In the category of really cool ways to extend your online audio platform, Public Radio International has developed widgets that feature an in-page audio player, as well as headlines of PRI stories so listeners can freely embed them on Web sites, blogs, social networks and personalized Web pages. Individuals who subsequently find these newly embedded widgets can “grab” them and perpetuate the free viral distribution.
PRI produces and distributes programs such as “The World,” “The Takeaway” and “This American Life,” and distributes news services like the BBC World Service and Capitol News Connection. The Minneapolis-based network provides more than 400 hours of audio content each week. Headlines and audio in three categories are available in widget extensions that can be co-branded upon request. There are no setup, licensing or hosting fees.
The widgets are powered by NewsGator, the social computing company, which enables syndication, tracks usage volume, and lets PRI editors customize the widgets’ look, feel and behavior. The widgets help PRI capitalize on the radio listeners’ growing interest in the Internet: radio-related Web sites saw a 30 percent jump in visitors last year, up to more than 65 million, according to comScore.
Allowing sites and stations to carry their programming is an excellent way for PRI to extend their online audio platform. Clearly, they understand that it’s all about letting the listener choose how, when and where they want to consume their content.
In a similar move, CBSRadio recently partnered with Spacial Audio, an ad insertion and scheduling software provider, to distribute newsfeeds to all stations on that platform. It may not be quite as nifty as offering a widget that can be embedded into any station’s website, but the idea of extending their reach by distributing their news to online partners is a good one.