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What Was Thinking Behind the Clear Channel Gaga Promotion?

February 15, 2011

Clear Channel just pulled off a major national promotion using Facebook, Lady Gaga and many of it's Radio stations across the country. We wanted to know who came up with the idea and how it was executed. So, we asked Clear Channel Senior Vice President of Programming Tom Poleman to lay it out all for us....and you.

Poleman told us it was a team concept. An effort put together by Clear Channel programmers, most of whom have been experimenting with fan-gated Facebook contesting for a while. "We've all said that our listeners live on Facebook and so should we. We'd been looking for a way to expand, on a national scale, what we've learned from individual market Facebook contests. And everyone agreed that  Lady Gaga's new project was the perfect focal point".

What's the advantage of Facebook over using the telephones, other than the obvious, the jocks don't have to answer the telephone 98 times waiting for the 99th caller. I always wondered if jocks actually took 98 calls before the 99th caller of if they took the phone off the hook for one full song. But I digress.

Poleman says the number of Facebook contest entries were about the same as you'd expect from a typical weekend contest done via the request line.  "Listeners told us they liked the instant access to not only enter, but to also see exclusive behind the scenes videos of Lady Gaga. It's a richer experience.  Turns out that the idea of unplugging the request line for a weekend was only strange to those of us in radio. Listeners are accustomed to communicating thru facebook all the time.

The big question is how do you, how do we, how does everybody turn a great promotion into bling in the bank. Perhaps an unfair question to ask the Vice President of Programming and not the Vice President of sales. "For now, Poleman says, we're focused on the deeper interaction with our listeners. We want to tighten our bond. That's job one. Revenue ultimately follows the strongest brands".

The Lady Gaga success story is just the beginning of Social Media promotions according to Poleman. "Facebook's not going away, and neither is radio. Radio was the original medium that connected communities. Used together, we create the ultimate social experience on-air and on-line. This is the tip of the iceberg of where Clear Channel is going with radio and Facebook.

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