(By Randy Lane) Many of us are feeling disconnected, lonely, fearful, nervous and even panic stricken during this quarantine. Radio’s secret sauce, its relevance and distinction among all media, is companionship and connection. Local content is a major component of that emotional connection.
What’s Not Connecting
In the last few years, we’ve been coaching shows to minimize giveaways and “app content.” They are even less important to listeners during this lockdown.
- Contests to win prizes during normal times are only played by one or two percent of the audience. Now they’re difficult to execute, to pick up, and to use.
- Traffic reports. Even in Los Angeles, the traffic capital of the world, there is little traffic. Only air sponsored traffic reports, and keep them brief.
- Weather is less important for three reasons: fewer people are going to work, there are no events to attend, and most people check the weather on their phone.
What Is Connecting
For the second consecutive year, the Jacobs Tech Survey 2020 reveals that more people tune in to music radio stations for their favorite personalities over music. Authentic personalities form a relationship with listeners.
Humanize your station by replacing voice over and produced imaging during music segments with personalities. Tease upcoming content, including virus updates. Allow talent to deliver branding messages as well.
Several studies disclose that local content continues to rise as a prominent reason people listen to radio. Be mindful that local content must be relevant. Here are some ways to connect with local content:
- Find your own Dr. Fauci. Set up or expand your panel of experts. A leading and well-spoken local doctor can keep listeners up to date on virus-related information.
It’s important to note that the best experts are also personalities who can relate to the audience in a genuine way. Other experts who are hyper relevant now include nurses, health officials, first responders, mayors, governors, teachers, psychologist, family and marriage counselors, financial advisers, CPAs, delivery people and small business owners.
- Talk to local Coronavirus victims. Max 98.1 Memphis’ Danni Bruns of Danni and the Jar is putting her recovering father on the show to talk about his experience with COVID-19.
- Many shows broadcasting remotely from multiple home locations don’t have the ability to air phone calls. They are focusing on social media and text interaction.
- Another effective way to air more listeners is to set up voicemail that enables people to call and leave messages with questions and stories about what’s going on in their life during this crisisRandy Lane can be contacted by phone at 805-497-7177 or email at [email protected].