Here is the big secret about Radio, listeners want to hear what THEY want to hear. That is why the broad channel format on Sirius and XM is so appealing. Pick your genre of music and there it is, commercial free . . . but still you have to wait to hear the song you want to hear and you rarely know what is coming next.
Enter social media.
If radio stations were to embrace technology like Twitter, they could have their DJs announce via Twitter what song would be next, get immediate feedback about songs, about things they are talking about and they could localize multi-station shows.
Here's how it could work. I'm a DJ. I sign up for a Twitter account, as I'm playing one set of songs, I can Tweet what song is next. I can also engage listeners by announcing that during the next set I'm going to be talking about how they can win tickets or let them know that I'll be hosting a giveaway during the next set of songs. I can tell people on air to tweet their responses about something I just said. The idea goes on and on.
Radio becomes interactive. If the station really has some balls, they'd let listeners be the DJ at the top of every hour and play the best five song set tweeted by a listener.
But here is why most radio stations will never do it.
They are afraid that the DJ will develop a following that they can easily take with them if they leave or are fired. They are afraid that the DJ will have too much interaction with the audience. They are afraid of the listener having too much control.
And they become increasingly irrelevant.
If they were really smart they'd talk about some of the tweets they get about advertisers and make their advertising more relevant too. But that would be really scary for radio.
Radio is about relationships and with voice tracked morning shows and the same set of 20 songs rotated until exhaustion, listeners can't change stations fast enough.
But the moment a station gets relevant, gets interactive and gets involved, they'll get listeners back by the droves . . . and the first one to the punch gets a ton of free PR for being so insightful.
Just remember to announce over the air that you heard it here first, better yet, announce it and ask everyone to Tweet me their thoughts.