(By Julie Chadwick) I recently visited a very busy bookstore chain (which ironically was supposed to be obsolete by 2019) and was pleasantly surprised to see a whole area of the store dedicated to vinyl records and portable record players. I quickly took my 16-year-old daughter over there and showed her why vinyl was so fun – the artwork! The inside scoop! The B-sides! All of those hidden gems the jacket of the record provides that aren’t translatable digitally.
My daughter loved it!
For the consumer, the attraction to vinyl lies in the story telling found on the album jacket. You discover stories about the music; you’ll be able to see which song inspires the album cover artwork, see various photos of the band, as well as other narratives that make it personal.
Radio can be personal too. It’s our ability to interact with our listeners. We have the ability to insert ourselves into our audience’s daily lives. We provide entertainment and inspiration to them through our live morning shows, our text line music requests, our promotional giveaways and more.
As the digital director at Sheridan Media, I have no illusions about the trajectory of listening device options. Our radio stations need to be streamed, and we need to be on apps where we can be downloaded, where we are readily available on phones and computers. And yet….we DO sell radios.
At Sheridan Media we successfully sell radios through our online auction platform and have done so for at least 3 years. We’ve sold over 60 Sangean Radios we purchase from our Sangean supplier. We could have sold more, but we haven’t made keeping them in-stock a priority, so months go by before we have them in-stock again. We’ve also given countless radios away – along with more than a few Echo Dots.
Radio has evolved. The radios we sell on our auction platform aren’t “just” radios. They’re like the Swiss Army Knife of radios: they have solar charging capabilities AND a hand crank, essentially making batteries optional.
The radio also comes equipped with a small flashlight, flare lights, and a phone charger. For outdoor enthusiasts such as campers, hikers, bikers and hunters this provides additional value. Weather changes quickly, and it’s important to know that you can tune in to your radio to get up to date weather, from local sources, especially if you’re in the wilderness.
We also make sure the potential purchaser knows they can still be entertained while they’re camping, fishing, and hiking by our outstanding local morning show hosts and stay informed about local sports and promotions we’re currently running. We also talk about our local podcasts (see the common denominator here?).
As an employee-owned radio group we know we have to be more than a radio station cluster. We have to be flexible in our vision and continue to find platforms to find new listeners. But who knows…maybe one day I’ll visit another big book store chain and be pleasantly surprised by an area of the store dedicated entirely to boom boxes and portable radios.
Julie Chadwick is Digital Marketing Director of Sheridan Media in Sheridan, Wyoming. The company operates 10 Radio Stations, Two Websites, A Print Publication and a complete Digital Division. Contact: [email protected]