September 27, 2010

PRPD News for Programmers

I spent last weekend up to my ears in public radio, and happily so. I was invited to moderate a panel on social media strategy  at the Public Radio Directors Association (PRPD) conference in Denver.
While NPR is certainly an obvious first thought when you think of public radio, there are so many stations out there doing supremely cool stuff. This conference was full of people creating inventive and thoughtful programming to offer to public radio stations for their programming.

So full of cool stuff I had to cut this post into two parts to get it all in and not make it insanely long.

Today’s post is about the panel itself, and tomorrow I’ll share some of the very cool program directors I met and give you some links to explore.

The panel was about creating a social media strategy. The slides are on Slideshare as well as a the end of this post. The whole event was  live-tweeted as well, and here’s the stream for #PRPD. I presented with Hawk Mendenhall of KUT Austin, Tx and Steve Yasko of WTMD in  Towson Maryland, both experienced veterans of the public radio biz and although they have very different social media strategies it’s a big part of their online outreach.

Both stations are active on Facebook, which seemed to be much more popular than Twitter with most of the stations I talked to at PRPD. When I asked why, the universal answer was low barrier to entry and to keep up a presence. Most felt that their listeners were on Facebook more than other platforms.

KUT uses a lot of different social media tools. They’ve used  Gowalla and HelpAttack! to track volunteers, they’re working with  Gowalla to map historical Austin  and support the booming real-time social trivia game QRANK on the air with clues to Texas music and current events questions.

One of the innovative ideas from WTMD was the Baltimore Band Block Party. The station supplied pledge pages for  bands entered and social media tools to connect with their fans. The band who sold the most tickets and raised the most money for the station won an amazing guitar and played at the block party. WTMD raised over $10,000 through this campaign and a good following of fans to boot.

As always, some of the most interesting conversations came from the Q&A session where we really got a chance to find out what people were there to learn and hear about what they were doing.

I had a long talk with the folks from Jefferson Public Radio in Ashland Oregon. They interact with users through Facebook, Twitter and an iPod app which has the distinction of a large number of downloads from Romania. It seems an intern had the JPR iPhone app on a trip to Romania and played the station for her friends. The next thing they knew they had a big fan base of loyal listeners from the other side of the world. You can listen live to the station in their web site too of course.

One of the ways they integrate social media into their programming is to offer quick ticket giveaways and special offers on their Facebook page. When a band comes in to play at the station they can offer tickets or personally autographed CD’s in real-time and reward loyal Facebook fans. They also ask users to post questions for the band on Facebook and ask them on air.

Here are the slides from the panel for your reference:

and also the video “Shirtless Dancing Guy from my presentation, which I really do think demonstrates the goal of a good social media campaign. Empowering your following to invite their friends to participate and share will create a deeper engagement than dancing all by yourself…

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