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Smart speakers won’t save you if you aren’t giving the best programming.

Over the last few months, public media has been abuzz with the idea of smart audio, voice activated interactions with a variety of audio content, including news, music and podcasts. Consumers have purchased smart speakers that respond to voice commands, such as the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, Google Home and Home Mini, and Apple HomePod in record numbers. Radio everywhere is scrambling to join in.

NFCB offered facts and figures about smart speakers in its January newsletter and on our website in several articles:

NFCB conveys to community radio stations a variety of trends, so you can educate audiences about your presence. However, it should be said there are issues to be aware of when pivoting to smart audio.

While growing, adoption of smart speakers is still relatively small. Many can find the 24/7 Internet access to be prohibitive, or the current learning curve and selections difficult. Although the digital divide is shrinking, technical and resource capacity challenges are real and persistent. This is not a suggestion to abandon smart audio efforts; instead, you may want to consider how these tools are best used for your community radio station and local area.

Ultimately your station’s programming is what keeps people with you, whether on radio or smart speaker. Stations are advised to regularly do program evaluations, conduct listener surveys and focus groups, and do the essential work to foster relationships with donors that fund strong programming, community outreach and initiatives that create results.

At NFCB, we have provided many examples of community radio programming worth noting, such as:

Our 2018 Regional Leadership Summits are intended to help your station connect its content strategy with engagement and revenue goals. You can learn more about attending in Grand Rapids, Charlottesville or Monterey here.

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