Radio’s Digital Wake-Up Call


(By Randi West) Is radio ready for a digital wakeup call? You should be, especially when it comes to how listeners consume content today. We MUST be where our audiences are. There are over 7.2 billion smartphones worldwide, up from 6.95 billion in 2020.

Let’s break “digital” into three buckets: Podcasting, Video, and Social.

I don’t know about you, but I get a nifty alert about how much screen time I give my phone in a week. The stats are staggering. Using myself as an example, I had 51 hours of screen time in a week. The breakdown is 30 hours spent on social media and 11 hours spent on Entertainment, as defined by Apple. The rest is “other” (financial apps, fitness, or just other).

According to Nielson, time spent listening to terrestrial radio is short. If executed properly, the digital age is a gift to radio. I would argue that nothing is more important for radio than digital execution and strategy.

Extend your audience beyond the car. Content is now consumed everywhere and anytime. If your show is available on multiple platforms, you make valuable impressions even when not live on the air.

Hopefully, with effective digital use, you invite your audience to your social content in engaging or funny ways or create that FOMO appointment during your show, creating the loyalty we all seek.


Having an on-demand “podcast” version of your show or original content makes it easy for consumers to listen and engage 24/7. Hey, getting the listening credit within 24 hours in the radio metrics doesn’t suck either.

Podcasting is now being defined as “audio with video.”  YouTube is the number #1 discovery platform for podcasts. If you are not utilizing video, you miss out on a vital connection to your audience.


Hosting your video production can be inexpensive. Streaming your show live on YouTube is a free platform that connects you directly with your audiences, creating a “community.” All of this is 100% FREE marketing for your show and brand.


Social media creates awareness. How can you expect your organization to invest in your show if you’re not maximizing free marketing through your social channels?

Social media is a great place to create unique content beyond your regular show. Audiences love that behind-the-scenes look, and they get the authenticity they crave. If you are a show or brand not executing these items with proper teases, links, and entertainment value, you are missing opportunities, ratings, and a direct connection to your fans.

So here is your wake-up call: digital is the future.

Now, back to your regular scheduled scrolling.

Randi West has programmed major radio stations for iHeart and Hubbard in Tampa, Raleigh, and West Palm Beach. She stresses the urgency of being where your audience spends most of their time, online. Connect with Randi at her website.


  1. It comes down to quality of content. A Morning Show who just does contests and talks about how awesome a concert was, is not capable of creating FOMO. Too many shows just reading the prep and laughing when they think they need to. Comedy and humor is so badly represented on radio today…. these people aren’t funny and should probably turn to being interesting, or clever rather than looking to get laughs…


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