Q It Up: What responsibilities, if any, do you as a production person have with regards to your stations’ websites? Do you have a full-time or part-time website person on staff that maintains the sites? Who designed your websites? Please give us any other thoughts you might have about how station websites have affected your production department.
Donnie Marion [dmarion[at]104krbe .com], 104 KRBE, Houston, TX: We have a full-time webmaster for the website and a full-time art director who not only designs our magazine each month but consults on how the website looks. I have no responsibility for this at all. However, I did invent the Internet, so I guess they should thank me for their jobs.
Carlos Montoya [agmaprod[at]live radio.com], KYLZ, Albuquerque, NM: We have a full-time guy who designed and maintains the websites for all the stations in our group. He used to be our overnight guy on Wild 106, and he did the websites during his airshift. But he was just recently moved to full-time website guy. We have a flash intro on the Wild 106 website with a little audio bit that I produced. The flash animation was then modeled after the audio. Also, when we have a big promotion going on, we embed the promo on the main page. That’s about the only connection I have with the website (other than my staff profile). Feel free to check it out at wild106.net.
Terry “tunes” Miller [terry[at]mail. kscb.net], Seward County Broadcasting Company, Inc.: I wear many hats at Seward County Broadcasting Company, Inc.’s three station small market operation. One of those is that of webmaster. I designed the stations site earlier this year and maintain it on a daily basis! That, of course, includes keeping on-line sound bites fresh, updating the news audio, and keeping a tally of the totals on our on-line topic of the week.
Our web presence is a great way to give listeners a visual representation of what we are all about. We even give them a chance to become involved on a more personal level with our “E-Hive” e-mail club. I have also enlisted the services of “StarSplash” to provide extra image building features for the site. I don’t have to hassle with bios, concerts, contests, music news and interviews. They do most of that, and it keeps the site looking fresh and keeps them coming back for more.
The only affect our web site has had on my production department is that it gives us a chance to spread the word of radio in another form. They do work very well together for promotions and station visibility.
Craig Jackman [craigj[at]canada.com], Rogers Media Ottawa, Canada: The only part Production has with our website presence is to do the promos for our website-only contests. A couple of years back when we were setting up our sites, we hired a young guy who was a big fan of one of the stations. He set up the site for our alternative station and did such a good job that he went on and did sites for our classic rock and oldies stations. Since then, corporate has taken over all 5 of our stations websites, but our local guy still has lots of input on them, and he is instrumental in assisting Sales in generating “non-traditional revenue” from our websites.
The only impact station websites have on Production is that the associated FTP sites make file transfers easier if we are talking about large files. Even the website-only promos are not much more than drops in the bucket. Station web sites have much more to do with Promotions and Programming rather than Production.
Johnny George [jg[at]johnnygeorge .com], Susquehanna Indianapolis, IN: We are very fortunate to have a full-time person that has designed and maintains all of our stations’ web sites. Specific forms are filled out by programming and/or promotions for new updated material to be inputted. We additionally have a full-time in-house graphic artist who not only does all of our promotional graphic needs for sales, promotions and programming, but also assists with graphic needs for our sites through our webmaster. Daily audio bits from our various morning shows, promotional pictures from events and client designs and layouts are also developed for other non-traditional revenue areas of our web sites on a regular basis. I don’t know how a station could function without the support of a full-time person if you need to maintain highly promotional stations like we do and be successful.
Chris M. Potter [Chris.M.Potter[at]abc. com], ABC Radio Networks: Along with being the Creative Director for our Country Coast-to-Coast 24-hour format, I’m also the Webmaster for Country Coast-to-Coast (BestCountryAround .com) and our other country format, Real Country (RealCountryOnline.com). Both websites are hosted and maintained by FirstMediaWorks, but I’m the guy who puts in all the stories, content, contests, etc. I’m also the guy who handles all the emails that come in from both sites’ viewers.
I do get help on content from both formats’ PDs and a few jocks, but the bulk of the information is managed by me. And I also coordinate all the prize giveaways for both formats as well. On top of that, since both formats are networks, I have to train and assist all of the affiliates in how to use both sites. Most of our other formats have two webmasters running the sites: one to handle the information input, and one to handle the affiliates. I’m the only “one-man band” here, and the only one to handle two different formats at the same time. In this age of having one person handle several different duties, it makes for longer days for me outside of the production room.
Of course, I’d rather be in the production room working up more promos and imagers, but someone has to cover all the bases without costing the network yet another paycheck. In many cases, I have to make day-to-day judgment calls on which job needs the most attention. And thankfully, my directors understand that, to a point.
The websites are not seen as “non-traditional income sources” for our stations, as they are used more to help keep the affiliates we have, and to bring more into the fold. But it does get weird. Sitting at my computer, I have to toggle between being the creative writer and the technical webmaster hour by hour, and it does make for interesting headaches. I suppose that if we all had more time to cultivate our creative selves, we’d all be cranking out more “killer prod.” But time and money just won’t allow that anymore.
Ron Harper [ronharper[at]fuse.net], WYGY, Cincinnati, OH: I was compressing the morning show bits to MP3 and maintaining a page for that, but we have since moved to new studios, and a new owner, and they have IT folks for all of that.
Jim Robesky [jrobesky[at]bickbroad casting.com]: At our group we have one young ambitious guy who loves to work on the website. It’s updated constantly and looks great. He loves to go home after work (morning show guy) and work on it. Some day he will learn.
Don Elliot [voiceovers[at]earthlink.net]: Aside from the shifting legal topics revolving around music use (my wife is a Copyright and Intellectual Property attorney), the only thing at this point in time has been the negotiations with AFTRA on usage of staff voices on the web. (Proposing to extending rights of the company to utilize staff voices in what is traditionally the jurisdiction of the free-lance codes.)