Let me be one of the first to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. This year is rocketing along at warp speed. I’ve noticed that just about everyone I speak with sounds like they’re on the fast track, working hard to make their ratings and revenue goals in 2017.
So with all the multi-tasking, meetings, and conference calls, you may have forgotten that yesterday was, in fact, World Radio Day. Or maybe you weren’t even aware that February 13th came and went with nary a mention of this event. You weren’t alone, because neither was I. Sadly, I did a random check of radio stations here in the US yesterday, and didn’t hear a peep or see a tweet about this annual event sponsored by UNESCO.
It turns out this year’s theme was “Radio Is You!” – a celebration of many of radio’s best assets, including the notion that it provides companionship to millions around the world. UNESCO consultant specialist, Alison Meston wrote a nice guest commentary a week ago in Radio World, suggesting different ways broadcasters might celebrate this all-day event.
On the assumption that for many of you reading this post, World Radio Day came and went, it shouldn’t go unnoticed that the mission of the event is a good one. Our medium needs to work hard to re-establish its value among the millions who turn on the radio every day. It’s easy to take radio for granted – it’s always been there, it’s free, and it’s convenient. While these are all wonderful qualities, radio’s share of voice in the media conversation has been diminished by the many options, often speaking and marketing with a louder voice. An event like this is designed to be a reminder of why radio matters – and that’s a great cause.
So I’d like to offer a few thoughts about how radio might work together next year at this time – activities that any station can pull off, whether you’re in Portland, Pensacola, or Pittsburgh. The key is to tie them together as a tangible reminder that radio is a vital part of the local community and listeners’ lives.
- Speak at a high school or college class. We know how crucial the young generation is to the ongoing health of the radio business. Making an appearance (or two) in area schools helps cement radio’s local roots, while reminding groups of kids (and by extension, their parents an teachers) that radio very much matters. Bring DJs, lots of swag, and have fun.
- Choose a local charity or community organization and hold a fund-raiser. I know, you do these things throughout the year, so what’s the big deal? But connecting a charitable activity to a larger celebration of radio puts a different spin on all those events that dot your calendars throughout the year.
- Remind the audience all the ways they can access your content. Stations often go to great expense to create streams, podcasts, web resources, and apps – and then fail to clearly communicate all those distribution outlets to listeners. Put it all together for your audience, letting them know all the modern ways they can enjoy who you are, what you do, and all the different gadgets, devices, and platforms on which you make it available to them.
- Take them behind the velvet ropes. Shoot a video (it doesn’t have to be Scorsese quality) of your best jock giving a station tour – the studio, the prize closet, the jock lounge – all the places they never see. Even if your station isn’t a showplace, your fans will love the tour, especially those unexpected “inside” things that gives your station uniqueness and charm.
- Host an open house. Open the station for the entire day and give tours every hour. I see this all the time when we hold Listener Advisory Groups at the station. Fans love to tour the station, taking selfies just about everywhere. And of course, those photos are shared with friends and family throughout their favorite social media channels. It’s a great celebration of your station, and you’ll feel good watching them enjoying themselves in your hallways.
Thanks to UNESCO for helping remind the world that radio is the universal, essential medium. These are all low-budget activities in celebration of World Radio Day that any station can do. I’m sure that many of you can think of other simple-to-execute activities that serve as tributes to radio.
In fact, don’t wait until next year to put them into practice. Think of this as a belated birthday. It’s never too late to celebrate something truly wonderful.
Do them now.
Thanks to Seth Resler for reminding ME yesterday was World Radio Day!
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,000 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.