The Importance of Safeguarding Your Digital Assets

Not long ago, we faced a heartbreaking reality here at Skyrocket Radio. Our dedicated server administrator, Nigel, passed away unexpectedly. Nigel was more than just an expert; he was a one-person powerhouse, managing his software company so efficiently that it seemed like he had a whole team behind him. His sudden departure left a void not only in our hearts but also in the continuity of services for hundreds of subscribers who relied on his exceptional skills. This incident has underscored the critical importance of planning for the unforeseen, a lesson I’ve emphasized in the past and one I want to revisit today with a renewed sense of urgency.

I did a podcast on this very topic a couple of years ago…

A Cautionary Tale

Several years ago, as we were launching a radio station affiliate website, we discovered that neither the station nor the station owner owned the domain name they were using. The owner, not very tech-savvy, had entrusted a good friend in town to handle everything related to the domain and station email accounts for a nominal monthly fee. On learning this, I immediately advised him to transfer the domain name to his or the station’s name, anticipating potential future issues. However, not wanting to hurt his friend’s feelings, he left things as they were.

Fast forward five years, I received a call from the station owner. “You were right, Jim,” he said. “My friend unexpectedly passed away. What do I do now?” He spent the next two months proving his identity to the domain registrar to retain the domain name and preserve the website he had spent years building. It required a death certificate and IRS records to prove ownership.

A Recurring Nightmare

Recently, a similar situation unfolded with another client who had bought a group of radio stations from the family of a deceased owner. This previous owner was very hands-on and took the passwords to the domain registrar and email hosting provider to his grave. When the payments eventually stopped, the domain was deactivated, and the emails ceased. The new owner had no choice but to change domain names and essentially rebuild the radio website from scratch. The ripple effects of this included changing email addresses, on-air promos, business cards, and more.

Preparing for the Unthinkable

Even if you think you’re immortal or plan to sell your radio station, this information is crucial.

What Are Your Digital Assets?

Digital assets cover two broad areas: ownership and access, and privacy. They come in many forms:

  • Intellectual Property Rights: Domain names, images, music, blogs, written articles, podcast content, and computer files.
  • Business Assets: Cloud storage, podcast services, newsletter services, streaming providers, website hosts.
  • Personal Assets: Email accounts, chats, texts, social media accounts.
  • Financial Assets: Online bank accounts, PayPal, etc.

Ensuring your radio station’s digital assets continue to operate or can be transferred after your absence requires knowing what you can and cannot redistribute.

The Show Must Go On

Your radio station’s digital portfolio might encompass many parts of your personal life. Here’s how to ensure your legacy continues:

  1. Make a Digital Inventory: Write a list of every application, website, and online service that requires a username and password. Include which email gets the reset link for forgotten passwords and note services that require two-factor authentication. This process ensures your radio station’s online presence remains unaffected by your absence.
  2. Write a Digital Will/Estate Plan: Choose who will take over your digital assets. If you’re a sole proprietor, your business assets will be distributed according to your will. For LLCs, digital assets may go to business partners or shareholders. Ensure your estate plan is consistent with state laws, especially regarding inheritance tax.
  3. Name a Digital Executor: If you’re uncomfortable writing everything down, consider appointing a digital executor. They’ll need a death certificate, a grant of probate, and their ID to access your accounts. Their tasks include managing your files, transferring phone data, maintaining your online presence, and informing digital communities of your death.

Just a Bit of Preparation

Thinking about something bad happening is never fun. But it’s reality, and that’s why we have insurance and create wills. Don’t overlook your radio station’s digital assets. If you hold the keys to everything, those assets could vanish if something happens to you. Plan now and communicate that plan with your family, station team, and trusted advisors.

And if someone other than you or your station holds the keys to any of your digital assets, take control right away. You don’t want to wait until something happens to them that may jeopardize your brand assets.

We want to help your radio station grow and succeed online.  That journey starts with an amazing website that keeps visitors coming back often.  Reach out to us to start your path to online success, or schedule an appointment to see our tools in action.

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