One of the innovations with the most potential audience growth over the years has been internet radio. Consider that an event like SHOT would have to rely on phone interviews or set up a full radio row in order to get serious radio coverage for their vendors. I’ve run a radio row before. It is not fun. None at all. After it was over, I went straight to the bar.
But with online audio production, the potential reach of an audience is even larger than what it would be with a full radio row. (Whether any host has made that reach is another question.) So that means for anyone broadcasting live, while you still have the work of setting them up with lots of bandwidth, the payoff for SHOT and the vendors has more potential than your general regional radio host.
When you consider that podcasters don’t need to broadcast live if they have purchased their own recording software and gear, then there’s zero effort for a small payoff. Although considering how small most podcasting audience numbers are, it may not be worth the time of most staff at an event like SHOT. Plus, because it’s not written word, vendors must hope that podcasters have some sense of SEO in order to make the archived broadcast turn up in search results.
The most prominent of online broadcasters from SHOT would have to be NRA News. They will be broadcasting live beginning at noon on Thursday and Friday. But perhaps the most interesting element of the NRA News coverage is that it doesn’t stop on the show floor. They actually give vendors and newsworthy organizations year-round coverage when they replay the interviews during their regular show breaks.
However, their big weakness is the lack of linkable/embeddable archives. Add into that the fact that with a flash-only site, it can’t be searched through Google. In order to get the most out of these interviews, companies need to have someone who can record them when they air or request a digital copy from the broadcaster. It would be wise for new media PR staff to set up YouTube channels and special pages on the company website to highlight positive interviews. Integrate these with other new media efforts and traditional marketing videos to keep content fresh for the most dedicated followers. By making versions that can be embedded, a company’s most ardent supporters can become an army of advertisers.
For podcast interviews, I still suggest that companies get copies before the interview goes live so they can do their own editing. With a relatively basic video program, b-roll can be added to the audio to really spice it up, and highlight what you want in order to share it with your biggest fans online.
One of the issues podcasters will face when dealing with PR folks is that their reach, while easily measurable, is tiny compared to radio (internet or broadcast) and there’s less direct return. However, whenever it’s viewed as part of a community-wide conversation, it’s worthwhile for the new media PR to at least pay attention once a year. Is SHOT the best time? Depends on the company and what they have to offer. It’s definitely appropriate at the NRA Exhibits.
UPDATE: I see one vendor did decide to host a radio show in their booth on Sunday. ACR Electronics has announced they will host “Xplor the Outdoors” with Jim Solomon on Sunday morning. It airs both regionally and streams online. Perhaps most beneficial to ACR and the other companies sending representatives to be interviewed is that fact that the show’s webpage features a very informative pre-post making it more likely that archives of the broadcast will be picked up by search engines when potential customers are searching for information about their products.