Recap & Takeaways from the 2019 Minnesota Broadcaster's Association

Stephanie Theisen
Last updated by Stephanie Theisen

Leighton Media's Kelli Frieler participated in a panel at the Minnesota Broadcaster's Association 2019 Annual Meeting. The panel, Diving Into Digital: How Broadcasters Can Be Successful in a Digital World, explored how broadcasters can leverage the digital space to produce the results they wish to see. The panel was moderated by Jeremiah Jacobson of Digital Video for KARE 11 and included speakers from KSTP-TV, KMSP-TV, and Digital Solutions. 

Diving Into digital

Kelli on panel

Frieler currently serves as the Executive Director of Digital at Leighton Media and put her expertise into practice during the panel to educate others on having success in the digital world.

She is also the liaison between Leighton Media & Leighton Engage, our digital marketing division that focuses on helping local businesses with online marketing efforts; including engagements for website development projects and targeted display ad campaigns.

Here are some of Kelli's points from the panel and her key takeaways.

Facing the facts

There are a ton of new facts relating to the digital space. Here are some of the ones that we feel are most compelling. These numbers are staggering! They highlight the need for broadcasters to understand how consumers engage with your content. 

  • 88% of Americans get some news on mobile, 84% get some
    news on desktop/laptop
  • 58% often get news on a mobile device
  • 34% prefer to get their news online
  • 37% prefer to get their local news online
  • 77% say the internet is an important resource in how they get local news
  • 82% say an easy-to-use website is important for local news source
  • 51% say regularly updated social media accounts from local media are important to them
  • 43% of Americans get news on Facebook

Connecting With Communities

One of the big takeaways from the event was the newfound ability to connect with your community using multiple avenues. New technologies are emerging on the horizon every year, and oftentimes every quarter. As a business, and especially as a broadcaster, you have a responsibility to learn how to utilize these tools to reach the members of your community. 

Frieler was adamant, however, that the separation between good and bad companies was content. As the old adage goes, "content is king." This is truer today more than ever before.

You can have every tool under the sun and have no interest in your products or company vision. You need to learn how to create content that is both engaging and enriching for your consumers before you even attempt to pick up a new method of communication. 

Digital disruption has been affecting the traditional broadcast industry for years now, but Frieler noted that it also presents some unique opportunities for connecting with your target audiences.

Multiple channels and distribution options are available to a broadcaster today, and building a local, enticing brand is the only way to break through. 

"At Leighton Media', our passion is to serve, connect, and celebrate our community—the people within it. Think about digital this way: when your radio station's listeners are in their break room without dial frequency access, we can still serve and connect them; we can touch them through mobile and apps. We can meet people where they are."

Today, broadcast radio reaches far beyond the footprint of their terrestrial signal. With websites and mobile apps, social media pages, and the online stream of their content, their reach is essentially worldwide.

This provides listeners a way to connect with their local communities while traveling, or to see what's happening in their hometown if they've since moved away.

The Satellite Disconnect

Back when satellite radio was all the rage, people thought it would be the next big thing: any radio station anywhere in the world. In theory, that sounds nice, but in practice, it hasn't worked out. Listeners crave local news. They crave local personalities. Local sports. Local talk shows. They crave local connection, which is the one thing satellite radio cannot provide.

Making National into Local

One of the biggest challenges highlighted in the panel was the availability of information, especially with the strength and reach of national organizations who have dominated the broadcast arena for decades now. According to Frieler and the other members of the panel, the new challenge resides in making national news into local news. 

Anyone can tune their radio to a large corporate enterprise based in New York or California to get their news. But what you can't get from those sources is how that news will affect smaller communities that local broadcasters serve. At Leighton Media, one of Frieler's initiatives is to interpret news and content into local impacts for the community.

If the president announces a new tax plan or the stock market has a crazy day, local residents need somewhere to look for guidance. According to Kelli, the place they should look is your broadcast.  

"One of our content goals with digital, just like with our traditional over the mic broadcast, is to give you the local angle on the national story that is trending. To share with you how it might impact you where you are. We aim to be relevant."

Why shouldn't your local stations be the ones that residents love? You know them better than anyone else, because you're their neighbor. You can use a gamut of different mediums to reach them, and digital is just another tool that broadcasters can use to reach these audiences who are desperate for a broadcaster that understands them. 

But refusing to regurgitate the news will only get you so far. One of the biggest factors holding broadcasting companies back is content. 

High Quality Content

Creating quality content that local listeners actively seek out can be a tough task. According to Frieler, the best way to produce this content is by creating engaging content that has a local angle or incorporates members of your communities. If your content isn't relevant to the people listening, it's not likely that they'll make the effort to tune in. Who could blame them? If you're talking about surfing tips for people who live in small town Iowa, then it's time to reevaluate your strategy.   

"The quality of the content is what matters. Listeners can get their favorite type of music anywhere, nowadays. It’s what happens in between the songs that sets Leighton Media radio stations apart. The same goes for digital content and our strategy for content delivery in that arena."

Craft the best content and you can't be ignored. That should be the goal of every broadcaster. You may have all the tools and all the staff, but if you can't create amazing content then you won't get very far. Even if you have a smaller team and limited resources, then your content can be the edge that your company needs to set itself apart and get ahead. 

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