A recent piece from Fast Company highlighted the work of US public radio station WNYC and how they are finding innovative ways to push the medium forward. It’s a great read.
For me though it reinforced the challenge facing radio, with one word jumping off the page.
As audience behaviour changes and becomes more fragmented, you as a broadcaster are now in the attention game, not the radio game. Listeners don’t have time for you unless you bring some value to their lives. You’re background noise.
According to Dean Cappello, WNYC’s executive vice president and chief content officer “You have to fight every moment of the day for somebody’s attention,” Cappello said. “And if you’re not doing that, they’re going to move on to something else.”
He’s right. If you don’t stand out, grab attention and be memorable, it’s over. Forget your closest FM competitor. That doesn’t matter anymore. You’re up against Netflix, Snapchat, Spotify, You Tube, World of Warcraft & thousands of other outlets fighting for attention.
The positives? In a world of distraction you can be the curator that pulls the best from all the noise. You can be the broadcaster or podcaster that illicit those ‘Me too’ moments that really strengthen that bond between you and the listener. Look at Snapchats biggest stars, they are playing the oldest radio tricks in the book. Storytelling, entertainment and authenticity on a one to one basis. They are grabbing a big % of that attention through building a traditional relationship with the viewer.
So when preparing for your next show, think ‘Attention’. Forget the long rambling links, add some structure and get to the point. Spend that extra hour working on your prep, finding those features that will make you famous for doing. Call a random listener after your show and ask them what they thought, build those relationships. Go deep with your data, use your analytics, what streams worked best, what podcasts got the most downloads, what tested well, you’ll see pretty quickly what’s working and what’s not. How responsive are you? Can you put unique spin on a breaking story? Put aside a day for planning for your next quarter, spending those hours ripping your show apart, amplifying the really great bits and coming up with the ideas that will get you your slice of the attention. I assure you that if you do even a quarter of those things, your show will be instantly better for it.
Now, have I got your attention?
Views expressed do not represent the view of RTÉ.
Photo: Attention! by msmornington
For a radio duo who know how to grab attention, read my recent post on Hamish & Andy