Radio and the Loneliness Epidemic


(By Randy Lane) A study by PLOS Medicine reports that loneliness is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day! The US Surgeon General found that half of U.S. adults are experiencing loneliness, which poses a serious threat to their physical and mental health. The big reason is human interaction has been replaced with digital stimulation.

Additionally, people have become more isolated because of remote work, fewer people engage in social activities like church and bowling leagues, and many people do not know their neighbors.
Radio was the original social medium. Radio personalities interacted with callers and connected to everything locally. In the past 30 years, many music radio stations have weakened this differentiating attribute in favor of “shut up and play the hits” and glossy imaging production.
Survey after survey confirms radio’s greatest strengths are personalities and feeling connected. More than any other mass medium, radio has the opportunity to help alleviate the loneliness epidemic AND grow its audience.

7 Ways to Increase Companionship and Reduce Loneliness

  1. Establish morning and afternoon personality benchmarks. The cume in afternoons is equal to or higher than mornings in most markets. Hubbard Radio is one of the companies championing this idea.
  2. Increase phone call interaction. Interacting with callers can add humanity and entertainment value. Prioritize interactive games and story topics rather than text and designated caller contests, which have little to no entertainment value.
  3. Minimize produced imaging in music segments. Schedule talent to stay connected with the audience by briefly talking over intros every other song.
  4. Have a popular personality replace unfamiliar generic voiceovers. Bert Weiss, host of The Bert Show exemplifies this concept by voicing the imaging for Atlanta’s Q99.7.
  5. Humanize news station presentations. Hosts can interact conversationally on entertainment and lighter stories, weather, sports, and in transitions. News presenters connect with the audience by being news personalities.
  6. Ramp up philanthropy. Improving your community is an excellent way to connect with listeners and the community. Rather than getting involved with numerous charities and causes, champion one organization and own it.
  7. Increase relevant local content. Here are four of many ways to connect locally.
    1. Create and connect with local events.
    2. Provide a local angle on all national stories.
    3. Synergize with the community with activities like a beach or park cleanup.
    4. Identify the location of all callers.

Randy Lane is the owner of the Randy Lane Company, which coaches and brands radio and television personalities, business professionals, sports personalities, entrepreneurs, and pop culture artists, helping them master communication skills to have an impact on their audiences. Read Randy’s Radio Ink archives here.


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