Monday, June 26, 2017
COPA Digital Media Spotlight - Our Salute to Radio

There are 1,120 radio and audio services with 594 FM and 129 AM stations in Canada. Radio has been identified as the sector least affected by the digital disruption due to its emphasis on local content according to the just released report by Canadian Heritage - “Disruption: Change and Churning in Canada’s Media Landscape”. This is good news for all the industry as traditional media still has a firm foothold in the media mix. But radio stations are still evolving as they produce content for their website, that originally started as placeholders so listeners can access the radio station online.

 

Last year for the 2016 COPAs I talked about “How radio has reinvented themselves in the digital age”. When writing this piece, I discovered that radio stations were adopting magazine like content strategies for their website and this was all part of the digital convergence that is occurring in the media industry. I predict that over the long term that radio and magazines brands may merge to survive in the future to compete against Google and Facebook. 

 

Let’s have a look at 98.1 CHFI the largest radio station in Toronto is doing. The radio station has an Ault Contemporary music format and attracts 36,400 Adults 12+ listeners per minute in the Toronto CMA according to the latest Numeris rating report. The station skews women listeners (over 50%). The website is ranked 6,205 in Canada by Alexa ( a web site tarffic monitioring sire), which suggest traffic over 100,000 visitors per month. (Online and smartphone app radio listenership is not included in the Numeris report btw, a free bonus for advertisers). 
 

 

The content on the website reminds me more of an Entertainment Show on TV as the site offers video clips of entertainment news, celebrity gossip, interviews and music videos. There is a celebrity gossip podcast series “Other People’s Business” hosted by MO (Maureen Holloway). This is a 3 minute archive from the morning show she co-hosts each day. There is some women’s service content on the website through MO’s blog and food recipe videos. Could we see more Chatelaine content here in the future or a CHFI radio widget on the Chatelaine website, as they are both Roger’s media brands. There is already video content from Breakfast Television a show on CITY TV for entertainment news another Rogers Media brand.
 
 
 
 
 

The station has a mobile app where people can stream the station on their smartphone that is available in the Apple and Google Play Store. There are radio-streaming apps where you can have access to hundreds of Radio stations. 98.1 CHFI can also be streamed from the Radio Canada Play App that has 400 stations. The biggest concern about radio app streaming is that the Internet winks out and the music will stop and the system then has to reboot and start over. Surprisingly, there is still not a Radio Tuner App that can pick up the signal over the air to save on bandwidth the technology is there. The headphones are used as the antennae.
 

 
To build a listener database there is the 98.1 CHFI Customer Loyalty program where listeners can win points for answering On Air Trivia questions or by participating in a survey/ poll. These points are then redeemed for contest entries for prizes. This program can lead to other ad revenue opportunities such as an email newsletter that go beyond a 30 second spot on the station and can be part of an integrated ad program.
 
 

The next step in the evolution of Radio brands is the ability to effectively create a brand that works in all channels. Unfortunately, radio stations are stilling using their station ID as the web brand and looks out of place. Sportsnet 590 Fan has able to achieve this cross branding concern with their radio station, website magazine and tv station. The combination of radio and the web is a powerful combination for advertisers if packaged right, as radio is a great web site traffic driver. Plus smartphone usage is banned in the car, where radio is #1.

 
- Martin Seto
About Me
Martin Seto

 
Martin Seto is the principal of Reflex Media, a media consultancy practice offering media owners digital publishing, event management and ad sales help. His media expertise also include working with ad agencies as a media buyer/planner for tv, radio, print, outdoor, magazine and online. He has been in the advertising and media industry for 25+ years and he has been an instructor/speaker with Centennial College and at magazine conferences across Canada. He can be reached at marty(dot)seto(at)
reflexmediasales.com or 416-907-6562, and on LinkedIn.

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