A common challenge for programmers is differentiating 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”. While it didn’t necessarily mean anything, it did suggest immediacy and authority. When listeners were asked “What station has Action Central News,” most were able to identify the station without hesitation. The same idea can be applied to traffic, weather and sports reports. By naming a report, it becomes the property of your station and associated with your brand.
- CUSTOMIZE IT. One of the most effective ways to link your news, traffic, weather, and sports reports to your station is to personalize them by linking them to specific reporters. If you are lucky enough to find an engaging talent, the station’s association with this type of reporting will be greatly enhanced. Auditors are more likely to trust a report if it’s presented by someone they know and believe they can be relied on to give them accurate information. Over the years, many sports reporters, including professional athletes, have gained fame as “sports guys” on the station.
- GIVE IT A LOCAL FEEL. Link your reports to the local community. This technique works particularly 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 ââthe city. Journalists may preface their stories with lines such as: “This is a report that just came in from the Kensington area …”
- OWN. Always associate your reports with the name of your station. “Here are the latest headlines compiled by the Hit Radio press team.” “And now for the latest traffic information from Hit Radio’s traffic guru, Bob Jones.”
- PROMOTE. By promoting your stories throughout the day, you can educate your listeners about your news programs. “Listen to Hit Radio Radar Weather tomorrow morning at 7:00 am and be fully prepared for the day ahead.” âTune in to Hit Radio before you leave the office to check the latest road conditions. We know promotion works, so why not apply it to your information reports?
One of the realities of modern radio is that the information we deliver to the public usually comes from an external source. For example, weather information is often generated by a central weather agency. However, this does not prevent us from making our reporting our own and linking it to our brand image.
By Andy Beaubien, OPI