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How do social media interfere in radio broadcasting production routines in periods of crisis?


Autor: Belén Monclús, Maria Gutiérrez, Josep Maria Martí, Xavier Ribes, Iliana Ferrer
Congrés: Congress IAMCR 2013 Dublín
Link: http://www.iamcr2013dublin.org

Abstract: Conventional broadcasters have smoothly inserted social media in their communicating strategies; mainly awaken by its relevance for performing an important role as a meeting space, as an element that triggers the emotional laces with the audience and as a potential broadcasting platforms to spread their content as well; thus, reinforcing the online brand and acting as a bridge leading the listeners’ flow towards the conventional listening. This strategy is partly due to the increase of users in social media such as Facebook and Twitter (AIMC, 2012). Perhaps this situation has interfered with the diverse use that public and private radio stations make out of the web: an institutional informative channel and a news website, keeping the social media profiles only for an exclusive use for communicating with listeners (Ribes, 2011).
In the current crisis context, broadcasters feel pushed out to seek for news business formulas within the new digital communicating ecosystem (Macnamara, 2010). This is a slow-paced and extremely complex task in the radio broadcasting environment, which still remains tightened up to an old fashioned business model and with still no clear strategy for the web. With any cast of doubt, online space has widely increased the participation roads in radio stations and it has opened the gate to the broadcasting continuum becoming an exhibitor of listeners’ contributions to the construction of broadcasting discourse. But, how does the potential presence of listeners in the construction of the broadcasting discourse affects the productive routines? 
This present paper presents the outcome referred to broadcasting production routines collected from the investigation carried out by The Radio Observatory in Catalonia (GRISS-UAB), that deals with the synergies established between the conventional broadcasting and these two social media: Facebook and Twitter (broadcasting content management, policies and strategies between conventional broadcasting – the base for the broadcasting offer- and its presence and use of social media). For that matter, there have been interviews and surveys conducted in depth with those responsible for the public and private generalist radio stations with the biggest numbers in audience; both in Spanish and Catalan territory (RNE, Cadena SER, Catalunya Ràdio and RAC1) narrowing down the survey focus in the first stage of the research upon the logical sequence of production that these stations deploy their flagship programs (prime time, 6:00-12:00 am), their big exponents of their broadcasting brand, and their activity in Facebook and Twitter. 
Among the most significant outcome, one might observe the lack of a character that boosts the debate in the social media and stimulates the audience to insert content which might be interesting enough to be integrated within the agenda setting. In certain occasions, the discussion emerged in Facebook and Twitter would not alter such agenda, heading up to parallel discourses which shall never meet up. Moreover, within the conventional broadcasting framework, the strategy of reinforcing the role of the radio stars blurs in the social media framework, mainly because those are platforms where each radio station takes different actions. In general, the use of social media and the virtual content production will not end up showing an economical return for radio broadcasters although the conventional business model is changing, it sketches the path of transition and with an uncertain result forecast.