I’ve been noticing a horrible trend the past few weeks with some recent format changes. Many new stations are launching with either no web presence or simply retaining their former one. By no means is it expected to see a full-fledged website just as much as we don’t expect most new stations to launch with a full airstaff. For there not to be some sort of splash page with a logo, basic contact info, and streaming audio (if available) is just making it that much harder for word of mouth to generate about your station. Or you can just keep sending your potential new listeners to us (or your competition).
Let’s take a look at some examples with the help of Google.
On October 4, Cumulus flipped Hot AC “Mix 102.1” WZAT Savannah, GA to Sports “ESPN 102.1”. We know Cumulus registered ESPN1021.com, yet that domain still goes to its GoDaddy parking page. Its former Mix1021.com simply states “Under Construction”. Look up “102.1 Savannah”, “ESPN 102.1”, or “ESPN 102.1 Savannah” and what do you see? If you’re lucky with the search terms you’ll get a RadioTime.com link for the webcast, but the first link with any information about the station will be our report about the format change. However, based on the lack of search referrals it will be a safe assumption that they are well on their way to making this 100kw station an afterthought in its market.
Then there’s the heavily publicized format change of “Rock 104” WRUF Gainesville, FL to Country “103.7 The Gator” on October 15. A visit to 1037TheGator.com brings up a simple “Site Coming Soon” message. A Google search for “103.7 The Gator” at least brings up Rock104.com as the first search result yet there’s nothing on the former site about the new station. The remainder of the results are a couple airchecks of the format change and news articles. Our FormatChange.com, currently 3rd on the results page, has seen its traffic double this week mostly due to searches about WRUF.
It’s crosstown competitor “100.5 The Buzz” WHHZ isn’t fairing much better in our research. WHHZ picked up the syndicated Lex & Terry morning show from WRUF following the change. Nowhere on 1005TheBuzz.com is there any reference to the new morning show. If it wasn’t for an article in the Gainesville Sun nobody in the region would know where to find the program.
On the other side of the coin let’s take a look at the new “Up 99.3” CIUP that launched in Edmonton, AB two nights ago. Besides the fact that the station launched with a full airstaff, something that is still fairly common in Canada, a search for the station brings a full fledged website for the station as the top result.
If someone can explain to me if its too hard to have a splash page ready to go please do. If someone can explain why a station shouldn’t have some sort of presence ready to go at launch feel free. I somehow doubt anybody will be coming forward. Meanwhile I’ll appreciate the small traffic boost sent my way, while I have to explain via e-mail to listeners and potential advertisers that I have no connection to the station and no way to contact it.