Wednesday, April 04, 2012

WTJU and the Offline Pushback

I've been excited about a lot of the changes that have happened at WTJU-FM -- particularly in the realm of social media. I've been actively and aggressively promoting our efforts on the air.

This past week some of our loyal listeners let me know that I'd finally gone too far.

I don't just talk about our online presence -- I contribute to it. I'm one of the few DJ's to tweet live from the studio, and I help administrate our Facebook page. I also edit and write for the WTJU Classical Comments blog. I do all this because I see one of the ways for our station with all of its niche programming to grow is not to solely depend on the Charlottesville radio  market, but to expand online. I think potentially we could have double to triple the amount of listeners outside our broadcast coverage area than we do within.

And one of the ways I see to increase those numbers is to make sure we talk about our online offerings on the radio. Mostly I just do it with a simple tie-in:

This is 91.1fm, WTJU -- the sound choice in central Virginia. Remember you can always listen to us online at

But I try to do a longer promo once an hour talking about the benefits of our website. Things like:

1) The searchable playlist, updated live
2) Links to our Facebook page and Twitter feed
3) Links to our blogs and podcasts
4) Our program schedule
5) Station news
6) Our virtual tape vault, where you can hear anything from the past two weeks on demand

A catchphrase for these longer promos has been "In my opinion, if you're only listening to us over the air, you're only getting half the WTJU experience."

Two listeners in two successive weeks have called to say enough, already. The first one wanted to know why I kept talking about computers. I never mentioned the word computers. But what about all that stuff you say I have to load on my computer? It's a website -- you don't load anything; in fact, you don't even need a computer. You can use a smartphone or a tablet. Oh, that's different.

The second resented my continually talking about the Internet. They didn't live their lives online and they were tired of hearing about it. Just shut up and keep playing the beautiful music (hmmm, guess they tuned in after the Saariaho work). They weren't listening on a computer, so quit talking about computers.

They weren't interested in any discussion on the subject either. The end.

What I didn't get a chance to mention to either of my decidedly old-school listeners was that there was a decidedly sharp spike in traffic every Wednesday morning, which is when I'm on the air. So while the perception of my callers is that these announcements are a waste of airtime, the actual data plainly says otherwise.. (click on image to enlarge)

The traffic stats for the WTJU Classical Comments blog.
Pretty easy to spot the Wednesdays.

And as long as those spikes appear, I'll keep banging on about our online services. Ideally, if other DJs consistently got the word out those spikes wouldn't be there -- our traffic would be up across the board.

But don't think I'm blowing off my complaining callers. I'll tighten up the "enhanced" versions of the website promos and make them shorter. But leave online promotion only to the online audience?

No way. It's not online vs. offline. It's all WTJU and it's all programming. And that's the way I see it.

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