Nobex Partners chosen as exclusive mobile app platform for Airtime Pro users

Airtime Pro, the award winning internet radio broadcasting automation platform, and Nobex Technologies, the provider of customizable mobile applications for radio broadcasters and podcasters, announced a partnership today.

Nobex has been selected as the exclusive mobile app provider for Airtime Pro, bringing this long awaited feature to all Airtime Pro station owners. This partnership delivers Airtime Pro broadcasters highly personalized, engaging and monetizable mobile applications for their online radio stations and podcasts.

Internet DJs choose Airtime Pro’s cloud-based radio station broadcasting software for its advanced automation, DJ management, seamless transitions between live and scheduled programming, and social media widgets.

Cait Watson, Nobex’s VP of Customer Success:

We’re really looking forward to helping Airtime Pro users get their own custom mobile apps. Setting up their station with Airtime Pro was easy, we want to make setting up their mobile just as easy.

The combination of Airtime Pro’s powerful broadcast automation technology with Nobex’s robust, fully-customizable mobile apps offers an instant mobile win for broadcasters. With mobile apps for all, broadcasters can streamline management of their online stations, easily monetize their content, and most of all, deliver an unparalleled experience to their listening audience.

Aleksandar Brajanoski, Airtime Pro Product Manager:

We’re extremely happy to have Nobex by our side. Thanks to this partnership, we are now able to meet the huge demand for a customizable Station App in our client base. Furthermore, Nobex gives our DJs and station owners opportunity to monetize their stations, which comes as a nice bonus. We decided to go with Nobex because we think they have the best offering in the station app market.

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Nobex Partners chosen as exclusive mobile app platform for Airtime Pro users

Which songs in your station’s playlists are getting cranked up?

We’ve written before about the benefits terrestrial radio stations get when they add streaming, mobile apps, and websites specifically optimized for radio stations. One of the biggest benefits to going digital is the metrics. When you’re streaming, it’s no longer about estimating market size or approximating listener engagement. You can optimize your playlists to maximize your listenership because you can actually see — in real time — what content resonates with your audience and how they respond to it.

Introducing Top Cranked Up Songs

To help stations grow their audiences, we’re continuing to roll-out more granular reporting alongside our eBex scores (Nobex Partners’ proprietary listener engagement metrics). We’re excited to introduce a new report. Top Cranked Up Songs is available in the Reports section for our Pro subscribers.

As you can probably guess by its name, Top Cranked Up Songs displays — in order — the songs in your playlist that got your listeners to turn up the volume on their mobile devices. The report also lists how many total cranks your songs received.

Here’s a sample report from a Nobex Partners client tracking its station’s top cranked up songs:

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How a station can use Top Cranked Up Songs

If you’re a Pro subscriber, you’ll find your new Top Cranked Up Songs list in the Reports section of your control panel. Just click on Charts.

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Stations are using this data to inform their content decisions, including more plays of songs that listeners dig and removing those songs that push listeners away. Our new Top Cranked Up Songs chart joins a handful of other listener engagement reports that top stations are using to refine and improve their programming, delighting their listeners.

In addition to Top Cranked UpPro subscribers can see what content in their playlists listeners are turning off, which songs are trending up/down in terms of listener engagement, and how specific content is trending over time.

So, get cranking.

Which songs in your station’s playlists are getting cranked up?

Automate the onboarding of new listeners by walking them through your station’s mobile app

Getting listeners to download your station’s mobile app is just part of the digital process.

Once downloaded, it’s essential to get your listeners comfortable using their radio app, so that they continue to tune in. Like most forms of technology, users don’t generally spend the time to fully learn its capabilities. So, with a little gentle nudging, you can help introduce your audience to all the bells and whistles behind your Nobex Partners-powered app.

Doing so should ultimately encourage your listeners to continue to enjoy your station’s app.

Onboarding new listeners gets them to stick around

Technology marketers like to talk about the onboarding process a new user undergoes when signing up for a new piece of software or app. The goal of onboarding is to quickly familiarize a user with enough information that the user will continue to use the software.

Onboarding generally consists of sending a small number of emails or push messages to pique the interest of a user. For radio apps, onboarding should focus on getting a listener to wake up via an alarm or fall asleep via a timer to his favorite radio station. At a minimum, it’s this type of usage that gets a listener up and running on an app.

Nobex Partners’ automated listener onboarding

We’ve automated much of the onboarding process so that a radio station can automagically provide listeners with a quick introduction to their app’s capabilities.

