Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ted Mack's Original Radio Website

I recently commented on WTYD's confessed inability to monetize their website. The concept's simple enough -- generate content that brings people in (and brings them back), and they place appropriate ads in front of them.

Just to give one example of how it could work for WTYD -- the Tide (WTYD) has a local band network. Why not make link sponsored by, say Guitar Center, and then have a banner ad on the band page? Why not a banner ad from Musician's Friend? Each of their specialized pages could have similar appropriate advertising (either brick-and-mortar or Internet).

The Tide's site has other similar opportunities, such as their concert calendar, lyrics page, and so on.

Of course, you have to have content to go to in order to get the traffic to justify the advertiser's investment.

Which brings us to WJMA's website. As near as I can tell, our local radio station only has a website because someone told them it was all the rage. The Tide could make money on their website. Not so with WJMA.

The home page is clean and uncluttered -- which is good. But things fall apart when you start clicking on links.

Their contest page just basically says "listen to win." So there's no real reason to visit this page. Why not have some clues or even some kind of online-only contest?

Want to meet the staff? Too bad -- that page is still under construction. Which is a real web design no-no? Keep the freakin' page offline until the content's finished. An "under construction" notice is like asking someone if they want a soda, and when they say yes, responding that you don't have any.

Headline news can be an easy way to generate fresh content (and possibly sell some banner ads from local newspapers). WJMA's Local Headline News is blank -- with a date of November 9! C'mon, guys, even this blog has better news coverage (check out our feed from in the right column).

Community events can be another way to bring traffic. Post all the public service announcements that come into your station, and announce your website URL frequently ("for more information, visit"). Businesses that want to be seen supporting the community could sponsor said page. WJMA's Community Event page is blank. Ouch.

The local government and schools pages link to the various homepages of the area county governments and schools. That's fine, of course, but fairly static and not likely to generate much traffic.

The weather page links to, which is fine -- that page should have some kind of ads supporting it, though. Isn't the weather sponsored on the radio? Perhaps a package deal would be in order to get the ball rolling.

The concert page is current, and this would be another page that should be generating traffic and should have some sponsorship.

As the experts have repeatedly pointed out, a station's website can be a valuable tool and revenue stream but too many station managers don't comprehend the role of this new media.

Two more examples of how much Piedmont Communications (the proud owner of WJMA) understands about this Interwebtubie thing. In their "About Us" page, they say
"With the installation of new state of the art IBOC transmitting equipment in 2006, WJMA and WOJL became the first two commercial FM stations of their market size in Virginia to begin broadcasting in full HD high definition, providing listeners with the best possible audio quality available anywhere in the U.S. Piedmont Communications, Inc. will continue to use the latest technological advances and listener responsive programming to deliver the best radio service in Virginia."
First off, the "HD high definition" link is dead. Secondly, HD Radio is misidentified as "HD high definition." So this station that uses "the latest technological advances" apparently doesn't know the name of said advance, nor how to create a link properly.

But my absolute favorite part of the site is the job opportunities. WJMA is looking for an operations manager and program director. The duties include the following:
"Responsible for Supervising all on-air, news, engineering and production staff. Overseas programming on all four PCI stations, and manages facilities and studios."
At first, I thought Piedmont Communications was looking for someone to manage the content they were receiving from Europe. But I soon realized that they had just misspelled "oversees."

'Nuff said.

- Ralph

(And for those under a certain age who are puzzled by the title reference, Ted Mack was a celebrated radio and TV host of an amateur talent show).

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