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(SOCIAL) Who Owns Your Morning Shows Social?


In early March I read an article about the social media battle many musicians are fighting with their record labels over who owns the artists social media accounts. I thought, I hope radio never gets to this point.

Soon after I pondered that article, three high-profile morning show hosts contacted me. They are fighting the artist/record label battle with the companies they work for. After creating the accounts on their own, and after years of building their own relationships with listeners independent of station time and resources, stations have begun taking ownership of these talents accounts by requiring that they meet certain guidelines.

Air talent should always support the station online by driving traffic to the website, and upholding the stations brand essence in their own presence and interactions online. It is in their best interest that the station succeeds, both on-air and online.

However, the recent corporate requirements for morning shows are counterproductive. There is a disconnect between what management really wants and what they are going to get with these mandatory guidelines.

Social media is about personal relationships, between two people, between a person and a brand or business, between a morning show and a listener. These relationships, like any relationship in the real world, are based on trust. Listeners trust that the morning show is going to provide content relevant to the show and in line with the on-air brand. They trust that liking the Facebook page or following the shows Twitter account wont get them spammed.

One of the requirements recently placed on morning personalities is upsetting this balance of trust. Stations are asking their morning shows to include a link to the station website in every Facebook post or tweet. Posting irrelevant links that lead listeners on a goose chase for content that doesnt exist doesnt build a good rapport with them. It can also be counterproductive in that listeners may not click through to the links that do matter after too many times clicking through for nothing.

For example, if a morning show uses social media to develop personal relationships with listeners, the host may share things that happen outside the show or station. A picture of their child doing something funny, a picture with friends on the weekend, a video of their dog at the dog park. It doesnt make sense to include a link to the station website in a mobile upload of a personal picture. Yet this is what stations are requiring.

Another unreasonable stipulation is that no link may be posted or tweeted that isnt a station website link. While morning shows should always strive to provide links to the content hosted on the station website, the content may not always be available there. Does that mean its not of interest to listeners? Should a morning show not post or tweet the news of something like Whitney Houstons death because its over the weekend when webmasters are off work (and the news is too recent to be posted on the station website, anyway)?

Management is smart to take advantage of the relationship between a successful morning show and its listeners. So hold them accountable for a certain number of posts/tweets per week that contain links to the station website. Hold them accountable for a reasonable standard of website traffic. Ask them to include the streaming link when they use social media to ask for opinions on phone topics.

Just dont create guidelines that violate the nature of social media. That doesnt increase Web traffic or ratings. It turns a P1 into a casual listener by damaging the trust relationship between air talent and listeners.

Stephanie Winans is Social Media Specialist and Content Curator for the Randy Lane
Company and Stephanie Winans Digital. E-mail:

(10/16/2012 7:11:23 PM)
If your Morning show is easy to manage you probably don't have Show the GM the chat rooms about her/him that already exist. The idea of building a brand and identity are the most important part of a station (besides , play the hits) and some stations have taken an opposite tactic and encouraged interaction, punked videos etc. A website is by nature a brand extension and should be a shared management goal. As is creativity it starts at the top. All press is good press!

- dave presher
(10/16/2012 2:04:18 PM)
First, it was Carolyn Beasley!

- Another MILF!

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