We enable 3 automated types of onboarding to get your listeners familiar with your station’s mobile app:

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Timer education: This part of the onboarding process will push an alert to a new user in the evening of the same day she downloaded your app. The alert introduces your listener to the timer function in the app that she can use to listen to your station as she drifts off to sleep. The timer will close down the app.

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Listen on the way to work: The next morning, a new user will receive a push message encouraging them to use their app to listen to your station along the way to work or school.

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Alarm education: Lastly, as part of the onboarding sequences, the Nobex Partners platform will message a user that he can use your station’s app to wake him up in the morning by playing your station’s app.

Setting up onboarding

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It’s easy to set up automated new listener onboarding. Within your Nobex control panel, click on Onboarding (under Features in the left sidebar). You can edit the messages before they go out.

Once you turn Onboarding on (at the top of the page), all new users will begin to receive your onboarding messages. Don’t forget to hit the save button if you make any changes.

Automate the onboarding of new listeners by walking them through your station’s mobile app

Get your station podcasting by using on-demand content

There’s a lot of talk about radio stations moving into podcasting. There’s good reason for that: Data show that consumers are increasing their listening to podcasts.  Podcasting is on the rise and Nobex Partners provides on-demand functionality (for both our premium accounts) so that radio stations on the platform can participate in the growing field of podcasting.

What is podcasting and why should radio stations care?

With podcasting, listeners download shows and listen to them whenever they want. People who listen to a lot of podcasts generally use a podcast player — a mobile app that makes it easier to download and store podcasts. For iPhones, the most popular app is the Apple Podcast app. On Android, Google offers podcasts on Google Play but there are dozens of popular podcasting apps. These podcast players also serve as large directories that users turn to to discover new podcast content.

avid-podcast-fans.pngThe audience for podcasts is growing. In early 2018, there were 16 million households in the U.S. that identify as avid podcast fans, up from 13 million the previous year. Podcast listeners turn out to be highly engaged. According to Midroll, a network of some of the most popular podcasts, claims on average, podcast listeners make it through about 90 percent of a given episode, and relatively few are skipping through ads.

“There are really audiences out there who listen to every word that comes out of [a host’s] mouth,” said Headgum CTO Andrew Pile.

Early podcast formats were generally like talk shows — a host would do most of the talking and invite in guests. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen the emergence of serial podcasts — shows that followed the plot of fictional characters across episodes. Radio stations, with existing audiences and loaded with talent, are well positioned to participate in podcasting. Regardless of the show format, podcasts provide a great medium for stations to continue to own the ears of listeners and reach out to entirely new audiences.

Getting started podcasting with Nobex Partners

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You’ll find on demand functionality under Features inside your Nobex Plus and Pro accountsThe way On Demand works is similar to other podcasting hosts with some nice tweaks for radio stations.

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  1. Add title and description information for your podcast
  2. Schedule when you want your podcast to publish.
  3. Assign your podcast to one of your lists. Lists function as full blown feeds which you can submit to the major podcast directories, like Categories on a website. So, you can maintain multiple podcasts with their own unique feeds with one Nobex account.
  4. Upload pre-recorded shows and podcasts and associated artwork
  5. That’s it!

Whether you take an existing show and repurpose it as a podcast or you create entirely new shows that are designed to take advantage of the podcast format, your radio station can easily begin participating in this new medium.

Any questions?

Get your station podcasting by using on-demand content

18 tips to promote your radio station digitally

The decision to promote your radio station digitally is just the first step in online marketing. Next, you’ll need to define strategy and tactics as the makings of a plan to get the word out about your station. Marketing in the online world isn’t philosophically different than the traditional marketing you’ve done to promote your station — you still conduct various activities in order to get more listeners to your station. The tactics and media are different, though, and it will require a new skillset to promote your station through digital channels.

How to promote your station through digital channels

Here are 18 tried-and-true tips that radio stations can use to promote their businesses via online and social media channels:

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Submit your station to radio directories: There are plenty of places online that provide an opportunity for radio stations to get discovered. Submit your station to Nobex Radio and the dozens of other radio directories online. Some of these directories have their own radio apps where new listeners may find your station and tune in to your stream.

Drive AM/FM listeners to your mobile app: Mentioning your website or mobile apps on the air for terrestrial listeners is probably the most effective strategy for radio stations that choose to market digitally. If you have an offline audience, create opportunities to encourage listeners to go and download your station’s app or head to your station’s website.

