Caught wind last week of a fairly interesting announcement that made me take pause and wonder if traditional media, in this case, radio, is starting to come around to the whole social thing. My buddy Jessica Northey has joined the nationally syndicated “Tony and Kris In The Morning” radio show as online correspondent. She will create something they’re calling a “Digital Daypart” for the show. It was officially announced today.

To spell it out a bit more clearly: A nationally syndicated radio show has hired a blogger/Twitter personality to be their online extension, giving the morning show a virtual presence beyond that of manufactured Twitter feeds and news release link drop accounts many traditional media are guilty of.

Jessica NortheyIt’s inaccurate to call Northey a community manager, thought that’s certainly part of her role here. She writes a social media column for AllAccess.com, the world’s largest country music and radio online community, as well as for several other country music publications. She started Country Music Chat (#CMChat) on Twitter and is an experienced online radio personality as well as social media strategist and founder of Finger Candy Media. Her use of social media to build an audience around her own writing and work for country music radio stations is pretty impressive. She’s amassed over 140,000 Twitter followers and an audience for her blog and writings that gives her a reach of about 4 million people.

The Tony & Kris Show started in 1991 in Gadsden, Ala. Country music fans in San Diego know them from their 10 years on the air there. They went nationwide in 2008. They have an active Facebook and Twitter presence and both hosts blog on their website. But Northey will amp up a social presence. She told me the website will be re-tooled to focus on the fans. Talent Revolution’s Brandon Hill (@SpeakToTheGeek) will partner with the show and Northey to bring tech tips and tutorials to the site. Northey will provide content around country stars and hopefuls, as well as social media notables the show’s audience may find helpful as they learn new communications channels.

While I’m not sure if country music fans are necessarily clamoring for technology tips, the fact that Northey and Hill are driving the content there makes me excited they’ll be exposed to it.

My guess is this may start a trend, or at least cause other radio shows to consider a similar move. Having an online extension of your brand, and something of a celebrity as that extension, is a smart play for the program. Northey is known enough and skilled enough to manage the online content and community, but also an experienced talent in the country music radio world as well. There aren’t a lot of people in the world with her experience, so she is unique. But you could begin to see other radio and even television programs looking for that online edge ready and willing to pony up for talent … social media talent.

And that could be both good and interesting for our little world.

What do you think? Is the next wave of talent acquisition in the social space going to be in the traditional hiring the non-traditional realm or are Northey’s unique talents enough to make this an anomaly?

The comments, as always, are yours.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.hanelly.com hanelly

    I’ve always thought of radio as the original social media: taking calls from listeners, having in-person events, having a conversational approach, etc. so it’s no surprise that they’re formalizing it a bit more.

    A lot of the morning shows in DC regularly use text messages from listeners as show content, have their personalities chime in via their own Twitter accounts and on the Facebook page of the show and have blogs which supplement the on-air content and forums for listeners to continue the on-air conversation.

    Radio is near and dear to my heart, it’s a warm medium and it’s all about community. It depends on interacting with the community to survive and thrive.

    You’ve highlighted another great example of this happening.

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      Thanks andrew! U an excited to be part of the future… can’t wait to see what happens! :)

      • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

        I think I meant to write yes I am excited LOL 

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      Thanks andrew! U an excited to be part of the future… can’t wait to see what happens! :)

  • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

    wow Jason…as always I am humbled by your words! I am such a big fan of yours and continually count my blessings that you are my friend and are in my life.
    I appreciate your comments and am excited for the future.AllAccess is all Music genres and radio formats :) 
    Wish you were here tonight to celebrate!
    jNo xoxo

  • Sandra

    Are you kidding? Radio started the whole social media thing the minute the began taking in caller request for songs. That’s how ratings began. Talk radio was one of the first forms of interactive media.

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      and were bringing it back ;)

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      and were bringing it back ;)

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      and were bringing it back ;)

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      and were bringing it back ;)

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      and were bringing it back ;)

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      and were bringing it back ;)

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      and were bringing it back ;)

  • http://www.thewayoftheweb.net Dan Thornton

    You might want to check out the UK’s Absolute Radio as well for their use of social media and digital initiatives (Disclosure – I used to work there, running some of them…)

  • http://twitter.com/ExcelAssist Excel Assist

    I agree with the fact that the virtual still must be rooted in the ‘brick ‘n mortar.’ Also, as you alluded to, bringing a more personal feel to tweets and the social media scene. Followers want to sit down and converse over topics, not merely be pointed to them. The social media explosion has occurred, but like with anything, unless it becomes rooted in relationship and subscribers are treated as respectable human beings, it will lose its luster.

  • Anonymous

    Love Jess, and I have a feeling she is going to do big things with this. I’m a huge country girl and if Reba can sing lyrics, “Try to call, Twitter me, text until your fingers bleed….” I believe this could really be the start of something great!

