Last week, Pink Floyd's Richard Wright passed away, another of those sad but not surprising Classic Rock passings. At these moments, we make it a point to look and listen to how stations handle these big music news events.
While a few clients and other Classic Rock stations acknowledged Wright's career (a few Floyd songs in afternoon drive), and others actually provided some content on their web sites, it was NPR - once again - that stepped up big-time to provide context, archived material, and great coverage of Wright's life.
This is not a new theme in this space, and that's precisely the point. To be a great Classic Rock station - and to provide that digital platform that was this year's focus at the NAB, R&R, and Jacobs Summit conventions in Austin - we need to step up and deliver the information our fans are craving.
"The Tech Guy," Leo Laporte - who spoke at our Summit and at the NAB - described the front page of most station sites as analogous to the fences at minor league ballparks - littered with cheap-looking banner ads and other clutter that detracts from what should be the main focus of music station sites. If we're not careful, our quest for Internet dollars will end up with radio looking a lot like how we sound - some nice content at times, but hard to find through all the commercial clutter.
In the case of Classic Rock, stations (and radio companies) should start preparing for the inevitable, just as network news departments and newspapers have done for years. There are many mega groups and artists who will no longer be with us over the next decade or so. Being prepared with great resources, discographies, sound bites, forums, and other digital tools makes so much sense.
But when a big event occurs that affects your fans - and your website is all about discount coupons, $1,000 giveaways, and Rock Girls - listeners get the message, and continue to go elsewhere to get what they need.