Crisis And Radio’s Real Role Now


(By Lloyd Ford) A lot of things go through your mind in a time of crisis.  Usually, it’s fear.  But we need to free ourselves of fear and also to help free our clients and listeners of fear as much as possible for the purpose of clearing our focus so we can create solutions that are best for our safety, our business and our economy.  That’s what FDR did during the Great Depression with “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He actually also said, “Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed effort to convert retreat into advance.” There it is.  That’s our solution as broadcasters and people. Right there. So, how do we apply that for local listeners and advertisers and strengthen our business today?

  1. In a time of crisis, some business owners will pull back from advertising.  This is actually an opportunity for other advertisers.  It’s just exactly what you hear shrewd investors talk about when the stock market takes a dive: Time to buy.  It is time to be top of mind. Your sales team should focus on looking for those advantageous and smart advertisers with expertise (a custom plan to be helpful to their business and images).  
  2. All media consumption will grow.  Entertainment is an escape.  This means potential audience levels can be higher and certainly more focused on really being present with your radio station.  This is more opportunity. Smart advertisers who can benefit now or understand the value of building bonds with consumers will take this opportunity.
  3. All advertising isn’t equal in a time of crisis.  All on-air presentations are not equal.  Connecting emotionally with your audience (and consumers for advertisers) is powerful, important and critical in a time of crisis.  It also pays long term performance benefits.
  4. In the end, it isn’t what you accomplishIt’s how you make people feel.  Advertisers – and your radio station, too – should be focused on how listeners feel and how you make them feel about you during this time.  Doing so by not hard selling and making real connections is more powerful than you realize when times are uncertain.
  5. Point to hope, sunny days ahead.  You may think this is difficult because none of us knows the future, but we do know this:  In each crisis, you have people who panic and say, “This is the end.” Well, that may be the end, but it isn’t the way to bet.  The world is undefeated. You can name six or eight crisis situations in your lifetime. And we recovered. The economy tilted up and good times returned.  It will again now.

Bonus:  Creating customer bonds is critical and powerful in a time of crisis.  The world will return to normal soon. No, I don’t have a prediction of when.  However, when it does return to normal, the radio stations and the individual clients in your market who took advantage of this time to advertise correctly and build critical deeper bonds with local listeners will benefit the most from the bounce up that is coming.

Let’s not forget that radio is immediate.  It is our secret weapon. Use it. Focus on these important things on the air and with your sales team and their constant communication with clients and potential clients focused on making them feel better and being helpful to them.

When you put your fear down, the opportunity shows up quickly “to convert retreat into advance.”  Let’s choose that path now and become a blessing to people looking for one. That’s the power of radio. 

Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides behavioral and strategic programming to radio with RPC. Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected].


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