Community Is the New Local

 In Blog

Since COVID-19, local content has continued to grow in popularity among all radio listeners. Jacobs Media’s Tech Survey reveals that local among women and millennials is even more vital.

Projecting a local vibe is just as important as local content. The vibe is about the local mindset and idiosyncrasies. It could be an outdoorsy vibe like Denver, a transient vibe like Austin, or a static vibe like Pittsburgh, where people are born, raised, and continue to live there.

Build a community:

Being local is more than geographic. Today, people join communities to feel connected to others who share similar sensibilities. Reddit has many communities to join, from fitness and film to Fortnite. Ideally, your show, station, or podcast builds a community.

On music stations, the community vibe can revolve around humor and fun, edgy and outrageous, and family-friendly (without having to say it). Talk shows can be conservative, liberal, objective, lifestyle, or sports-oriented.

Your community provides a place for like-minded people to connect and interact on radio, podcasts, and social media. The key is to serve, provide value, and communicate consistently with your community.

Transcend your show and station:

One of the most effective ways to endear a show or talent to a local community is to make a positive impact by supporting a charity or cause. Owning one is even better!

When the Radio Hall of Fame morning show Jeff & Jer was at the height of their run in San Diego, a caller feared for her life and emotionally revealed her husband’s physical abuse. The show started a home for battered women in San Diego called Becky’s House, which lives on today.

It’s helpful for shows to be involved in multiple charities and causes. However, a show can become known for one organization by focusing on it year-round. Heather and Wickett at Lazer 103.3 Des Moines are known for raising awareness and funds for the Iowa Food Bank.

How can a syndicated show serve a community beyond its content? DeDe in the Morning’s DeDe McGuire Foundation is a non-profit initiative that provides college scholarships to women whose higher education was disrupted due to family, personal, or financial obligations.

The Bert Show’s Bert’s Big Adventure is a year-round non-profit organization providing children with chronic and terminal illnesses and their families an all-expenses-paid, five-day journey to Walt Disney World.

Four ways shows are tapping into their local communities:

  1. Listeners want to see and meet you. The KVJ Show at WRMF West Palm Beach appears at live quarterly events in large venues. They all sell out, with people lined up around the block.
  2. Look for local, quirky characters who represent a market characteristic. For example, Kevin & Bean at KROQ-LA had a surfer from Huntington Beach named Fig on their show. Seattle shows could have baristas and techies.

What characters reflect your market’s characteristics?

3. Danni and Country Cory at Max 98.1 Memphis created a week of serial content with the History of Memphis Music. They highlighted the city’s rich musical heritage, where the Blues, Rock ‘n Roll, and Soul music were invented.

4. Jared and Katie WKZL Greensboro’s Local Talent Tuesday features a popular local music artist. They perform a brief song voted A, B, or C by the show cast and listeners.

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

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