Clear channel is tuning into web 2.0, starting a dozen social networking sites for radio stations it owns in major markets. The effort began with the roll-out of social sites for seven contemporary-hit radio stations in cities including San Francisco, New York and Dallas in late April. Another five will go live in June for stations such as KIIS-FM (Kiss) in Los Angeles and KTBZ-FM (The Buzz) in Houston.
The sites will be run separately by each station, but share a template with features like user profile pages, blogs and video- and photo-uploading. Listeners will be able to chat live online to discuss programs as they air. “This is the next natural step in bringing interactivity to our communities who are already meeting up via our station Web sites,” says Evan Harrison, executive vice president of Clear Channel Online Music and Radio.
The radio giant also plans to monetize the stations’ social networks with display ads from local and national advertisers.
Clear Channel will promote the networks through on-air plugs and at station events, but is counting on grassroots support to build traffic. “We stressed with our stations that we want there to be an organic approach,” says Harrison. Once the first dozen social networks are up and running, Clear Channel will expand the effort to stations in smaller markets.