Friday, July 6, 2012


I just got back from a road trip with the family.  We ended up spending a few nights in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where I listened to a lot of radio.  One station stood out (which will remain nameless).

Listening to this station I heard them tout how they are "live and local."  One of their liners actually said "we have the only live and local midday show in The Black Hills."  This peak my curiosity, so I listened close and I didn't hear one thing that was local.  It was all just "that was...this is...coming name is" and "rip and read" show prep that anyone, anywhere could do.  No mention of time, things happening in the area or current temps (they did do a local weather once per hour buried at the end of the long stop set).  Nothing local, just a dumb liner that said "live and local."

Why do I think the liner "live and local" is dumb?  Let me tell you.

For one, I would argue that the average listener really doesn't care that you are "live."  What does that mean to the listener?  To us radio people we think of a live jock playing music in the studio, taking calls, doing contests.  I've never been sold that the average listener thinks of "live radio" the same way we radio people do.  Being live isn't a big advantage.  Being a relatable, genuine and real COMPANION is the advantage.  You don't have to be live to be those.

Second, while I think it's important to be "local", you just can't say it and not prove it.  Just announcing songs with generic, non topical show prep that you got from the internet isn't being local.  As researcher Mark Ramsey says, "being local isn't where you are, it's what you do."  Prove to me your local.  Don't just say it.  Back it up with actually being local and talking about things that affect your audience in the area you serve.  You can tie nearly every national story into something local.

I listened to this station for most of the "live and local midday show" and heard nothing that was local.  It was just another radio station with false claims and no proof.   It was all hype.  Nothing real or genuine.  They weren't even topical.  If you can't be local, then be topical.  Talk about what your listener is talking about.  Being real and topical is just as important as being local.  Look at Howard Stern or any nationally syndicated talk show host.

If you're going to make a claim on the air, you better prove it.  Listeners are smarter than that. 

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