Generally speaking, people don’t need local radio to get the latest song from their favorite artist, or to hear new music from the next big star. With the Internet and the widespread use of smartphones, music is nearly always available anytime and anywhere. In the ever-changing, fast paced world of broadcast media, a question that can come up is simply, “Why local?”
It’s a great question, and as local leaders in the industry of broadcasting, it’s a question that each one of us should be taking very seriously. In order for local broadcast to remain current and relevant, we need to understand what the audience can get from staying local that they can’t get from any other source.
As local broadcasters, we can provide our audiences with the sense of local community that they cannot get anywhere else. Alongside the music and national news and sports that they can find anywhere, we offer them a taste of home. Listeners appreciate hearing the small things – a reference to a local favorite food, a small piece of shared local history, a local colloquialism – that signals that the listener belongs. In the quick and busy world that we live in, each of us and our listeners can easily feel like we’re trekking through our days alone. Done right, our local broadcasts can ease that burden by helping our listeners feel connected.
Another invaluable benefit that comes with staying local is our ability to offer local DJ’s and on-air personalities that are relatable and accessible. Alongside the music and news comes banter and information, and with open phone lines and the Internet, there is even the opportunity to connect one-on-one with a favorite radio personality.
Finally, listeners who stay local enjoy the opportunity to hear local news and events and stay up-to-date on the happenings in their local community. They get to hear local play-by-play sports, they get to hear from local area business owners and experts, and they have the chance to participate in contests and promotions alongside their friends and neighbors.
As you move forward, I encourage you to think about a new question: “What does my station or stations have to offer that a listener simply cannot get anywhere else?” In this ever-changing industry, this is how we move into the future; by sticking to our roots.