Recap & Takeaways from the 2019 Minnesota Broadcaster's Association

Last updated by Stephanie Theisen

Diving Into digital

Kelli on panel

Leighton Broadcasting's Kelli Frieler participated in a panel at the Minnesota Broadcaster's Association 2019 Annual Meeting. The panel, Diving Into Digital: How Broadcasters Can Be Successful in a Digital World, explored how broadcasters can leverage the digital space to produce the results they wish to see. The panel was moderated by Jeremiah Jacobson of Digital Video for KARE 11 and included speakers from KSTP-TV, KMSP-TV, and Digital Solutions. 

Frieler currently serves as the Executive Director of Digital at Leighton Broadcasting, and put her expertise into practice during the panel to educate others on having success in the digital world. Here are some of Kelli's points from the panel and her key takeaways in case you missed the event.


Facing the facts

There are a ton of new facts relating to the digital space. Here are some of the ones that we feel are most compelling. These numbers are staggering! They highlight the need for broadcasters to understand how consumers engage with your content. 

  • 88% of Americans get some news on mobile, 84% of people get some
    news on desktop/laptop
  • 58% of often get news on a mobile device
  • 34% of people prefer to get their news online
  • 37% of people prefer to get their local news online
  • 77% say the internet is an important resource in how they get local news
  • 82% say an easy-to-use website is important for local news source
  • 51% say regularly updated social media accounts from local media are important to them
  • 43% of Americans get news on Facebook


Connecting With Communities

One of the big takeaways from the event was the newfound ability to connect with your community using multiple avenues. New technologies are emerging on the horizon every year, and oftentimes every quarter. As a business, and especially as a broadcaster, you have a responsibility to learn how to utilize these tools in order to reach the members of your community. 

Frieler was adamant, however, that the separation between good and bad companies was content. You can have every tool under the sun and have no interest in your products or company vision. You need to learn how to create content that is both engaging and enriching for your consumers before you even attempt to pick up a new method of communication. 

Digital disruption has been affecting the traditional broadcast industry for years now, but Frieler noted that it also presents some unique opportunities for connecting with your target audiences. Multiple channels and distribution options are available to a broadcaster today, and building a local, enticing brand is the only way to break through. 

"At Leighton Broadcasting, our passion is to serve, connect and celebrate our community — the people within it. Think about digital this way — when your radio stations listeners are in their break room without dial frequency access, we can still serve and connect them — we can touch them through mobile and apps. We can meet people where they are."


Making National into Local

One of the biggest challenges highlighted in the panel was the availability of information, especially with the strength and reach of national organizations who have dominated the broadcast arena for decades now. According to Frieler and the other members of the panel, the new challenge resides in making national news into local news. 

Anyone can tune their radio to a large corporate enterprise based in New York or California to get their news. But what you cant't get from those sources is how that news will affect smaller communities that local broadcasters serve. At Leighton Broadcasting, one of Frieler's initiatives is to interpret news and content into local impacts for the community.

If the President announces a new tax plan or the Stock Market has a crazy day, local residents need somewhere to look for guidance. According to Kelli, the place they should look is your broadcast.  

"One of our content goals with digital, just like with our traditional over the mic broadcast, is to give you the local angle on the national story that is trending. To share with you how it might impact you where you are. We aim to be relevant."

Why shouldn't your local stations be the ones that residents love? You know them better than anyone else, because you're their neighbor. You can use a gamut of different mediums to reach them, and digital is just another tool that broadcasters can use to reach these audiences who are desperate for a broadcaster that understands them. 

But refusing to regurgitate the news will only get you so far. One of the biggest factors holding broadcasting companies back is content. 

High Quality Content

Creating quality content that local listeners actively seek out can be a tough task. According to Frieler, the best way to produce this content is by creating engaging content that has a local angle or incorporates members of your communities. If your content isn't relevant to the people listening, it's not likely that they'll make the effort to tune in. Who could blame them? If you're talking about surfing tips for people who live in small town Iowa, then you should reevaluate your strategy.   

"The quality of the content is what matters. Listeners can get their favorite type of music anywhere, now days. It’s what happens in between the songs that set Leighton Broadcasting radio stations apart. The same goes for digital content and our strategy for content delivery in that arena."

Craft the best content and you can't be ignored. That should be the goal of every broadcaster. You may have all the tools and all the staff, but if you can't create amazing content then you won't get very far. Even if you have a smaller team and limited resources, then your content can be the edge that your company needs to set itself apart and get ahead. 

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