with RCS

Radio websites shine in the snow

In the first couple of weeks of the year, thick snow caused chaos across much of the UK.

As the snow disappeared, commercial radio discovered that efforts to keep local audiences updated led to a surge in web stats.

Around the country, most radio stations not only provided extra on-air activity with snow-lines and school closures, but, for some, it was the first time they used their website to its maximum potential. (although according to this [link=http://james.cridland.net/blog/its-snow-joke/]blog[/link], some didn't bother at all)

Sheffield's Hallam FM took the online crown for Bauer’s 32 radio stations, recording over 50,000 visitors to their website over the two snowiest days – a 5046 percent increase to normal site activity.

On the other side of the Pennines at GMG Radio in Manchester, presenters were put-up in nearby hotels to ensure a full service was on offer from their usual voices. Real Northwest were the shining stars as site visitors rose by 683 percent in a day, helping to smash the group’s all-time page impression record.

Programme Director Dave Shearer said “It’s times like this when all of us at Real connect with our listeners and step up to give as much help, support and information as we can”.

UKRD recorded an average 288 percent increase in traffic across their websites. Star Radio, Sun FM and 2BR saw the biggest increases, with 2BR recording a 605 percent increase month-on-month.

Head of Digital Operations, Tom Probst, told RadioToday.co.uk they found the peak of traffic was around 7.50am, as audiences looked for information on school closures. “We have a great relationship with the organisations that supply information, however, nothing is quite as effective as asking our local communities and listeners”.

On the south coast (an area hit by the Heart re-brand in 2009), Managing Director of independent station Juice 107.2, Ryan Heal, saw a 400 percent rise in traffic and found the weather to be a huge opportunity to claim audience. He told RadioToday.co.uk that “all stations managed to cover things in breakfast – but once our competitors switched to networked programmes, we were the only commercial station able to cover the local effects of the weather all day. This was a real moral victory for the ILR’s over larger networks”.

While web stats are not the currency the industry deals in, the surges of activity indicate audiences still place a high value on local information on commercial radio. For stations that were in a position to provide it, they’ll be hoping that RAJAR figures will enjoy a knock-on boost.

Whilst this story is about websites by commercial radio, we appreciate the BBC provided extra service on their local area websites, along with the output of local BBC stations.

[i](Leave your comments below for any additional information you can share about your station's activities during the snow)[/i]

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