Is Radio Becoming Social?

by Jason Falls |

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 the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls 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 Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).