It’s been over 15 years since I first started working in broadcast PR, and back in 2006 the broadcast regional landscape was very different. 15 years ago we had Orchard FM in Somerset, Sunrise Radio in Bradford and Juice Liverpool. Now Global owns around 70% of the market and the UK is filled with a lot of Capital, Hearts and Smooth networks. However one thing has still remained constant throughout, the importance and true value of local radio.
As the UK acclimatises to a new world of working from home and enforced isolation, radio proves its strength as a hugely valuable source of information, reassurance, company and most importantly, fun. As one of the most trusted and accessible forms of media, it is perhaps no surprise that so many are tuning in right now. The latest RAJAR stats showed that 48.1 million adults tune into radio each week and more people are listening for longer now that we’re at home more. The last 12 months through the pandemic has also showed just how important local radio is especially our local BBC’s for information local to us on the pandemic. Sadly for now there are no RAJARs as face to face recruitment of collating the data has been suspended. However with more at home I would have expected listening figures to be at a high as more of us listen in for local updates especially during lockdown.
BBC Radio and Education director James Purnell said: "People turn to us during significant events for our news and analysis but also for music, entertainment and companionship. That has been shown recently with when it was announced that local BBC radio would be creating temporary local radio output for new locations in Bradford, Wolverhampton and Sunderland. The rise in local listening comes down to many factors, with trust being one of them”
I have always been a fan of the radio since a young age and its always been my number one source for trust. Whether it’s my local BBC or even listening to LBC, I trust the information I’m hearing more than any other source, always have, always will and with two thirds of listeners to commercial radio saying that they tuned in during the Covid-19 crisis because they trusted the medium, it’s easy to understand why.
It’s not just information on COVID on local BBC’s we trust as we can vouch for first hand at Broadcast Revolution. We provide opportunities with spokespeople talking about a range of topics and provide a range of guests including celebrities, local case studies and experts. Whatever the subject matter our job is to make sure the story is as strong and relevant to a local and national audience and that the audience listening trusts the spokesperson and the information they are hearing. Local BBC’s also offer interview opportunities in their ‘Make a difference’ slot. Everyday every single BBC radio station across the UK helps to bring communities together to make a difference closer to home. This slot is very important to the local community and is a slot we regularly work with brands to get them coverage on.
It’s not just regional BBC stations that are bringing the community together and playing such an important role, the last 12 months have seen a rise in community radio stations too. Community radio creates communities. Talk radio invites conversations – so you feel connected and involved even if you are apart. There’s also something about the human voice. People develop bonds with hosts and this is a huge factor driving continued listening.
We may watch BBC Breakfast or GMB or listen to 5 Live and LBC more regularly for updates day to day on what is happening in the world, but it’s local radio that really provides us with a safe , trusted source of local information that you can’t find anywhere else! And I just love it!!!Darren Ruback – Director