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Help Me Help You

I’m wondering if you can help me with a decision I’ve been struggling with for several months now.  I should start off by saying if you’re not a Twitter user, you’ll probably be indifferent to my dilemma.


Late last year, 88.7 WAY-FM in Nashville, the station for which I serve as operations director, began utilizing Twitter as an additional way to deliver traffic and weather information to listeners (@wayfm_nashville).  Through Twitter’s ability to deliver tweets via SMS, listeners can receive this information right on their cell phones.

While I’ve not yet collected measurable feedback from listeners on the usefulness of this feature (though I did ask for feedback on Twitter while writing this post), a number of people within broadcasting and other closely-related industries have called it “brilliant” and “really well done.”  Maybe they say that because we seem to be ahead of most other stations in this regard.  Though sometimes I wonder if stations that aren’t utilizing Twitter just feel it’s a passing fad.  Will they be proven right?  Too early to tell.

At any rate, my struggle lies in effectively connecting with listeners via @wayfm_nashville who aren’t interested for whatever reason in receiving traffic and weather this way, if at all.  I’m worried that some who follow us will be put off by these 3 to 5 tweets sent every weekday morning.

My first thought is to separate traffic and weather tweets from normal, every day WAY-FM tweets with the creation of a new, traffic and weather-only Twitter username.  This would free up the other username for general information, conversation and contesting.

With this in mind, I grabbed @WAYtoWorkUpdate, which is how we refer to the updates on the air during the morning show.  Next would come the somewhat difficult task of communicating the change on the air, not to mention the added burden of keeping up with an additional username (not only for us, but potentially for those following us).

So, where to go from here?  I would love to get your thoughts and opinions on this in the comments.  Thank you in advance for your time.  By the way, if you’re not in the Nashville market, you can sample WAY-FM online at wayfm.com.  I’d be curious to get your general thoughts on the station as well.

Photo credit, Lee Nachtigal


13 Responses

  1. I am an online listener of WayFM and have been since 1999. I have never lived in Nashville and really have no need to know about the traffic reports.

    I do think the utilization of Twitter to send tweets about traffic tie ups is a good one as it is a good tool for those it affects. I just hope that those receiving the “tweets” are NOT doing so while driving or the tweets might actually cause the traffic jams! LOL

    I think having a different Twitter username for the radio station vs. the traffic reports is a great way to differentiate between the two and still provide a service to all of your listeners.

    Keep up the great work in your local community, and in the community of believers!

  2. Thanks for the input Susan.

  3. Honestly, your name is too long and won’t draw the audience your looking for.

    Make it worth your while – @NashvilleTraffic isn’t taken by anyone. I’d grab that make the description WayFM presents Nashville Traffic (or something) that way you can grab a city wide audience and not just the WayFM audience.

  4. Thanks Tim. I considered @NashvilleTraffic at one point (it’s actually one too many letters). Funny you thought my name (@WAYtoWorkUpate) was too long, but you suggest one that Twitter won’t allow. 🙂

    I also didn’t like the fact that “WAY-FM” or “WAY” is not in the username. I too saw that @NashTraffic is already in use. Not sure who’s behind it. I’ve shied away from traffic-centric names because we also include weather updates with these tweets. I feared a name like the ones above would be too specific.

    I hear what you’re saying about the name’s length. I’ll have to give that some thought.

  5. I think that separating the two is an awesome idea. I listen to wayfm for the music and encouragement. Traffic and weather is a nice extra but personally, I wouldn’t notice if it wasn’t there. Twitter users are primarily a young generation, and your main twitterness would appeal to them, but having the @WAYtoWorkUpdate for those who are interested in that is a great idea.

    Plus it would save the 3-5 texts for people who aren’t on an unlimited plan and don’t care about traffic and weather but still want to Twitter with wayfm. 🙂

  6. Thank you Rachel. You’ve described exactly where I’m at with it right now. I’m definitely leaning that direction. The difficult part, as I mentioned in the post, will be communicating the change on the air. It has to be simple. It’s not impossible, but it won’t be easy. If and when you hear this on the air, know that you had a hand in making it happen.

    I’m curious to know more of your thoughts related to the traffic and weather updates heard on the air. Is this information you typically get elsewhere and therefore don’t need by the time you turn on your radio? Is your commute a short one? Do you work from home? Enlighten me. 🙂

    We’ve not actually offered afternoon or “WAY Home” updates for about 5 or 6 months. Not until yesterday, when I tweeted about the issues discussed in this post, had a single listener mentioned missing the afternoon versions.

  7. I provide in-home daycare 10 minutes from where I live, so traffic info is rarely needed for me. And I never really pay attention to weather forecasts, strangely enough! I’m a live-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, look-outside-to-see-if-it’s-raining kind of person I guess. 🙂

    As to how to smoothly and easily communicate the change on the air, why not change without fanfare, like the afternoon updates did? You could have Nikki announce to follow @WaytoWorkUpdate on Twitter for weather and traffic updates, before or after the updates themselves, and not even explain the change. Those who care about the updates, will notice and change accordingly. Keep advertising the primary @wayfm, and everybody’s happy.

    Just my unprofessional opinion. 🙂

    Thanks for the discussion Jeff! Keep up the AWESOME work!

  8. Oops! It’s Katie that does traffic and weather! (Never paid attention until this morning!) Sorry Katie!

  9. Thanks Rachel for all of your input and for answering my nosy questions. I really appreciate it.

  10. Jeff:

    This is a great idea. Twitter is (if it hasn’t all ready) about to explode. While something else will eventually come along and replace it, using it now as an additional WAY to engage with people is to me the key.

    For instance, let’s say someone is running late, all ready on a call in the car with the radio volume down ( Yes I know, that never happens 🙂 ). If they received an update for traffic that helped them, that puts WAY-FM in the column for providing needed content.

    On the other hand, I do think that some may not want to continue following because of the 3 -5 tweets a day.

    I think media like us can have several twitter accounts, with different content. I think that’s the selling point of using twitter different than facebook for us.

    Let me know how it goes.

  11. Will do BJ. Thanks for chiming in and sharing your opinions. I’m very close to moving traffic and weather updates over permanently to @WAYtoWorkUpdate.

  12. Jeff,

    Just saw this post this morning and thought about what you are doing with twitter… http://is.gd/pfdO

    Specifically, commuter feed (I haven’t checked it out, just saw it and decided to pass along the info!)


  13. Thanks Stu for the link. I read Darren’s stuff all the time. I just went over to his TwiTip site and made a comment on that very post.

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