Is Local Content Surging?


(By Randy Lane) The importance of radio’s local orientation has surged since 2016, according to Jacobs Media’s 2019 tech survey. You don’t want to be local just to be local. Be sure local content is relevant to your audience. It must be A or at least B-level content for listeners to care.

9 Key Ways to be Local:

1. Hit relevant trending stories in features/benchmarks or lace them throughout the show.
2.  Become known for one cause or charity locally.
3. Create local interactive features like Bailey & Southside’s Smarta Marta at Rock 100.5 Atlanta and Edgar, Brian & Chelsea’s Freeway Battles at AMP Radio LA.
4.  Identify callers and texts with the part of town they’re from (e.g. Angela from Naperville).
5. Find local quirky and colorful people who can become recurring characters. The best local characters reflect the community — a cowboy in Denver, a surfer in San Diego, for example.
6.  Develop a local panel of expert contributors like personal trainers, doctors, relationship experts, film critics, lawyers, etc.
7. Reference specific local places. Rather than, “The hostess at this restaurant last night…,” say, “The hostess at Seasons 52 on Poplar…”
8.  Conduct a character definition exercise on your market for new shows or a new player. Identify the most prominent market characteristics: the biggest positives and negatives, key neighborhoods, hangouts, big local events, hot-button issues, etc.
9. Take the show on a local tour. Do the show live or go out to key areas in the metro and record audio with listeners. The Morning Bull (George, Mo, & Cowboy Dave) recently did their regular feature Fiesta Friday Live at several hot zip locations around Houston. They are a newer show and credit part of their recent Nielsen boost to the local tour.

Randy Lane launched his media talent coaching and personal brand development company in 1996. He can be contacted by phone at 805-497-7177 or email at [email protected]


  1. There is an assumption in Randy’s otherwise meaningful and sometimes (possibly) useful suggestions.
    That assumption: The presenters at any given station are already credible, interesting, can retain audience interest and have the ability to be, at least somewhat – influential.
    If not, any injection of local content becomes akin to slapping a little peanut butter on a piece of toast that started out as a slice of smelly, mouldy bread.
    The ol’ “paint-on Bondo” and “lipstick on a pig” scenarios apply similarly.


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