Only three responses to this month’s Q It Up question, which is probably a good thing. Production for web streams doesn’t appear to be a large issue at this time, but there are hints this won’t be the case forever.
Q It Up: How have your stations’ online streams impacted your Production Department? Are you now producing “stream only” ads and promos? What about special IDs to run during the stream stop-sets? Has there been enough production to warrant increasing your staff? Please offer any other related thoughts on the subject of your stations’ streams. If you’re an independent producer or voiceover talent, how have radio station streams affected your business?
Brian Whitaker [BWhitaker[at]des moinesradiogroup.com], KSTZ/KAZR, Des Moines, Iowa: Streaming ads have had a minimal impact so far (knocking on wood as we speak). I know that is going to change this year. (Sales is out selling it right now). The stats for streaming on our stations are incredible; they’ve doubled or tripled since we got them up and running.
My biggest fear is that the hard working production (and traffic) people already producing for 5-6 radio stations will now have this added to their plate. Honestly, I am swamped all day trying to keep our imaging and commercials fresh on our terrestrial signals, so it’s hard at the end of a 9-10 hour day to sit down and then make a web stream run flawless. So I’m working on getting other people on board to help manage the web stream. (Get that jock that works 5 hours a day to help.)
My hope is that this is something that will actually be sold and money will be made off of it, not just a “bonus” slapped onto another station’s buy. It’s a great way for advertisers that can’t afford the higher rates on the FM, to still get their name out there.
Vaughan Jones [scproduction[at] primeradio.com.au]: I am in the tricky position of being responsible for the imagery of ten separate stations (8 of them are recent acquisitions), all of whom will soon form a network. 10 breakfast shows, 10 music formats, 10 separate major promotional tactics, numerous PDs and General Managers and a monstrous list of Account Managers.
Our stations are geographically thousands of kilometers apart, and at present none them stream on line apart from the one I work in. I have not yet set foot in any of the markets, and I have never heard their product on air. So I am literally producing blind, and holding my breath until the network arrives! Thankfully, all the other stations are very happy with the product they are getting from us and are very easy to deal with. What minor web streaming we do from here at HQ requires very little assistance from production, but we have put on extra IT staff to manage the ballooning number of websites and web traffic.
Meanwhile, the building I work in is being totally ripped apart for major renovations in line with the network roll out. Many broadcast staff have been moved to another floor. Just to keep things interesting, another large building is being constructed on the adjoining block, directly outside my studio’s double glazed window. For 3 weeks they have been ramming poles into bedrock that shakes the ground with each strike so hard, my studio shakes violently enough to disrupt power to monitors!
It’s busy, it’s challenging and it’s a wild, wild ride. Actually I enjoy it more than ever.
Craig Jackman [craigj[at]canada.com], Rogers Media, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Impact has been close to nothing. We’ve done a couple of web-only promos, but really very few and only for specific stations. We’ve done a couple of web-only spots, but typically they’re for audio gateways. Again, in reality very few, and no need to even think about expanding staff. This must be more of a US thing, as whatever we send to the transmitter also gets sent to the web stream.
And one follow-up to last month’s question regarding online production libraries:
Bill Downs III [billdowns[at]clear channel.com] Clear Channel Radio, Little Rock, Arkansas: I just wanted to update a couple of things regarding my response to May’s Q It Up question about online music libraries:
As I mentioned in my response last month, I was a bit concerned about the speed of the Firstcom website, but noted that they were working on it at the time. Well, work’s done, and the site is noticeably faster! Logon times have been greatly reduced.
I also wondered if a batch download option could be added to the system. Well, as it turns out, there is such a thing, if you’ve got your Java turned on in the website settings. It’s not exactly what I had in mind (which involved a zip file of all edits that could be downloaded directly), but it does get the job done. Basically, you need to set your download method to Automatic Java, then create a new folder in the My Projects portion of the page. You can then drag and drop the files you need into that folder, where they’ll all download automatically.
OK, that’s all from me. Back to the studio -- I’m sure there’s something in there that starts tomorrow!