Clear Channel tries social networking

Mark Ramsey at Hear 2.0 points out that media juggernaut Clear Channel is launching a social networking service on some of their large-market youth-oriented radio stations. They are doing this via a white-label social network provider.

As you can see in the photo above, there is now a user by the name of Superfly on the Clear Channel Top 40 Hits station KDWB in Minneapolis, one of the stations in the beta group. They are calling it KDWB V.I.P. You can ask me to be your friend, if you sign up…

This is a variation on the venerable MySpace concept in both thought and execution. It is all there, profiles, photos, friends, etc., the provider, has given them a very basic setup with some templates and features. It looks passably effective, but is that enough to sustain a community?

There are fewer users [about 90 signed up so far, but it launched only yesterday], and those numbers are going to be limited primarily to local users. There is an advantage for the station inplacing the DJs and on-air personalities prominently. After all, this is taken on by Clear Channel not as a charity but as a promotional vehicle. That level of promotion would be a more labor-intensive project on one of the existing social networking sites; creating a universe of your own eliminates that. That’s good for the station, but does it translate into a sustainable community?

If there were a way to connect these members with the members of users at other stations in other cities, this would have a greater chance of success. If there were a content base outside of the 3 minute pop songs they play, they might have a chance. Are the local talents and remote events enough to sustain a community?

Is Clear Channel over-estimating the brand loyalty of their Top 40 Hits stations?

Am I missing something?

I think even NBC’s upcoming social networking venture has more of a chance. At least they have some content, be it produced or distributed.

Otherwise, this looks to duplicate the efforts of the existing communities out there.

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