An innovative new social media platform for community radio stations will allow stations to communicate and connect with each other. Comrad, launched by The Media Connection, is designed to “enable, inspire and link” the stations.
“Community radio is about community and development in communities. The platform facilitates direct communication with all TMC departments and allows for same sector, like-minded communication – between community radio staff and with other stations,” says CEO of The Media Connection, Judy Milne.
The Media Connection represents 135 community stations and provides sales and administration functions to those that have limited access to the advertising industry.
Milne says the company isn’t aware of an similar ventures in the commercial radio sphere. “It is one thing to have a Facebook page when people already know your station, but community radio stations are positioned to assist and be of value to their immediate local communities but often are unknown and undervalued,” she says.
“Comrad enables The Media Connection to know what’s happening with who and when so that we can help them to market themselves and share ideas, success stories and ultimately learn and grow with each other. We are able to use the information we gather to assist stations to move forward on a marketing level and to have an online identity,” says Milne.
Comrad, developed by Abundant Web, is already being rolled out and response has been “fantastic”, says Milne. “Stations from across the board all across the country are signing up, and although it is in its infancy stages we have only received good feedback. We have provided tutorials on how to register and how to use some of the available features, and each day the Comrad community grows bigger. It is our individual staff members’ relationships and interactions with the radio stations’ staff that is helping the process along. Aside from the marketing and the online announcements, the staff at TMC are encouraging people to join,” she says.
The platform is free, says Milne, and is ultimately about the “development and forward movement of community radio”. Milne says the data gathered will be used for promotion and marketing purposes. “Their independence is important and an important part of the way they function. If they give us events and photographs, we have a communal ‘place’ for that information, making it easier for us to help spread the word,” she says.
It doesn’t offer direct monetisation opportunities for the stations. “The shared knowledge of the community radio community may facilitate the earning potential of a community radio station but no, Comrad is not designed to earn the stations money. It is designed to enable, inspire and link them,” says Milne.
“We are limiting it community radio staff for now so that we can build a solid foundation and a database that will be the support structure for future.”
So far, over 200 people from various stations that have signed up. Any community station that is in the TMC’s basket of stations can join.
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