James Cridland

Five ways to share audio

Great content deserves to be heard.

Increasingly, linear broadcast radio is just one of the ways you can get your content out there. And in this multi-platform world, where audiences consume radio stations on all manner of devices, it’s important to ensure that your content is exposed to as many people as possible, on a platform that they wish to use. It’s useless trying to control how your audience consumes your content: at least, it’s a sure-fire way of damaging your business long-term.

Listeners can, and will, seek out your station if they have a reason to. (“Nowheresville’s better music mix” isn’t a reason, lest I need to point that out.) One of those reasons might be that you have a brand that audiences want to be aligned with, like Virgin Radio which relaunches today in the UK: but those examples are few and far between. The real reason is that you have great content that people enjoy. And — obvious point — if they’re not listening, they’ll never know how great that content is.

There are a number of interesting tools to use, to share your content on social media and on connected devices. London’s Audioboom or Berlin’s SoundCloud are services where you upload audio clips to your channel, much as YouTube does for video. Top and tail the audio with your radio station ident, and tell people how and where to tune in for more.

Don’t ignore video, too. Even if the video element is a slide or a subtle animation, upload to YouTube and to Facebook. Bear in mind that Facebook is often used without the volume turned up, so make the video obvious that there’s audio there: WNYC did a nice faux “audio player” graphic to convey that nicely last year.

Podcasts, too, are another way of getting out there. The impending launch of podcasting into Google Play Music will bring more audiences into contact with your brand; but there’s obviously iTunes and many other podcast directories to get into.

The least obvious way is to empower your audience, your fans, to do this sharing for you. This week I was sent details of Argentina-based radiocut.fm, which records radio stations from many countries and lets users cut up their own clips to share. They have some good case studies of how audio has been shared from their service, some clips getting a third of a million plays. Australia-based RewindRadio.com does something similar. If you’re a talk station, ensure your stations are there.

But perhaps the best way for many stations is to somehow almost automate sharing of great audio — so that the on-air talent can do it directly after an interview without breaking a sweat. You shouldn’t be just passing audio over to the digital team — or the digital person — to package for online: or, even worse, asking them to get it from your legal logging system. I suspect we’ll see some announcements of new services to enable that in the upcoming Worldwide radio summit, and NAB shows.

There are more places than ever for your content to work for your station — other, of course, than your transmitter.