Think Quality, Your Brand, and Apple Digital Radio

Ready for some ideas on how to build your brand? Here’s this week’s Chris Miller Digital newsletter, featuring:


When it comes to your social media, the quality of what you post is more important than the quantity of what you post.

I didn’t always believe that, but I’m seeing evidence that what gets us hidden or un-followed is often that we end up not meeting the expectations of our followers. What people want mostly from brands they follow on social media is insider information; special deals and offers; and chance to be heard. Radio stations can also post deep, focused content about what happens on the air; for instance, if you mention in one sentence on the air that Nicki Minaj is supporting Mitt Romney, you can link to a full article on the subject from your website or social media.

It’s like the songs you play or the topics your talk shows bring up. You make sure you don’t play bad songs or talk about boring stuff. Similarly, you wouldn’t play Flo Rida on a country station. When you start thinking this way about the content on your website or what you post in social media, you start to make a change towards doing more brand-building with your digital tools.

Here’s your practical take-away: Look for opportunities to use your Facebook page to:

  • give more info or background on what you sketchily mentioned on the air;
  • give your biggest fans advance notice of special things you do; and
  • communicate one-on-one with your listeners who choose not to pick up the phone.


I know that some radio folks find it irritating when I use the phrase “radio brand” instead of “radio station.” Here’s what’s up with that.


A brand is a set of memories and expectations in your user’s mind. There are things you have done that give them a set of memories and how they feel about what you did. Those memories lead to expectations that it’ll happen again, which is why people keep coming back. What will “happen again” is generally one of two things (or both):

  • That you will do what they know you for. This might be playing refreshing lite rock or having an edgy morning show that always makes them laugh.
  • That they will feel something they want to feel. Entertained, informed, relaxed, energized, and so forth … if people don’t feel something, we’re doing it wrong.


I like “brand” instead of “station” when it comes to radio, because we have all these different platforms now that we can use to affect usage of all the other platforms! It’s important to not think of your website or social media or database emails as an extra irritant that’s part of your job.

I’ve run into radio folks who resist the digital changes over the last decade or so. Our industry has also been lobbying for a mandate that there be an FM chip in every phone. Regardless of the merits of working to keep people listening to our broadcasts, the audience is moving online. They now expect to be able to hear what you do on their phone or computer. Any good economist will tell you that you don’t want to stand in the way of market forces moving one direction or another. Instead, you want to be the ultimate martial arts expert: use the flow to digital to your benefit, rather than fighting against it.

What you do at an on-site appearance can certainly help or hinder your reputation. All the stuff you’re doing online can, as well. If you put great effort into having a great station on the air, why not also spend some time making sure your fans are getting a complimentary experience online?


The news hit last week that Apple is starting their own digital radio service, which will operate based on listeners’ taste in music, and also be supported by advertising. Almost everyone I know assumed this meant a head-to-head battle is coming between Pandora and Apple. I’m not so sure.

The phenomenon of people listening to music online is not new anymore. It’s an established practice. No matter whether you love or hate Pandora, they have a lot of people listening … even though they haven’t made a dime in profit yet. But does Apple’s entry into the field mean a fight of epic proportions between these two? Think about what Apple might want from the deal. Apple is so enormous compared to Pandora, they’re probably not interested in just having a streaming music service to try and take down Pandora. Apple is interested in more people using their platforms with a product that is completely integrated with their other products. Selling more iPhones and iPads means more to Apple than taking down Pandora.

I have no idea what Apple’s online radio will ultimately be like. Whatever it is, it will be an Apple product, meaning it’s an idea that’s a little bigger than life from the get-go. They will also make sure it’s the right thing for their consumers when it comes online. This is not about competing with broadcast radio or other online music services. It’s about enhancing the universe for Apple product users. It may be that it won’t be available on non-Apple platforms, like PCs or Android phones. Apple is ultimately a hardware company; they earn the bulk of their money from selling their things.


When you follow me on Facebook, I help make you even smarter and more self-reliant, by keeping you updated on digital developments that could affect your job. Also, when I write something, I brag about it there.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s