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Fool Me Again & Again

Twitter Death Hoax Bon Jovi Radio KIIS KIIS-FM
One of the running gags of the Twitter era is the celebrity death hoax.

Its happened so much that any mention of a celebrity death online should wait for validation by a credible news source. To many radio is that credible news source. Today, a “news” source named DailyNewBlogInternational reported that Jon Bon Jovi had died. This article happens to be the only thing on that site. Yet that was enough for some radio stations, let alone what is considered one of the flagships of Clear Channel’s operations to decide that was enough to post to its social media accounts.

KIIS’ 161,482 Facebook subscribers and 88,638 Twitter followers were left to believe a poorly written blog post was fact because of the credibility of the KIIS brand. KIIS quickly pulled the tweet as well as a response stating it was a hoax before finally apologizing on Facebook only. The damage was done. And I’m well aware that KIIS was not the only station that did this. Their position as being the #1 music station in a top market simply place them in the crosshairs.

KIIS and all of media owe it to its audience to ensure the content they produce is factual. Its better to be late than to be wrong. Its one thing if KIIS was verifying a report by someone else that has brand equity to confirm the information, but in this case they were going on an entry from a blog that was created today.

The second a radio station launches a Facebook page or Twitter account they become extensions of the station. The better its used to interact with the audience, the more loyal the audience will become. If you have that loyalty and brand equity how can you risk it by not treating it with the same care given to the on air product? Social Media is not a place for an intern to simply retweet something their friend fell for. Social Media is Media. Treat it as such.

There’s only so many times an entity can get away with jumping the gun on false info before they lose trust in it as a source. Jon Bon Jovi may not be dead now, but radio stations tweeting about it will simply increase the amount of people talking about radio being dead.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

2 Comments


  1. Why would this surprise anyone in radio? Bound to happen. Won’t be the last time.

    The current mindset and mandates from the corporate level has nothing to do with engagement, community nor the brand equity listeners hold for stations. In the digital world, the unique hits to the blog posts and social touch points of the listeners is more important than the actual content or truth.

    Tabloid “journalism” wins. It it bleeds, it leads…and drives traffic. So you’ve got jocks and interns creating misleading and downright false headlines and stories just to win eyeballs and hit numbers.

    Radio will gladly acknowledge they’re a credible source when it comes over the air through a microphone, but there’s still a disconnect when it comes to what role digital plays with the special relationship the microphone has always had with a listener.


  2. Weren’t there some “tweets” late Friday night (U.S. time; midday Saturday in North Korea) stating that dictator Kim-Jong Il had died, although the North Korean government didn’t confirm it until early Monday afternoon their time (Sunday evening here in the ‘States)??

    I’m not trying to defend the false “Jon Bob Jovi Is dead” “tweet”, but such reports have to be checked out to make sure they’re true or false.

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