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Encourage reviews in mobile app stores: Mobilizing existing users of your radio station’s mobile apps is an effective strategy to get more users downloading the app. That’s because you can prompt users to leave reviews of your app in the Google Play and Apple App stores. Then, when their friends and other users from their cities go to iTunes, it’s possible they will be hit with a positive review of your app. Friend recommendations go a long way to help people determine which apps to download.

Create and distribute posters and flyers: There’s nothing wrong with handing out, posting, or mailing flyers that promote your station’s website or mobile apps. They’re easy. Consider using a simple graphic design tool like Canva — it’ll make it look like you had the promotion professionally done.

Work on your search engine optimization: SEO is a marketing strategy that tweaks the content of your website, as well as its organization and design, to maximize discovery by users in search engines and app stores. Make sure your content in your apps and website does an effective job in richly describing your station. The better your SEO, the more discoverable you can be for people searching for stations like yours.

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Run viral contests: Contests are traditionally powerful tools to boost audience and drive listener engagement. Games and giveaways reward the most loyal listeners. To drive usage of your radio mobile apps, consider running mobile-only contests, available only to those users on mobile. There are plenty of ideas for viral contests that run on Facebook that will not only engage listeners but help to get the word out about your station. Getting listeners to respond to posts or upload their own pictures to win some swag is a powerful promotional tool.

Participate in social media: Social media is an important tool to identify and connect with new listeners. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have proven useful for stations to grow their audiences and communicate with their listeners. That said, regular posting on social media requires discipline and diligence, so don’t start until you’re ready. Try to pair the right choice of social network to your audience — a jazz station, for example, might choose Facebook, but not Twitter, based on where it believes its listeners are active,

Pay for Facebook listener acquisition: You can participate on social media for free, building your community and new listener pipeline organically. Or, you can pay social networks like Facebook to help you acquire new listeners. You can do a variety of things with a paid strategy, like run campaigns that get likes to your Facebook page, drive traffic back to your website, and get users to download your radio station’s mobile apps.

Define a content strategy: The way people communicate may have changed but radio is still a form of media. It just means that growth plans for radio stations have to take in to account messaging and content strategies across multiple platforms — not just through the air. So, active radio stations are publishing blogs, participating on Facebook, posting to Instagram, and have Whatsapp groups to message their audiences. You can create content to share with other sites in your niche, too. Create a strategy that fits your audience and stick with it.

Check out how California-based station RAD Radio approaches content and community. RAD has a vibrant Facebook community, with over 75,000 members. Members of the staff post regularly to Instagram. The station offers Android and iOS mobile apps (built and managed on the Nobex Partners platform) for its audience to connect through mobile. It also publishes some of its content in podcast form.

The station also offers a members-only section of its website for hardcore fans, too. RAD is a good example of a modern radio station — one whose core content may be audio, but it’s certainly running a community across different types of media.

Cross promotion with partners: Recommendations drive today’s consumption of media. Consider finding a media partner — like a local newspaper or TV station — with whom you can embark on mutual promotional campaigns. Or, a local retailer might be a good way to cross promote. In return for them promoting your radio station in store, you can promote their products or sales. These cross promotions don’t necessarily have to cost money. With some partners, you can barter your way to growing awareness.

Calls to action get listeners to share: Your listeners are busy and most likely, even if they love your station, not actively sharing out your content. Here’s the secret: you have to ask them to share. Marketers describe this as a ‘call to action’ — a CTA is a request for a user to take a specific behavior. If you want your listeners to share content on your website or mobile apps, you have to first ask them to.

Adopt email marketing: With so much noise out there, email is still effective in getting a listener’s attention. On Facebook, your station can get lost among all your users’ other activities. But an email still feels somewhat personal and it’s delivered into some of the only remaining private space we have — our inboxes. Build an email list from contests, by offering downloads, and promote it on social media. Use email sparingly and smartly and email is a great way to grow and market your station.

Start a podcast: Podcasts, as an audio format, are enjoying an early Renaissance as a medium. High quality shows are being produced by some of the biggest names in media. Podcasts seem like an obvious channel for radio stations to promote themselves.

Audio_«_CBS_Chicago.pngFor example, you can see how WBBM FM, a CBS news affiliate in Chicago, offers podcasts of specific popular shows and personalities. To get started, you can repurpose existing shows into podcast format so listeners can time shift their consumption. Over time, consider creating new programming specifically for the podcast format. (The Nobex Partners platform enables radio stations to archive their programs so that listeners can access the shows where and when they want. It’s called On-Demand, available via our paid plans, and a good way to start podcasting.

Implement an influential guest strategy: A great technique to growing a digital audience is to identify people with large overlapping audiences and invite them on a show. You’ll get great content and in turn, your guest will likely share out his interview with his audience. It’s a win-win. Don’t forget to ask your guests to share your programs on their different social media channels.

