Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Community Feeds The Soul


Radio has the unique opportunity to be a community for our listeners.  It is human nature to seek out like-minded people with similar core values to surround yourself with; to find a place where you belong.   It is a simple concept on paper but much harder to execute in practice.

Music formats have the benefit of song to bring their fans together.  Talk stations have the power of storytelling and healthy debate.  All stations have the ability to do “good” in your neighborhood.    You can’t accomplish creating a community by being a jukebox without a soul.    It is not enough to play the hits, run a few contests and deliver Hollywood news.   You have to help the community connect on multiple levels to establish a bond that cannot be broken.    

Engaging personalities are the key.   Yes the word engaging is over-used, but it is oh so appropriate.  In the thesaurus under engaging you’ll find:  appealing, charming, likeable, enchanting, disarming, involving, engrossing, participating, absorbing, taking part, securing, retaining, and connecting.   Someone who exudes all of these characteristics is exactly who you need on the air. 

The key is finding talent who are interested in people.  You need personalities who have an innate ability to bring people together and get them talking.   People want to share.  They want to hear stories, give their opinions and have a chance to be heard.   The stations that work hard to include listeners in every break are doing it right.  It creates the perception that everyone listens to and interacts with your station.   It validates their choice, creates a human energy and gives them a sense of belonging to something powerful.
But that is not where it ends.  You need to connect everywhere your community is connecting.   Your text club, e-mail database, Facebook page, website and blogs are all important interactive tools that bring the community together.   These tools are no longer a luxury, they are a necessity. 

A true community has a kinship, a cooperative spirit, a neighborhood feel.   It feeds the soul with companionship, music, conversation and fun.   It makes life more interesting, bearable and worth living.  What have you done today to make your radio station a true community for your listeners?