WTMD launches social network for exploring Charm City

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Baltimore’s WTMD 89.7 FM and Urbanite Magazine teamed up to launch The Great Baltimore Check-In, a web-based city-wide networking game that mixes social media check-ins with tried-and-true radio traditions of trivia quizzes, ticket and CD give-aways and grand prize drawings.

The game, linked to participants’ foursquare accounts, is a “cross between a scavenger hunt and city guide,” writes Steve Yasko, WTMD g.m. It’s designed to break-through the social barriers of Baltimore’s often self-contained neighborhoods by encouraging participants to explore landmarks, attractions and businesses that are further beyond their doorstep.

The Great Baltimore Check-In is also a source for sponsorship revenues. WTMD and Urbanite are selling underwriting and ad packages to local businesses and planning a series of meet-ups and special events through the end of September, when the contest ends.

“I hope this offers a few thoughts on changing the way we think about web income,” Yasko wrote in a July 5 message to public radio colleagues. “The web is not an income source—it’s tool to support and expand those activities we already do in the day to day.”

The partners aim to enlist between 3,000 and 5,000 participants during the three-month contest. Within 48 hours of the July 4 launch, 350 active players had registered. Attendees of the Public Radio Program Directors conference, convening in Baltimore Sept. 20-23, will be eligible to participate, Yasko said.