One of the biggest threats to radio today are music streaming services. The second threat to radio in all its forms are boring DJs who think a link consists of “that was and this is”.
And sometimes lazy links such as these aren’t always the presenter’s fault because they are under pressure by their bosses to move from one song to the next ASAP for fear the listener will flick to another station. Then there is the commercial crunch to get those ads played out too.
However, I believe listeners want more. If they are to give you their time they want to hear something of value. And that value will be great music, news, commentary, opinion or some insight that will make them think. Something that resonates with them – a water cooler moment in the making.
It could be news about a performance artist, film, TV show, politics, a book, world affairs – whatever fits your station or the show. It doesn’t have to be deep, lengthy, or disturbing, but it does have to be interesting and entertaining.
Radio is supposed to entertain and inform (in fact its first job was to inform via Morse code). To do it well stations need entertaining and informed presenters. Not all presenters can be entertaining; but anyone can inform themselves and share it.
For example, one presenter on a forum was to interview an author and asked if they should read the author’s new book ahead of the interview – well, it is no good reading it afterward. It is good practice to spend at least a few hours researching an interviewee. That way you can ask informed questions. It shows respect to them and your listeners.
Dare to be different
Presenters are expected to, and need to, engage the audience – to give them a reason to listen and keep listening.
Your audience want to hear good music. Sure. But not all the same music that everyone else plays. They also want to know the person they are listening to puts them – the loyal listener – first.
What will win are broadcasters that can offer their listeners real value. Good music played by people who can also engage their listeners. Station managers need to take chances and let their presenters takes risks.
Internet radio broadcasters have this freedom because by and large they are not looking over their shoulder at some corporate sponsor waiting to pull the rug from under them.
Embrace that freedom for as long as you have it and give your audience something to talk about.