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      thank you Sarah! I am very excited about this job! Lots of work to do but lots of fun to be had as well! xo

  • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

    Radio is definitely becoming more social.  I don’t listen to it often, but when I do, I always hear the DJs asking people for their feedback on Twitter or the station’s fan page.  Some station DJs even have blogs of their own, and when they are doing news updates, they’ll tell listeners to check out the blog for supplementary photos and videos related to the story.  It’s a great way to get listeners engaged with their favorite station even when they can’t listen in.

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual Business Assistant

     I would agree with what Kristi has said here. Most of the channels have accounts in social media sites and they conduct completions or give away some free coupons and they want the people to connect with them.

  • http://twitter.com/dmadsen Dave Madsen

    I agree with the other commenters that radio was the original social media…connecting with people directly in a way that hadn’t been done before. And as long as the LOCAL stations keep up the good work, it will continue to be a strong medium. Jason asked if the next wave of hires will be legacy media hiring social media folks. Many of the smaller stations, both TV and radio, won’t be able to afford to do that…instead relying on existing staff to add one more thing to their already too-full plate. Sometimes that works…other times it’s a stretch.

    In this situation, hiring a social media person to work on a nationally syndicated show, I can see it helping the show have a more “local” feel to it…good luck!

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      Thank you Dave! I am very excited. It should be interesting, exciting and exhilarating. Just spent a week in Nashville getting to the guys better. It’s very interesting merging a morning show that has been together for over 20 years with a new technology and a new way to bring the conversation to people outside their radio.

      I am looking forward to the challenge! stay tuned….

  • http://www.visibletechnologies.com Jackie Kmetz

    Great observation and I agree with others that radio was the first media to incorporate a social aspect.  I worked in radio in the mid 90′s in Seattle and remember how exciting it was when our stations started getting their own websites–it was so cutting edge!  

    Now we regularly see stations streaming video of their broadcast (so much for the no hair and makeup profession), promoting live Twitter contests, blogs and vlogs based on show content, etc.  SiriusXM’s Morning Mashup has been doing it for awhile and I think they do a good job of pulling people back and forth across the digital divide during their broadcasts.  I think there’s a ton of opportunity in the space as people love having more ways to connect to that voice they spend so much time with in the car.

    As far as the talent, I think there will always be the few traditionals who have a knack for the online social element but for the next few years we’ll see more non-traditional specialists pulled in to get the job done, for the bigger shops.  Otherwise like Dave points out, the reality is it’ll get put on an already full plate by someone who will do what they can with it.  Have a blast blazing the trail Jessica!

    • http://fredcatona.com Fred Catona

      Agreed! While radio has been seen as a more ‘traditional’ media, it has grown and expanded by leaps and bounds. You’re right, now stations (like most companies) are getting more involved with social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Etc. but it never loses it’s appeal. People always want to connect with the voices of the early morning radio show that they listen to daily during their commute.

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      Thanks Jackie! I am so excited just trying to fit in to what Tony and Kris spent the last 20 years doing and merge the Social Media world with the Terrestrial Radio world.

      Should be fun! They are really neat guys and very fast learners! :)

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    Just like the other parts of the business and media world, yea, radio is integrating. A couple of stations here in the Lehigh Valley area bit slow to adopt SM (partially because their brains are conditioned to resist new things, like all humans), and also because they of ALL people live in the “shout” instead of “pull” world. 

    Jessica, this is soooooo cool. We’ll all “stay tuned!” 

    • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

      Thank you Ryan! I am very excited! it should be really interesting!

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  • Emily

    Great post. I agree with the other comments that radio has a very social and personal feel to it. Twitter is a great tool to have an open communication as well. I’ve seen live red carpet shows lately, asking questions to viewers and reading the responses live on air. It’s a great way to communicate with the people who are most important (the listeners/viewers) to provide them valuable content that they actually WANT to hear. As marketers, of course, providing valuable and well-sought content is the ultimate goal. 

    We also compiled a list of things NOT to do on Twitter, for any social media newbies out there – http://www.grmwebsite.com/blog/bid/50771/Tweets-for-Twits-How-to-NOT-use-Twitter Hope you enjoy! 

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    Meet international people for local event on http://www.youtube.com/weclic?106081

  • http://www.FaceForwardMedia.com SEM Services

    I’ve heard of this before, I think they may do this a bit in the UK & with Satellite Radio.

  • http://buyrealfacebookfans.com Gracearreza2007

    Everyone is becoming social now… it’s getting on all our nerves…

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  • http://www.affilorama.com/ Kyle Kam

    Even radio has the right to become social. Let’s just accept the fact that everything around us is becoming socia and just use it for good and never take advatage of it. We just can’t stop what the world has to offer for us now.