A common challenge for programmers is differentiation of their news/information programs from those of the competition. There are a number of ways to do this.
- NAME IT. Many years ago, a station in New York State identified its news bulletins as “Action Central News.” Even though it did not necessarily mean anything, it suggested immediacy and authority. When listeners were asked, “What station has Action Central News” most of them were able to identify the station without hesitation. The same idea can be applied to traffic, weather and sport reports. By naming a report, it becomes proprietary to your station and associated with your brand.
- PERSONALISE IT. One of the most effective ways to associate your news, traffic, weather and sport reports with your station is to personalize them by linking them to specific reporters. If you are fortunate enough to find a talent with an engaging style, the station’s association with that type of report will be greatly enhanced. Listeners are more likely to trust a report if it presented by an individual whom they know and whom they feel can be relied upon to give them accurate information. Over the years, many sport reporters, including professional athletes, have gained renown as the “sport guy” on the station.
- GIVE IT A LOCAL FEEL. Associate your reports with the local community. This technique works especially well in large metropolitan areas or regions. For example, some stations have localized their weather reports by adding weather conditions for a specific area of town. Reporters can preface their news stories with lines such as, “Here is a report just in from the Kensington area…”
- OWN IT. Always link your reports with the name of your station. “Here are the latest headlines as compiled by the Hit Radio news team.” “And now for the latest traffic information from Hit Radio’s traffic guru Bob Jones.”
- PROMOTE IT. By promoting your reports throughout the day, you can raise listener awareness of your information programs. “Listen tomorrow morning at 7 to Hit Radio Radar Weather and be fully prepared for the day ahead.” “Tune in to Hit Radio before leaving the office to check on the latest road conditions.” We know that promotion works, so why not apply it to your information reports?
One of the realities of modern radio is that the information that we deliver to the audience usually comes from an external source. For example, weather information is often generated by a central meteorological agency. However, this does not prevent us from taking ownership of our reporting and linking it to our brand image.
By Andy Beaubien, BPR