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Study: radio lags TV in use of social media

A new survey produced by the Radio Television Digital News Association and Hofstra University suggests that radio stations aren’t using Twitter and Facebook as aggressively as television outlets.

“The use of social media is now almost universal in TV, with all categories going near or into the 90-percentile range,” the report concludes. “A lot of stations are using Facebook in particular for story leads and follow-up, and several mentioned crowdsourcing. Quite a few stations are running at least some of the Facebook comments on various newscasts.”

On the other hand: “Radio continues to make strides in the use of social media, but it remains well behind television.”

Radio social networking

source: Hofstra University / Radio Television Digital News

The report offers this background:

“A year ago, radio soared in the use of social media; this time around growth was more like a slow walk. All the categories rose, but, overall, the gains were mostly from stations already engaged in some social media doing more. The percentage of stations doing nothing dropped by less than 3 points.”

Non-commercial radio signals appear to be the most enthusiastic users of social media, of late. “But Twitter use remains most associated with staff size,” the study notes. “The larger the staff, the more likely the station is involved with Twitter and the more involved with Twitter it is.”

Asked about “their most innovative social media project,” only half of radio news directors answered the question, and half of them replied “nothing.” But those who responded more positively pointed to a new mobile application, an online community forum, or some kind of online debate in the works. “Then came blogs/podcasts, streaming, crowdsourcing or special news projects on the web.”

The survey was based on responses to a fourth quarter 2011 questionnaire received from 1,238 television stations, 260 radio news directors, and the general managers of 743 radio outlets.

Why the lag? My guess is that most commercial radio stations just don’t have the staff power that TV stations deploy. Non-commercial radio operations, however, have access to volunteer energy, and there are plenty of volunteers out there with Twitter and Facebook proficiency.

Your guesses are welcome, too.

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