I’ve just returned from a canny trip to the North East!
While I was there, a friend suggested I popped into Pride Radio in Newcastle to see the set up and meet Richard Kell, the man running the show.
To say I was impressed is an understatement!
What a guy! What a station! What passion!
Richard’s enthusiasm and energy for this community station was extremely infectious. I got the full tour (which included TV studios and state-of-the-art OB facilities); I saw how the presenters worked remotely and heard how the imaging from the team at Ignite complemented the upbeat, fresh sound of Pride. The whole experience reminded me of why I got into radio in the first place. It’s a slick, well-run operation that truly reflects what’s going on in its patch while sticking to its clear brand values. Pride is definitely punching!
MKFM in Milton Keynes is the same. An organised community radio station that provides a highly polished but completely relevant service to its audience. It sounds (and acts) much bigger than it is, again due to the commitment, passion and drive of the team there.
The positive reaction these radio stations are getting from listeners is not just down to luck. Definitely not! Hard work, dedication (I feel like Roy Castle!) and sheer passion is infectious.
If you’re not passionate about your product, how do you expect your customers to be passionate? This is true in all walks of life.
Now, I’m not going to write about the ‘death’ of local radio but I will acknowledge that the whole UK radio landscape is changing. Consolidation and networking in the commercial world and lots of change within the BBC means that there are huge opportunities for community radio stations to really get under the skin of their locality. But in order to step up, this too, has to change.
Listeners expect high standards. Quality output is taken for granted – and rightfully so. If community radio stations really want to fill the gap that local commercial radio is leaving behind, then we need to hear a certain level of professionalism.
We’d like (amongst other things):
Well thought out and well delivered relevant content.
No self-indulgent presenters.
Nothing that challenges our concentration span.
A professional sounding product with some consistency.
We’d also like the powers that be to allow community radio to flourish in the same way that other organisations have been allowed to share content across multiple sites. The way it’s funded may need to be looked at too (but I’ll let radio guru David Lloyd explain that!) because radio, at all levels, is competing for the same sets of ears! Listeners won’t tolerate a bad radio station just because the presenters aren’t being paid and it’s ‘local’! That’s no excuse!
Listeners will buy into your product if you believe in it; it sounds like you believe in it and you’re passionate about getting it right!
Radio IS changing in 2020 but change is good! Embrace it… and be passionate about the future!