(By Dick Kalt) The other day a friend asked me how I thought radio was doing in this digital/social age. I’m sure she was looking for a defensive statement because everyone is virtually submerged in a digitally controlled lifestyle. I responded that radio is doing fine and will be even better, because it is not just a delivery medium. It is an originator of content.
Radio should be the “connective tissue,” the key source of daily information for —and social link between — young listeners/consumers now and as they get older.
If broadcasters realize the power they hold in their hands, their digital, mobile, and social outreach and accessibility combined with their broadcasting coverage, they’ll realize that virtually everything that informs and enhances our lifestyle can start with local radio. The real challenge is how to make radio more important to the daily lives of its listeners.
Radio was once and can again be the foundation of every listener’s day, but that requires changing the way broadcasters view and connect with their audience. It’s a new, more social world out there now.
The Information Feed
As a listener, you’re looking for more than just music and basic daily info — you can get that anywhere. The key is to get new information that fits your daily needs and lifestyle without having to look for it, and your local radio station can do that.
Your station must again be the information and access conduit to what listeners need to know, to what they want to hear, experience, and talk about with others; you virtually have it all for them. Because radio is available through streaming and on smartphones as well as over the air, it is an instant connection. This is a huge asset. Think of it as a feed.
But first, you must know your listener and what is important to them every day. It’s about the value of information, regardless of age and lifestyle.
Listeners With Benefits
A listener’s time and attention are your biggest asset, but you must earn them. Give them added value; provide benefits that other connection options don’t. If you do that, they will find and stay with you.
Events are a good example. Radio should be the initiator as well as the companion for the day’s activities. Make listeners dependent on your station by doing everything possible to make local events and experiences happen. Find and create them. Don’t just stay in the background of the world they experience; become a bigger part of it.
Whether it’s a small-business networking event, or a surprise show at a local club that you announce on a moment’s notice (and for which you’re the only source for gaining entrance), or a series of pop-up promotions at various locations around your market, the key is to create opportunities for your listeners to experience new things they will enjoy, will think are important and valuable, and that fit into their lifestyle.
Serve Your Audience
Yes, it’s important to keep your advertisers happy. It’s important to keep your boss happy. But what drives advertisers to your station, and generates the numbers that make your boss look good? It’s your audience, and the loyalty they feel toward your station.
Participate in the lives of your listeners. Think about it from the standpoint of what your listeners want, and do that for them. Take a step back and think about what will make a difference to them today, something that makes them enjoy, feel, think, and share. Something that will move them to participate. They’ll remember where they heard it and who made it possible.
They’ll form the habit of going to your station far more often for the information and opportunities they can’t get anywhere else, because instead of their having to look for it, it will be given to them throughout their day, automatically.
Make your radio station a must-listen because you have become the connective tissue, the single source that delivers enjoyable and valuable daily experiences — on air, online, and in and around your market.