December 30, 2016
THE POWER OF LOCAL RADIO FOR PR
If you’re looking to influence behaviour, for example driving footfall into stores or to an event, then local radio is one of the most effective ways of mobilising an audience
Local commercial radio reaches a combined audience of 26.8m adults every week (half of the UK population aged 15+ tuning in each week), whilst all local BBC radio reaches 8.4m. However, these impressive cumulative numbers hide the true value of the local station network. That is the opportunity they provide to deliver highly targeted on air messages. In short, if you want to influence local behaviour, for example drive sales, then the local audience in each area is key.
For example, more than 2 in 5 people in Salisbury, West Dorset, Yorkshire, Inverness and North East Scotland tune in each week to Spire FM, Wessex FM, Yorkshire Coast Radio and Moray Firth Radio respectively. This makes these stations more impactful in their areas than the national outlets BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, as well as leading national commercial stations Absolute and Kiss.
Capitalising on the Opportunity
When developing a story to maximise local coverage there are two main things to keep in mind:
1. Local Relevance
2. Target Audience
These are the factors producers will be thinking about and the closer you can get to their thinking before pitching the story, the far higher the likelihood of success.
Every station is aware of their TSA (target survey area, or “patch” – essentially where they are broadcast to) and knows they are monitored for the amount of locally relevant output they provide.
Extract From The BBC Trust:
Remit for BBC Local Radio
“BBC Local Radio should deliver its remit by providing accurate, impartial and independent news and programmes that set local issues in context. The output should be relevant and act as a trusted guide to local and other issues for its audiences… stations should champion the local area and call to account decision makers…. Programmes should offer listeners the opportunity to contribute, and there should be opportunities for listeners to tell their own stories.”
Extract From Ofcom:
Localness Guidelines for Commercial Radio
“Legislation requires Ofcom to secure that local commercial radio stations provide an appropriate amount of… programmes including local material… A listener should get a feel for an area by tuning in to a particular station and have confidence that matters of local importance, relevance or interest to the target audience in the area will be broadcast.”
These extracts from the BBC Trust and Ofcom highlight the factors influencing interview bookers’ decision making process. As such, having locally relevant spokespeople can be crucial to the success of the campaign (for example case studies, who can be patched in alongside a central campaign spokesperson) and / or locally relevant statistics (ideally from new research you have commissioned as part of your campaign or failing that, desktop research that highlights compelling data already in the public domain).
In addition to being hyper aware of their TSA, every station has a very clear idea of who their target audience is (both existing and desired) and will always be judging stories they are offered to see which are most likely to appeal to their ideal listener and generate “me too” talkability.