Punch Communications

Punch Communications

September 14, 2011 07:15 ET

Radio Programmes Should Look To Attract New Audiences Via the Social Web, Advises Punch Communications

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Sept. 14, 2011) - In order to attract new audience members and refresh their overall appeal, radio controllers should put serious consideration to their social media strategies, says integrated PR, search and social media agency, Punch Communications.

Stefan Buczaki, ex-host of the long running BBC radio 4 show 'Gardeners' Question Time' criticised the show in the national media on Monday 12th September, stating that "the programme is no longer interesting and has lost its sparkle and authority."

This is an example of a format that could benefit from integration of a new level of interaction and engagement; social media would provide an additional platform to promote content, along with attracting a new demographic of listener that may be unaware of the show due to not being targeted.

Radio 3 interactive producer, Andrew Downs has seen the potential and has experimented with the use of social media channels to inform people about schedule and performances taking place at the BBC Proms. Andrew said: "It's become increasingly clear that social media applications now mean that the likes of Facebook and Twitter have a significance approaching the scale of Google's for bringing people to online content." According to Punch, the challenge for radio stations is in utilising the power of social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter for personal recommendation of both shows and content.

The real time element of social media can be harnessed to provide a new level of inclusion for listeners who can tweet and post directly to the show's profile as it is live on air or at any other time; this user generated content can then be included within the broadcast to both personalise and galvanise the relationship between the show and the listener. For long running shows this would provide a refreshing medium in which to provide extra content, whilst reaching out to a new audience that is actively engaged with social media.

Pete Goold, Managing Director at tech PR agency Punch Communications commented, "Social media provides an avenue for radio stations to explore that compliments their existing services perfectly. The transient nature of both radio broadcasts and social media communication lends itself towards integration, to provide users with a means of communicating with their favourite shows and also to bring a new and exciting element to broadcasts that may have dwindling numbers."

When radio programmes have run for years with no real innovation or adaptation of the format, social networks present an opportunity to engage with new audiences by offering content and connectivity that the radio alone cannot provide. There is no doubt that radio listeners are active on social media channels as was displayed in March of 2010 as the BBC announced plans to shut down their 6Music show, which was countered with the creation of a Facebook group to save the channel which gained over 100,000 followers.

BBC Six Music was saved thanks to dedicated listeners who utilised the power of social media to give a voice to their cause and connect with like-minded fans and listeners along with thousands of Twitter users adding a ribbon to their profiles and causing "Save6music" to become one of the top trending topics on the micro blogging site. This is a strong indicator of the connection between the two mediums, and the willingness of listeners to adapt and accept additional forms of communication between themselves, the radio stations and their broadcasts.

Naturally, radio channels with higher youth demographics are better placed to benefit from social media interaction in the short term, as their audiences tend to be more digitally savvy and open to digital innovation. However, for radio as a whole, it is time to embrace a long term strategy, and whilst the average Gardener's Question Time listener of today may not have the most advanced social media presence today, tomorrow is a different case entirely and the powers that be would do well to plan for the future.

Punch Communications is a leading SEO agency with a client base spanning the globe. For more information regarding Punch's services, please visit www.punchcomms.com, or call 01858 411 600.

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