At first blush, this may look like a post that is of interest only to radio people. In reality, though it caught my attention as a ‘radio guy’, it highlights lessons that can be learned by any business on the web.
Because of my love of radio, especially as it could be, and through my active participation with The Conclave, I’m always looking out for new resources that can lead to improving content and the talent that produces it. Hence my interest in checking out a new service called VirtualAirchecks.com.
For those not caught up in the broadcast vernacular the “aircheck” is simply a sample of on-air work like a DJ’s show or an on-air program of some kind. The practice of “airchecking” usually refers to a talent sitting down with their boss or talent coach and reviewing the recorded sample looking for ways to improve the content moving forward. I’m sorry to say, this is something that happens less and less frequently as Program Directors become responsible for an ever increasing list of duties they can no longer delegate…because those to delegate to are being “downsized”.
Anyway, VirtualAirchecks.com offers a service for talent to upload their 7 minute aircheck to the site. It is then reviewed by “a panel of PD’s with over 70 years of combined experience.” and a complete report is then sent back to the talent with comments and coaching tips. This is all done for the low, low price of $24.95…and up. On the face of it, this is a very solid idea.
Here’s the problem…who the hell is VirtualAirchecks.com? Okay, as you surf about the site you’ll see that the service is a product of Radio Branding Solutions. Great… who the hell is RBS (I mean besides the developers of Hippie Radio)? Their site is still under construction.
Suppose I’m a talent that is in search of some honest critique of my work. Am I seriously going to upload my work to an anonymous website and pay 25 bucks (a sum that is substantial to a talent, especially one that is just starting out and looking for feedback.) for a critique from a nameless faceless website? I think not. How do I know I won’t be spammed by a multitude of equally mysterious websites? How do I know my work won’t be sampled, my ideas stolen, or if my voice will wind up on a station I don’t work for?
This appears to be another example of a company having absolutely no idea how online services are suppose to work. It also once again points out how “new” media differs from traditional. In the online space, as well as in business in general in ever increasing need, transparency is vital. Transparency leads to trust. Trust leads to a strong relationship. A strong relationship leads to better and more lasting business.
Listen up VirtualAirchecks.com. Right now my impression is that you have no faith that a talent or a producer would be impressed by your panel of PD’s and are hoping that the idea alone will get them to send you money. What stops me from offering the same service for the same price and then passing the tape off to my 13 year old son to tell me what he thinks? Nothing.
Tell me who you are! Not what products you have or services you offer but who are the people involved. Tell me who is going to listen to my aircheck. Are they names I know, respected in the industry, still alive? In short, who am I going to pay my money to for their opinion? Keep me and my stuff private. Be sure and give me a statement that tells me my audio is private, my info won’t be sold and I won’t be spammed. Until that time, you’ll have a good idea and splashy site.
A couple of requests here: Broadcast press…do some background checking before you endorse a site. In the instances I noted this service, none were identified as ads. (That’s a whole other challenge.) Radio PD’s, take a breath and see if you can give something else up to make time to aircheck your talent so that this sort of service is a luxury…not a necessity.