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Janet Roberts

Interview, Part Two: Robert Shiflet, WBAP News & Views
By Janet Roberts

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In the previous Ezine-Tip, we introduced WBAP News & Views, a monthly email newsletter issued by WBAP News Talk 820, a Dallas-Fort Worth radio station. WBAP's Internet marketing director (and interim station marketing director) described how the station uses the newsletter and chooses the content.

Today, the nuts-and-bolts issues of publishing WBAP's newsletter:

Janet Roberts: Describe what a typical publishing day is like for you - or whoever handles the production.

Robert Shiflet: We have partners who are licensed to use the eNewsBuilder software. We had a relationship with InsightCommerce prior to beginning our newsletter - they handle our online malls for our station sites. We simply provide finished copy to them, give them the order in which the articles are to appear and provide any ad graphics/links. They put it together, let us proofread, then they send it out. All maintenance of the mailing list is done by Insight Commerce.

JR: Do you have a separate line item in your marketing budget for newsletter costs, or is the expense spread out among several departments?

RS: The cost is shared by the marketing and Internet departments, not really a specific "line item," but we get it covered because it's important.

Our budget for the newsletter is basically ZERO. Our Internet department does it, working with programming and promotions to get allthe content pulled together. There is a cost through InsightCommerce, but we have so far been able to cover that cost with some sales. We're still waiting on that "profit" to generate from the newsletter. We spend under $1,000 per month in total for our newsletter.

Regardless of profit, it is a great marketing tool and gives us a good communication venue with our listeners.

JR: How do you market the newsletter, and what is your most lucrative source of new subscribers?

RS: My first impression is to say our own Web site is the most lucrative source of new subscribers, but I know we get a lot of referrals from "word of mouth." We promote the newsletter on our Web site, but periodically do on-air promotion. That seems to drive circulation. We've gone from no subscribers to almost 15,000 in under a year. Our last issue went to 14,883 subscribers, according to Chris Donald at Insight Commerce.

JR: What are the goals for the newsletter? Does it have a lifespan, with an evolution into another form in a few years, or is its future open-ended right now? Where are you hoping it will be in a year?

RS: The Internet was supposed to kill newspapers - yet they're still here. Television was supposed to kill radio, but we are still doing fine. I'm sure the future of electronic newsletters will be different from today's examples. Since we are radio, perhaps future newsletters will be audio instead of print. I expect future developments will depend a lot on technology improvements.

If broadband becomes the reality it's been predicted to be, maybe on-line, interactive newsletters. In a year - I'm hoping the newsletter will be reaching twice to three times as many readers, still respectable in its content and very reflective of our station. I would love for it to be a money-making line-item instead of an expense line item.

Ezine-Tips for May 08, 2002

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