Why You Shouldn’t Read Out an E-mail Address on the Radio

So for the last time, its time to take a trip along to James Cridland’s personal blog. He’s already discussed radio stations’ usage of Twitter, and website addresses. Today he tackles the problem with e-mail addresses.

James says:

It’s easy to say “Mail me – studio@smalltownfm.com”, isn’t it? Better still to say “Mail me – james@smalltownfm.com”, since that reminds people who I am. So, what’s wrong with that?

When your users reach for their computer (or email-enabled mobile device), almost all of them will have access to the web. Access, in other words, to your own website.

Yesterday, I pointed out that your website earns you money. It’s also a place where you can also communicate other things about your station – your big competition on breakfast, your latest new signing. But by reading out an email address, you’re giving a reason not to visit it. At the same time as you’re telling your listener to use their computer. This is a wasted opportunity.

For the last time then: if you’d like to read the full blog post then head over to James’ blog and decide what your views on the subject are.

Of the three blog posts James has made on the topic of the station-listener relationship, this is the one I disagree with the most.

As a listener, when I’m e-mailing a radio station, I want to know that I’m e-mailing a “person”, not a “website” and I’d like to have the freedom of sending an e-mail using my preferred e-mail client (Mozilla Thunderbird for me… others are available). This has the advantage that I’m not restricted to the fields you have in contact forms that may mean you can’t send a message without particular information.

For example, in James’ original blog post, the example used was that a form means radio stations could include a phone number so they can call the listener and ask them to come on air. Whilst it does make great radio, if I wanted to speak to the station by phone then I’d call them up, not e-mail them my phone number!

Switching sides, and as a radio presenter I have similar views. I think that whilst a contact form does mean the listener sees your website, there are always going to be those listsners who want to e-mail the studio/presenter directly and makes it appear more personal to the listener. (However my views on this topic probably come from the fact that I listen to BBC Radio where most presenters use their own BBC e-mail addresses; I’ve never really listened to the type of station that directs listeners to their website for e-mails).

Finally, I think that reading an e-mail address rather than telling listeners to “go via the website” gives them the feeling that they are e-mailing the presenter personally, rather than e-mailing a computer system.

Just to highlight… I don’t want to see forms deleted from websites! On a website, a web form is a brilliant thing to have. All I’m saying is that its better to give listsners the choice between form, or e-mail client. Read the e-mail address on air & read the web address on air… don’t substitute 1 for the other.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this topic though: is there anyone reading this that is a radio presenter with strong views on it. Similarly, I’d like to hear from someone that doesn’t work in radio for their views!

I’ll write soon…

Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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