The news that Clear Channel is debuting social networking sites at a dozen of its stations this summer comes as no surprise to us. Our recently released Tech Poll III clearly shows the power of social networking sites like the mighty MySpace, as well as the up-and-coming Facebook. Even Classic Rockers are in the game, as they try to stay in touch with high school friends on Classmates.com. Our study showed that half of all Rockers are active or casual participants on these sites - numbers that are unbelievable in their rapid growth.
Once again, radio finds itself in a peculiar situation. On the one hand, it has been creating "communities" for years, and aggregating them in email databases in impressive numbers. On the other, it continues to be positioned as "old media," as marketers and advertisers take radio for granted, or fail to see the medium's ability to merge its on-air product with solid online presence. It is fascinating that Google's recently announced deal with Clear Channel reinforces the importance of terrestrial media with search.
Because of its ability to create great brands, produce content, and get the word out via the cume, radio remains a wonderful environment for capitalizing on the digital frontier, in ways that other media and companies cannot. Clear Channel has figured it out, and is wisely jumping on the wave of social networking.
Once again, that door labeled "Opportunity" continues to swing open - assuming that radio broadcasters are wise enough to walk through it.