You are a local broadcaster – embrace it
I am a firm believer that digital broadcasters should adopt the hyper-local approach to their operation and become a station that reflects their local community.
Part of the mix is having local presenters who can refer to local events and happenings during their links (one thought per link remember).
But broadcasting some local news would really give you the edge and drive home just how local you are.
You can gather some news by getting yourself on all manner of press release outlets such as your local council, local police, schools…etc.
There is no copyright on facts, so you can repurpose news so long as you only use the facts intertwined with your own description and are certain the facts are correct.
But perhaps the easiest way to obtain reliable news is to make contact with your local newspaper editor and ask if you can draw on their news for your bulletins.
They will want something in return though, hopefully something easy such as an on-air credit. “News brought to you thanks to the Daily Echo”, or some such thing.
Depending on how you are staffed, perhaps you can start by recording a three minute bulletin to run once an hour between 8am and noon, and then update it for the afternoon (1 – 5pm) and then another (from 6pm – 9pm).
Repeating the news is not ideal, but it’s a start and won’t overwhelm you if you run a small operation – it’s an achievable option to start with until you can recruit more volunteers to take on this role.
You may even be able to have the news sponsored by a local business – which can be fine until that local business becomes the subject of a negative news report. If so, you will find yourself facing an ethical issue. Broadcast it and bite the hand that feeds you, or not broadcast it and risk your reputation as an independent local voice.
Apart from the news, there’s your local weather, bus, train and traffic information and local events such as school sport results and such like. Reporting on school sports can be a huge drawcard to your station.
Let’s say your local school has 400 pupils. Half of them may play for school teams across dozens of weekend sports fixtures. Every child has parents and grandparents, plus there’s the teachers…imagine the audience for your school sports news show or segment.
Should your station’s name reflect your location? Rather than broadcasting under a generic name, how about YOUR TOWN RADIO? And use a strap line to describe your genre (non-stop 80s).
I grew up with Capital Radio (London) and Essex Radio in the county of Essex. The Essex name is long gone, replaced with Heart – which means nothing to anyone.
So if you want to be the local station for your area, adopt the name in your brand, nail your flag to the mast and own it.
Be an independent voice