They already had the best website in the market, the best online/on-air integration in town and now they've scared up the dough and the wherewithal to kick it up a notch.
Digital will and the money for radio are scarce commodities around here, and you (we) should commend 'em.
Mynorthwest.com is the site for Bonneville International's Seattle cluster. That's the KIRO's (which include the ayem with sports talk and the blowtorching wattage, and the effem heard in the basements but not the living rooms - or vice versa- in homes 'cross the Puget Sound region) and KTTH, the satellite support system for Rush and Glenn Beck, with a strange and inadequate nod to live & local programming in the person of one Dave Boze (KTTH m-f, 3-4p).
And you know... they're right. Hooked up to a flock of neighborhood blogs, your own 'hood's or small town news comes right up. (KOMO's is far less direct: their neighborhood feature only has a few headlines in each and blogrolls these blogs). Mynorthwest remembers you and brings your chosen neighborhood up when you come back (or so they say... we'll come back and see: you know how soon they forget...)
There's the big news page which breaks news big and local, pithy and mundane, and picking up sexy, click-sucking headlines from talents' show blogs ("Monson in a Minute -Is raping goats really rape or... a precious boyhood rite?").
Bonneville writes: "... the new website makes it easier for users to engage with their favorite on-air personalities and listen to all the best on-air moments from 97.3 KIRO FM, 710 ESPN Seattle and AM 770 KTTH. If it happened on-air, you’ll find it in the new On Demand Audio section."
This is not new- but they get to brag it off: It's always been a strength of the MN site. We can quick check to see if John Curley (KIROFM m-f, 7-10) has shown up for work; if Dori has hated-on anything outside his creepy little realm of crunchy snacks, Ballard reminiscences, sports and old pop stars. (All with the added benefit of not having to listen to either of them on the radie-yo!)
We love that every single on-air talent on the KIROs must maintain a blog. And there are some great ones: Gotta say it, Dori's is; he can get listener's up to his page like nobody else. He knows, as do frat-boy wannabes Ron & Don, the best bet is to tease licentious YouTubes, then blog them. (These days, radio hosts can debate material the FCC would never allow on-air by the putting the offensive stuff on their web pages and alluding to it).
R & D's blog has been taken over by Rachel Belle, who gets it. Unfortunately, no one in the imaginary "Ron & Don Nation" apparently reads it- every comment string on every blog entry seems to be a string with Ron thanking everyone for participating in a Japan relief drive they ran recently. (the heat-seeking, tabloid Ron & Don Show is the exact spiritual and intellectual opposite of the NPR's All Things Considered, which is their biggest competitor and whom they, scarily, on occasion, beat in the ratings).
(photo: Bill Radke hangin')
We recently discovered Bill Radke's blog whose wry look at life is expressed in short bursts with no commercials. His morning partner, Linda Thomas is a veteran and prolific blogger who got the concept long before she got the job (it's part of the reason she got the job). Ross & Burbank's blog bears detectable signs of both hosts...
(photo: Linda Thomas gets it)
And that's a good thing. Even homey right-winger Dave Boze's KTTH blog isn't just a collection of videos anymore... he or someone writing as him writes words in it every single day.
Listener participation on-line (except when they're listening to podcasts or live stream) doesn't show up directly on the PPM's, it probably isn't paying, but it may be breaking even thanks to the HUGE, NEW REAL ESTATE SECTION pretending to be actual content and not an advertising section. There's a tech plug-in with GeekWire.com that no one will find or read, but probably pays somehow.
On the whole, the new site is easy to navigate and use for those of us with the Geezer Factor, the Ajax menus popping up smartly guiding the elderly as they should.
Bonneville's taken a risk, spent some dough to lead with this impressive experiment This interaction with listeners, this extension of personalities to the internets is what could save the deeply troubled news talk format. Fisher, with their KOMO is foolish to have let themselves fall so far behind. (Or maybe they'll just quit radio, who knows with them and their troubles).