Saturday, November 22, 2014

Radio Syndication and Digital Media - 2015 Road Map

Radio Syndication and Digital Media 
The 2015 Road Map

There certainly have been a lot of changes in the radio syndication industry over the past twelve months. A few major programming distributors have changed hands, new ones have emerged, and some have left the industry all together. It is time to unfold the road map for independent syndication, take a look at the lay of the land for next year, and determine where the smooth pavement may lie versus potential rocky roads.

Network Radio and Corporate O&O's. Radio networks owned by the major broadcasting companies are more integrated within local programming decisions than ever before. These networks have become the in-house production arms for their companies and are charged with the task of producing content that can be leveraged across multiple markets. The initiative reduces local talent costs and creates a nationwide network that can be sold to advertisers. As the advertising revenue generated by these company owned programs can be very lucrative, many stations have lost the autonomy to choose syndicated programming outside of the corporate menu. The preference to "eat your own cooking" is a solid one for these companies, but the initiative does not leave a lot of seats at the table for outsiders.  A rocky road for independently syndicated programs.

Audio On-demand. We will combine Internet radio and digitally delivered app radio in this category. The medium will continue to grow in size, both in terms of audience and available programming. Stand alone host websites, Internet radio, and smart phone apps are inexpensive delivery platforms for programs looking to expand their national reach. Savvy program producers will take the necessary steps to ensure their shows stand out in the crowd and do not get lost in the plethora of brands racing to be in this space. Smooth pavement with a caution sign for independently syndicated programs.

Podcasting. The medium is coming of age and will continue to do so in 2015. No longer just a bedroom personal computer production, many of today's podcast's boast some of the biggest names in our industry. These programs will become trail blazers for the industry and create a path for others to follow. The past year has seen the emergence of well funded podcast curators and a number of terrestrial radio hosts have left their transmitter signals in favor of podcasting. We have also seen migration traveling the other way with terrestrial radio picking up well performing podcasts for their on-air line-up. With the adoption of podcasting well under way among users of digital smart devices and greater availability coming from the connected in-car dash, the opportunities for digitally delivered programming will continue to grow. Smooth pavement for independently syndicated programs.

Small Group and Independent Radio Owners. Without an in-house corporately provided syndication arm, these stations will continue to have a need for cost effective quality programming. Employing a smaller staff than most, they often rely on third party producers for content the station does not have the expertise, knowledge, or ability to create. Syndicated radio programming is a viable option for these stations. The good news for syndicated hosts is that many of these radio stations are willing to take chances on newer less developed programs and can make decisions autonomously without having to get their fingers dirty with red tape. Smooth pavement for independently syndicated programs.

The road you embark upon will depend on the overall appeal of your program's content. Syndicated shows catering to a niche audience may select one over another while mass appeal programs could venture down more than one. One thing is sure, the industry's syndication road map for 2015 will be very different than the one last one you dusted off from the glove box. Choose the appropriate path for your show and enjoy the ride!  

RadioLinx Broadcast Marketing
November 22, 2014

About RadioLinx. RadioLinx Broadcast Marketing was founded in 1997 and specializes in independent radio syndication representation. With more than 25 years of industry experience on the broadcast and syndication sides of the industry, RadioLinx has successfully helped newly launched programs and veteran shows alike to establish and grow their station affiliate rosters. Over the years, RadioLinx has helped new start-up programs gain early acceptance in markets such as Seattle, Monterey, Portland, Tulsa, Albuquerque, and others. Conversely, RadioLinx has placed mature programming brands with key radio stations in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Francisco, and more. In early 2014, RadioLinx introduced Iglu Radio, an audio on-demand app created for local terrestrial radio show hosts, podcasters, and Internet radio programs. Iglu Radio features a wide variety of audio content covering the environment, self-help, entertainment, business, arts, and more. To date, RadioLinx Broadcast Marketing has secured hundreds of station affiliates for its syndication clients in all regions of the United States. The Iglu Radio app has been downloaded in more than 25 nations and continues to grow in size and distribution.