means not only incorporating digital into the prep/planning process, but actually starting with some longer form video/blog/podcast content and working backwards to figure out how to promote it with on-air features and promotions. Sales role would be to stop bonusing it immediately, (Why would you throw in what will one day be the main course for free?) Then learn how to price it/sell it, which is all impression or clicked through based to give a hard value to it and can be bundled in with the on-air inventory. But, in those bundles the digital piece should be front and center and the terrestrial piece playing the supporting role. Ownership and management brings it all together by making digital first the company mantra, setting up a system of rewards (incentives) and repercussions (holding people accountable) for content creation, empower the content creators by adapting on-air studios into multi-platform content creation studios, strategically hiring other content creators, identifying all existing staffs’ digital strengths and repurposing accordingly (Not firing, but training and refocusing). As a consultant I can help with this entire process, throughout all departments.

Many groups have already started this transition, have you? If so, let me know in the comments below or email me at

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