Participate on Reddit/Forums: There are an infinite number of forums out there where your target audience spends time. One of the most popular places for younger listeners is Reddit, a modern form of forums where people link to interesting things, discuss topics, share pictures, and vote on interesting content.

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Reddit offers what are called subreddits, or niche forums, that are maintained by moderators. You can participate in others’ subreddits or start and maintain your own. See, for example, the /rock subreddit. Over 10k people are subscribed and review, share, and discuss the genre. An expert opinion from a PD or radio exec could go a long way.

Market your station at events: Our online and offline worlds are blurring and all the data show that people are hungry for real-world connections. That’s why events are still a great way to build community and promote your radio station. You’ll have the attention of your audience, so plan out your messaging. If you want to promote specific shows or your website or your mobile apps during your event, prepare signage or handouts and make sure you mention your marketing messages multiple times during the event.

Start an influencer marketing program: 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by recommendations in their buying decisions. Your audience today looks to celebrities, their peers, and other influencers for suggestions of what to watch, what to listen to, and what to buy. You can tell them a thousand times that they should spend more time listening to your station but that message would pale in comparison to having a celeb promote you.

Identify some influencers with brands that match your own. Reach out to them to see if there are ways you can work together. With some influencers, you’ll be able to barter by offering them some promotional air on your station. Others you’ll need to pay. As with any type of marketing, make sure your pitch matches the style and interest of the person you’re pitching.

PR/local news coverage: Ah, the lure of PR. Create something newsworthy and get it in front of a local reporter. It’s as simple as that. It’s worth creating an email list comprised of local reporters and periodically reaching out to them to tell them what you’re working on. You’re the expert in your field and your audience and people like them want to hear from you. In fact, 6% of buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders.

What do you do to promote your radio station online and through social media?

18 tips to promote your radio station digitally

Optimize your radio playlists to maximize listenership

Figuring out how large of an audience a radio station has is more of an art than a science. For larger markets, Nielsen can provide some estimates. For smaller markets, radio stations use all kinds of proxies to determine how many people listen in. From how many callers dial in a show to polling and seeing how well advertisements perform, measuring radio station audiences is at best an imperfect science.

Terrestrial broadcast is a tough nut to track

That’s because of the technology. For terrestrial radio and radio waves that travel through the air, there’s really no accurate way to track audience behavior, like how well the new release from Sam Hunt on country radio or Ed Sheeran’s last song on an adult contemporary station performed.

So, we estimate. In large markets covered by Nielsen data, we estimate how many people listen to radio. In smaller markets, we gain a gut feel for our audiences. We don’t know for certain, so we estimate.

Digital radio provides audience and listener engagement metrics

Not so with digital radio. Digital radio provides a whole new level of audience metrics. Once content is delivered through a stream — whether it’s on the web or through a mobile device — you can track it. You can track your audience and see how many people listen in. And you get that feedback immediately through your apps.

But you can go beyond passive audience metrics with digital. Sure, you can see how many of your listeners tune in your station, but you can also tell how many people listened to a particular song in your playlist. That kind of feedback is quite valuable for a program director.

And here’s where things get really interesting. With digital radio, you can actually take it a step further to measure “listener engagement”. Studying listener engagement not only tells you how many people tunes in to a particular song but how they reacted to that song. You can actually tell if they really liked a song or hated it.

Optimizing a playlist using real-time data

At Nobex, we study dozens of parameters around listener engagement to provide feedback to subscribers of our paid plans about how their songs are performing. By looking at various engagement behaviors, like whether someone clicked “like” on a song or turned the volume up, we can begin to develop a picture on how well we’re engaging our audience and whether our song choices resonate with our listeners.

We’ve developed our own metric for listener engagement. We call it eBex, or the Nobex Song Engagement Score and stations have been using it since 2017 as a real-time intelligent scoring mechanism to rate listeners’ reactions to, and engagement with, each individual song.

See below for the type of feedback we provide a sample station. What you’re looking at is a grouping of all the songs played by an individual station during a specific time period.

ebex.001The single dots represent individual songs. The axes measure how many times a specific song was played during the period and how engaged listeners were during their listening to that song. A radio station wants most of its songs to be above the X-axis and green, meaning that listeners engaged with the song. Conversely, a radio station wants to limit and remove songs that appear red (which means people shut their apps off when the song plays).

