Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Effects of Social Media on Radio Broadcasting

Focusing on Clear Channel’s Project 9–6–1 FM
I.                   Introduction to Radio:
            Traditional Radio Broadcasting takes place on over the air stations. In the past Radio broadcasting has been a one-way sound broadcasting service, transmitted over radio waves from a transmitter to an antenna and intended to reach a wide audience. There are two major types of radio frequencies AM and FM and in more recent years digital terrestrial radio signals have become more and more popular. After many years of steady growth the radio industry is starting to stall, this is because of new technology stemming from the internet. Internet radio is becoming increasingly popular because of the fact that it is not FCC regulated and that just about anyone with a microphone, a music library, and a software pack can host their own live internet radio station, this cuts in on the traditional stations market more than most people would expects but the traditional market is fighting back by embracing new internet based technology.
II.                Radio Industry Focus:
Clear Channel Communications is an American media conglomerate company founded in 1972. It is currently the largest owner of full-power AM, FM, and shortwave radio stations and twelve radio channels on XM Satellite Radio, and is also the largest pure-play radio station owner and operator.
WKLS 96.1 FM also branded as Project 9–6–1 is a radio station in Atlanta Georgia that plays active rock music. Originally opened in 1974 as “96 Rock” the station played music selections from what is called classic rock today. In the 1980’s 96 Rock created a kind of macho image, often mocking competing stations that played top 40 music hit as “whimp rock” stations. In 1985 WKLS changed up its playlist again to play a mixture of classic rock and new or modern rock, this would continue for the next 19 years till 2004. In 2004 the station once again switched back to exclusively playing classic rock and then after 32 years of “96 Rock” on November 17, 2006 at 9am, Clear Channel dropped that station’s branding and on November 20, 2006 at 10am the stations new branding campaign “Project 9–6–1” was launched on the air. Project plays a mix of classic and modern rock and also has hours for punk rock, heavy metal, and other rock music styles.
III.             Social Media Applications:
            There are many different social media applications that effect WKLS every day. First up is the Dj’s Blogs that are hosted on Projects website, From,
“A blog is defined as is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog”.
The blogs on the Project website were the first way that the Djs could post information and have people respond to it. It gives the Djs a place to post the things that people email and message them. It also gave a glimpse into how important social networks would be when they come on the scene.
            Second on the scene was Myspace, From Wikipedia,
Myspace, is a social networking website. Its headquarters are in Beverly Hills, California where it shares an office building with its immediate owner, News Corp. Digital Media, owned by News Corporation. Myspace became the most popular social networking site in the United States in June 2006”.
At Projects myspace page,, they post up photos from events and upcoming concert information on there but it’s a very limited service so it doesn’t pull as many people to it as the blogs and general homepage did.
Next up is Facebook, from Wikipedia, “Facebook is a social network service and website launched in February 2004 that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc”. Project’s facebook page,, is a live running place where anyone can post up to it. It allows people to keep in contact with the page and where things have gone down in the past. Facebook has added custom controls and things like analytics to their pages so an admin can see exactly how many hits the new radio promotion is generating on a minute by minute basis instead of waiting for days for other systems to get back to you. Facebook pages are very organized and allow a wide range of custom and premade apps to be added to your page to help it to function to the level you are looking for.
Third in the line of social media wave was Twitter, from Wikipedia,
Twitter is a website, owned and operated by Twitter Inc., which offers a social networking and microblogging service, enabling its users to send and read other users' messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the user's profile page”
When Twitter came onto to scene it allowed for a short blast to be sent out to a large number of people all at once letting your voice be heard to the masses. This idea of only being able to use 140 characters to post a thought comment or idea seemed lame to some people but if you look at it now Twitter has evolved into its own language and has special symbols to help people say more with less. And now that all of your social media sites link together it is just one huge net of information that the people can look at and be informed in seconds.
Finally the newest thing to hit the social scene is Jelli, from Wikipedia,
“Jelli is 100 percent user-controlled radio, enabling users to take over a radio station using their web browsers. Rather than the radio station DJ choosing what plays on the air, users are on the Jelli website together, voting for songs that they want to hear on the air. What gets played is entirely up to the Jelli community”.
 Jelli is a new radio experience, it is a social network where the listeners of radio stations get to vote on the music that’s playing, it’s completely user controlled radio. This new system lets the users listening to the music choose the next song by voting in their online system. Jelli works amazingly well and even though it’s not completely official yet I can say that Jelli is being brought to the 7Pm to Midnight shift at WKLS Project 9–6–1 in the next month or so, being an intern gives you inside information. This will allow users to actually control content as it goes live on the radio using Jelli’s unique system of Rockets, Bombs, and voting to hear your favorite song come across the radio and best of all it’s free. Here’s how it works,
“Players search the catalog of song titles and pick tracks to add to the on-air playlist. Other players vote songs up or down one position at a time. "Rockets" and "Bombs," two examples of a type of Jelli Virtual good that are earned by participating, shoot a song up to the top of the playlist or knock it off altogether. Jelli even lets communities band together to pull a song off the air instantly. A Jelli Chat room provides listeners with a place to socialize, lobby for their favorite songs, and organize a community-controlled Playlist” (  
Jelli is being quoted as “The Future Of Radio” all across the web because it’s allowing the listener to have a little control over the air. This way when you’re having one of tough’s days and you have a song stuck in your head, with Jelli you can get that song played live on the radio fast to fix that problem. Unlike Pandora or other free internet music services with Jelli you can choose the next song that you get to hear. While with Pandora, and others, part of what keeps them free is the fact that you don’t know what’s coming up at all but with Jelli you get to see the whole playlist, you just have to try and get your song up next. 

How Jelli Works: 

IV.             Conclusion:
            In conclusion I think that WKLS previewing Jelli’s services in the next couple of months will be a very interesting sample of the direction of the future of radio broadcasting. We have reached a point where a social network, Jelli, has the ability to not only connect the station with listeners and listeners with each other, but also to keep the listeners close to the music. Jelli doesn’t just let you feel like you have some say in the production process it actually gives you control. From my experiences with Jelli just testing it out, if a couple of friends got together, that liked the same music, they could easily keep control of the station for five or ten minutes, which unlike hostile takeovers of the actual station you just took over the stations music, and that’s a big deal. Jelli just launched mobile apps on Android, Blackberry, and Apple phones so now people can listen and play from their car, a restaurant, anywhere they want to. With this it allows the average person a little more access to the service which is a good thing because most people that tune in to the radio in their cars wouldn’t care about using Jelli because they aren’t exactly in front of a computer at home not are they. To date, no station has successfully inter graded Jelli’s services into their over the air broadcasts on a regular schedule. Most stations that use Jelli right now are just using it as a gag to get more listeners and they do things like only turn Jelli on for an hour a week and hype people up to get them to try it. WKLS will be one of the first full scale blocks on air given over to Jelli and to the listeners of Project 9-6-1. If this doesn’t blow up in their faces Project may have just found the new future of radio, at least for now.

Jelli's co-founder and CEO about Jelli:

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