Radio’s Local Problem

localIn the past few weeks I have talked a half-dozen or so smart radio people from around the world — men, women, talent, managers, consultants, and researchers representing all formats – and we all agree that “local” is a major differentiation point for regular old radio’s battle against internet streams and digital juke boxes. However, there is always a caveat. It depends on how you and your station breathe life in to the idea of “local.”

One of the best descriptions I’ve heard recently is being local in radio means “living and playing in the community you are broadcasting to and reflecting your experiences on air.”

It’s less about finding stories that happened in your city. (Ex. “There has been a shooting in the 1400 block of Elm Street. No injuries.” or “A local boy is growing his hair to raise money for a sick friend.”) It’s about the details you choose to share in small ways that signal to the listener you are one of them.

It’s the difference between announcing  how cool it is your favorite band is playing at a local club or talking about how the last time you were at the local club you were reminded how awesome the acoustics are and you can’t wait to see your favorite band play there. It’s a subtle, but important difference.

I often explain to talent that local is less about location and more about sharing, reflecting and exploring those things that impact most of your listeners in an emotional, physical or mental way.


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