Ok, here’s an unusual way to use multimedia in your newsroom. Recently my newspaper The Spokesman-Review, signed a deal with Los Angeles-based Mapleton to produce hourly radio newscasts. These two-minute long newscasts are now being broadcast on a local news talk radio station as well as on Spokesmanreview.com. (Listen to a broadcast here.)
Two veteran news radio broadcasters were hired and a state of the art radio news production studio was built in the newsroom. Our “radio guys” as they are affectingly called, have settled in without too many cultural adjustments. The workflow changes for people in the newsroom have been pretty minimal. Reporters are being asked to record audio sound bites from some of their stories. Occasionally they are interviewed for broadcast about stories they’ve reported on.
The paper purchased 12 of the Samson Zoom H-2 audio recorders that are being doled out to reporters who are showing a willingness to help make the radio initiative successful. The headline news content being broadcast comes from stories written by newsroom reporters and from the radio broadcasters themselves.
So what’s the benefit for the newspaper to be on the radio? Brand promotion mostly and bit of ad revenue sharing. The radio studio was built to seat three additional people for live interviews. Future plans call for adding additional programming such as a public affairs and call-in type shows. It’s an experiment that has a lot of potential. We are rapidly moving away from being just a newspaper. The Spokesman-Review is now a multi-platform media company that is increasing its brand penetration into new markets. This is what I love about working for a family owned newspaper willing to take risks. Radio from the newsroom seems a bit wacky. I just figure you can’t succeed at something if you don’t take some creative risks to see what works. Time will tell on this venture.