Ever wondered how radio station websites are made? Or maybe what you should put on their to maxamise listeners experience when visiting your brand online? I chat to Gav Richards, the CTO of Aiir.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Gav Richards, and I’m one of the founders of Aiir. My role is CTO which basically means I’m responsible for all the technical aspects of running the company.
I started in radio as a presenter, beginning with bedroom internet radio and hospital radio in Sheffield.
My first commercial gig was at Peak FM, followed by Hallam FM, Galaxy, and back to Hallam FM and Radio Aire where I presented Floorfillers.
Tell us about Aiir
We’re a technology service provider for radio stations, worldwide. Our main products are websites, mobile apps and ‘Studio Inbox’ – a social interaction dashboard for the studio. Everything is managed all in one place.
We’re a relatively small team of designers and developers, and my co-founder Ricki heads up sales and client relations.
We’ve been going since 2004, and we’re now in the USA, Canada, UAE, Australia and many more places. Along the way we’ve become IRN’s preferred partner for content, worked with Radioplayer to build the web console you see on everyone’s website, and we now work with Premiere Networks (part of iHeartMedia) for distribution in America.
It’s a really exciting place to be, and I’m very lucky to get to work with my team every day.
Which stations has Aiir created websites for?
We have an open door for any eligible station to sign up and have a website with us in minutes via aiir.com
. But in terms of stations we’ve worked closely with for a long time there’s; Planet Rock, The Wireless Group, Celador, Jazz FM, JACK FM and many more. Our first ever client was Hertbeat FM, now Bob FM, and we’re still fortunate to work with them today.
In your opinion, what makes a great station website?
One with a very clear focus. Each station’s priorities and strategy may differ, and not everyone has the resources of the larger groups. It’s best to concentrate on nailing a few features and the information that matters most to your audience than to try and do everything.
The user experience is crucial too. A huge chunk of traffic now comes from Facebook. Imagine you were tapping through – what would drive you away and what would make you come back for more?
What is your ‘must have’ feature for a radio station website?
Every station is different and we build the website around the station’s strategy. For most though, it’s fundamental to make listening as easily accessible as possible, and a great experience. A lot of our time, however, is spent on the back-end and understanding how we can enable our clients to make better content.
How do you take a client from no website to shiny new site with Aiir?
We work closely with teams and consult based on their requirements, building a solution to suit their needs. Some stations prefer us to provide more expertise and direction, others bring more of their own ideas. There’s a ‘back and forth’ process as the design comes together and is then built into our platform. After that, we give the station access and offer them training if they require it.
We love it when a new site goes live, so we’re sure to share it and tell the world!
Without naming any names, what’s the worst thing you’ve seen on a radio station’s website?
I don’t have any particular examples, and I never call out companies – if they’re not clients of ours today, I hope they will be one day. I’m just generally not a fan of when the UX is sacrificed, usually for short term gain with page impressions and ads. It’s a dangerous game to play – those people might never come back.
What is the biggest challenge facing radio in 2017 in a digital world?