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Why PRs shouldn’t dismiss local radio

Clients are always aiming for national coverage with any broadcast campaign, and while national radio is clearly a great get, there are also other ways to reach your target audience. Local radio is a very powerful tool, but also one that is often forgotten or underestimated. Having worked in local radio myself, I can speak from experience in saying regional stations can reach just as many people as national stations in those areas, so maybe it’s time to change your thinking!

Image result for kate fallis the bay

Loyal listeners

Firstly, anyone who listens to radio is likely to be fairly loyal to their local radio station. It’s credible, trusted and probably something you’ve grown up with. While national radio will always be popular and relevant, there’s something special about listening to a familiar voice who you may also be able to spot at the local supermarket, rather than someone talking at you from a big city like London. My former station The Bay, for example, holds nearly a 35% share in the region – nearly 10% more than the nearest rival, BBC Radio 2!

More importantly, local radio provides news and comment on the most local of events, relevant to the listeners in that area. It inspires a sense of community spirit, and in my opinion, people listening to their local radio stations are much more likely to act on a ‘call to action’ that someone tuning into a national station.

Local angle on a national story

That, of course, means as a PR agency, you need to give local broadcasters a local peg to entice them to run the story. It’s a lot more work, but the reward will be in the results when your campaign goes viral over regional radio. Regional statistics are a good place to start – can you breakdown your national research into regions or cities? Next, and probably most valuable are local case studies. I always believe these are the key to regional success. If you have a case study for a certain area, chances are you can get at least a couple of local interviews for that person. Again, it means a lot more work and organisation, but it means a station that wouldn’t usually be interested in your story can put their own spin on it and tap into a great audience.

“…people listening to their local radio stations are much more likely to act on a ‘call to action’ that someone tuning into a national station.”

More airtime

Another perk to unlocking your local radio potential is that fact that you are more likely to be given more airtime. Local radio has a bit more time to delve deeper into issues, rather than quickly touching on them before moving onto something else more important. Regional stations will typically run a longer interview, and there is more time in news bulletins to run a story with audio clips.

They’re not like they used to be

Image result for partridge radio gif

Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge in ‘Mid Morning Matters’ Baby Cow Productions

It’s not all ‘Mid-Morning Matters’ – the quality of production and presenting is higher than even at local radio stations, and many of our clients and spokespeople will say that they enjoy the local interviews more than the nationals. The stations have professional news teams and agendas (I was a newsreader and reporter at The Bay and Lakeland Radio) that combine big national and smaller, regional news items.

As well as dramatically improving your total listener reach, local radio can provide quality, targeted interviews that are both entertaining, and likely to provoke a response on a ‘call to action’. By going the extra mile and sourcing case studies that can provide a local link to the campaign, PR teams can tap into a fantastic market of engaged listeners right across the country.

If you’ve got a campaign on the horizon that you think would work with this strategy, why not give us a call? We’re always happy to chat through broadcast ideas. Call 0207 240 7373 or email me at kate@shoutcommunications.co.uk.

 

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