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TUNING IN

A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

WTOP: Profile of Washington’s Only All-News Radio Station

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WTOP News in Washington, DC utilizes social media in a different way than music-oriented radio stations. The station’s use of social media is centered around their news stories and trying to get the word out to as many people as possible. On Facebook and Twitter, they post subject headings with links to the full story. For something like Twitter that can be directed straight to people’s phones, this social media method is a great way to get the story directly in the person’s hands, literally. And although WTOP is a radio station, the stories they post are available in print as well, so they can appeal to people on the go with their handheld devices without having to hear the audio portion of the story.

Now, does this form of social media actually help the radio station? Or does it just promote the name? I for one have been following WTOP on Twitter since I created my account. Some people may only have an interaction with them via their Twitter feed and very little traditional radio listening. Through their feed, I am able to get the weather and read breaking news right from my phone, which isn’t even a smartphone, by the way. The accessibility is extraordinary, but is it doing anything for the station itself?

The thing that sets WTOP apart from other stations I have been researching is their technology involving phones. Not only do they have a text alert system that sends breaking news directly to your phone via text message, but they have a system called Audio Now. Audio Now is simply a number anyone can call on any phone to get WTOP radio streaming directly to the phone. While it is a pretty simple concept, much like an answering machine, the accessibly to a radio station’s live stream really amazes me. A radio used to just be a box that sound came out of. It then progressed to be put in cars and then onto computers and now it can come directly out of your phone. What’s next for radio? As the first mass media, radio is actually very tech-savvy, using methods to grow and improve the way we hear radio. Stay tuned…

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