CBS Radio Alum’s Neighborhood Station Shows the Power of Local

Stephanie Sanderson_400x400

Director, Strategic Marketing

cortelyou radio
The internet is making an entirely new kind of radio station possible: neighborhood-local.

Micro-broadcasting, once the domain of pirate radio and 1990 movies starring Christian Slater, is finding new life in streaming audio. No neighborhood is too small.

We’re always on the lookout for interesting examples of authentic local media and one station, created by a CBS Radio alum, illustrates that whether you want to reach a single block or a city, the best approach is local.

Cortelyou Road Radio was launched last December by Robert Clark, a 20-year Ditmas Park resident and former CBS Radio Creative Services and Production Director. In addition to an eclectic mix of music, Clark  serves up news and neighborhood information for the community. As an influx of new residents joined Ditmas Park, Clark started the station “as a tool to connect residents old and new.”

The station is available on TuneIn radio app, an iPhone/iPad app, and iTunes as well. Facebook fans can also listen on their Cortelyou Road Radio Facebook page directly. The station’s imaging is surprisingly professional.

Interested in music from an early age, Clark DJ’ed parties and weddings before landing an internship at Westinghouse Communications, now known as CBS Radio. In 1996, he introduced digital audio to powerhouse New York station 1010 WINS “as a way of creatively producing and delivering commercials.”

Clark asked his industry friends to assist in everything from writing to voicing ads for local Ditmas Park businesses. His experience at CBS was very helpful in launching the station, he said. “CBS taught me how to combine my ingenuity with the structure of radio,” he told us via email.

Of course this station is just one example of the growing move towards hyper-local news and entertainment.

The last few years have seen an explosion of hyper-local news sites, blogs and online businesses. In fact, Cortelyou Road Radio mines many of its stories from a hyper-local blog, Ditmas Park Corner. Because the barrier to entry is at an all time low for blogging and broadcasting, we should expect a rise in quality news and broadcasts from engaged citizens about their communities. And of course, there’s also the hyperlocal business model that we’ve discussed in companies like Ebay Now.

While Clark said starting a do-it-yourself radio station is easy, making a good product is not.  “It’s very easy to start your own radio station, ” he said ,”but very time consuming to maintain. Without the professional experience there is a lot of research involved. ”

He tells Brooklyn Paper: “I believe that internet radio is still in the infant stages,” he said. “It’s not going to do anything but grow.”

While much of the marketing push is focused on technologies for hyper-local marketing, like Conde Nast’s “Mobile to Mortar” ad-targeting, marketers also need to learn how to speak with, and foster local communities.

Over 90% of people over the age of 12 listen to the radio regularly, Ad-ology reports. Millennials alone spend 72% of their average weekly listening time of 11.5 hours outside the home, an ample time to make purchases.

The lesson is clear: communities are craving local engagement. Whether on the airwaves, at their local farmer’s market or on the web – consumers are demanding products that speak to, and serve, their local communities.