So, you can see our sample station played a certain Coldplay song (Hymn for the Weekend) 68 times during the time period. In fact, because the song is so far out on the right in the chart, it was one of the station’s most played songs, period. But more people abandoned the song than stuck with it. That’s bad. Coded in red, our sample station removed this song from rotation and saw a general lift in listener metrics.

Track the performance of a specific song over time

In addition to looking at playlist data, eBex can also be used to track an individual song’s performance over time.

See the song below. Our sample station first started playing it at the end of December and it performed poorly (its eBex score was negative and the station lost more listeners than it gained by playing it).

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But over time, this song became a legitimate customer favorite. The station was tracking this song’s performance and began playing it more in rotation as it resonated very well with its audience.

You can find all your listener engagement metrics and playlist data in your account here.

By using listener engagement metrics like eBex, radio stations can begin to optimize their song selection in real time. Combined with strategic use of push messaging, playlist optimization can assist stations in getting their listeners to come back and tune in.

What do you use to track your audience and their feedback?

 

 

Optimize your radio playlists to maximize listenership

6 push messaging strategies that engage digital radio listeners and get them to tune back in

When radio stations discuss digital strategies to get radio listeners to tune back in, push messaging has to be at the top of list.

Unlike terrestrial radio, which essentially loses its entire audience every night when listeners turn off their devices, digital radio has push messaging at its disposal. Push messages are those alerts that apps send directly to a user’s home phone screen and they’re super successful in getting loyal listeners to open up their mobile radio apps or head back to a radio station’s website.

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Multiple push messages and their effect on listeners

There are a variety of different ways radio stations have succeeded with push messaging and in this article, I’d like to highlight the various ways they’re doing that. Push messaging shouldn’t be generic and the more personalized these messages are to a user’s tastes and likes, the more effective push messages become in getting listeners to come back to radio.

Here are 6 strategies radio stations can use with mobile apps to re-engage with listeners and drive audience back to their channels:

Favorite song alerts: Say a listener has liked the new Justin Timberlake song, Nasty, in her app. She’s no longer a faceless user. We now have some valuable information about her — that she likes Nasty. One of the easiest ways to get her to reopen her radio app is to alert her whenever Nasty comes on the radio. It’s basic — but it works all the time because our messaging is personalized and reflects our listeners’ tastes.

Favorite song alerts are more powerful than an alert that would trigger when a listener’s favorite band came on. With bands, there are always some songs we like and some we don’t. A favorite song alert is much more likely to work.

Show reminders: A mobile app can easily remind a listener five minutes ahead of a show that she’ll want to log back into her app to listen in. This works particularly well with talk radio, where strong personalities typically draw in listeners to the station. But it also works for stations that have unique programming throughout the day that they’d like to promote.

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Including deep links in push messages: Push messages don’t have to be mere reminders. They can contain links that directly drive a user back to the content a station wants to share. Listeners don’t want to feel marketed to, so if your messaging is valuable and pertinent to their tastes, it doesn’t even feel like marketing.

Examples of deep links can be to archived, on-demand content available in the app. Consider including links in these messages to music videos on YouTube that accentuate the listener experience.

Contest notifications: Radio listeners generally dig the giveaways and contests their local radio stations run. It obviously gives them a chance to be rewarded for listening but it also closes a feedback loop that audiences appreciate today.

To promote usage of your mobile radio apps, consider creating mobile-only contests that are available exclusively through this channel. You can use your other promotional and listening channels to encourage listeners to download your apps to sign up for the contest. It’s a nice little sweetener and gives you an additional value-added reason to message your listeners.

Live requests: If some of your programming includes live requests, you can use push messaging to get listeners to submit their suggestions. Live requests give a voice to the listener and a feeling that they can individually impact programming. What an amazing feeling to sense that your local radio station listens to you! So, use push messages to announce to your audience that they have an hour or two to get their song requests in via your mobile radio app or website.

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App onboarding: Smart software companies know that it takes a while for a new user or customer to get used to an app. They do what’s called onboarding — a process that welcomes a new user and provides resources and communication to ensure that the user can get up to speed quickly on the app.

Radio stations should also use the opportunity when a new listener downloads a mobile radio app to onboard him. Use messaging within the app to communicate specific functionality that you’d like your listeners to know about — say, like a sleep timer or alarm that’s built in to your radio station app. Strike a balance between over-communicating and providing your users with the right amount of education for a successful experience with the app.

Push messaging functionality is built into the Nobex Partners platform and available right out of the box in our paid plans. But effective push messaging strategies should be a core part of any digital radio technology.

6 push messaging strategies that engage digital radio listeners and get them to tune back in