When Bill Wilson was in charge of content at AOL, he launched dozens of niche sites under their own sub-brands—everything from Daily Finance to country-music site The Boot. Last February, Wilson left AOL and landed at Townsquare Media, a radio company which owns 171 local stations. As the chief digital officer at Townsquare, he is bringing some of the niche media strategy he developed at AOL, along with hiring a crew of former colleagues, and applying it to Townsquare’s local radio websites.
Today, Townsquare relaunched 30 of its local radio websites in markets like Buffalo and Peoria, along with a new overarching country music site, Taste of Country. The rest of Townsquare’s radio sites will be revamped over the next few months as well. Radio is already a local media. (It was local before local was hot). Now these websites will try to become a resource for local news, entertainment, and other information—little niche media sites in their own right.
If this looks like Wilson’s strategy from his AOL days applied to radio, well, it is. And it’s not a bad strategy, either. To help him, Wilson hired ten former AOLers from AOL Media, AOL Radio, and AOL City Guides. The old crew is back together again. Can they turn radio into local web stars?