The New Year has come and gone; now it’s already old enough for us to have broken our resolutions (or failed to start them), and to have questions about whether the coming months hold the same-old, same-old thing that has gone before.
The turning of the year is a perfect time to renew not only ourselves, but also our commitment to do the best for our radio listeners. To produce programmes that not only entertain, but make a positive difference in their lives.
How can we do that? One way is to take a step back and look at what we’re doing—to see what needs we haven’t met, yet.
“Roles of Radio” is a concept-book originally developed in the 1990s by FEBC International, to help presenters and stations identify how they could expand the range of their broadcast schedule to provide a more holistic range of programme content to listeners far and near (www.radioroles.com). Although the categories may benefit from a dust-off, the concept is still solid: too often PDs are monomaniacs when it comes to the daily schedule! We only think about one thing: getting the playlist sorted, or making sure all of our programme blocks are filled. But filled with what? The “Roles of Radio” can give us some ideas.
Basically, the 14 roles describe a wide range of functions, or types, of radio programmes that can be utilized in order to provide a balanced broadcast offering. Not all types are suitable for all stations, that’s true. But no matter what our format, we need to provide information (role #1) and entertainment (role #2). The third role, instruction, may differ depending on whether your station is a music format or a talk format…but some instruction is surely possible no matter what your schedule looks like.
Advocacy is role #4, and this is a good one. I have a friend in Asia who learned that a community leader was skimming funds from regular allowances the government was providing to people who had been displaced. My friend’s advocacy over the airwaves helped those in need to understand their rights, and showed what the corrupt official was up to. Even in a music format station, this could be part of a programme that provides a weekly update of local events.
Role #12 is celebration. That’s a good one for building interactivity into your programme—especially if you have a morning show. Do you encourage listeners to call with birthday greetings (on-air or off-air)? What about a weekly house-call to somebody whose birthday was announced—presenting them with a cake and recording their reaction for the next day’s programme?
I won’t go through all 14 of the radio programming roles; I’ll leave it to you to look them up, yourself. But do think about it. Whatever your station is doing now, or whatever your own programme contains—can you freshen up your listener’s new year by providing a broader range of content that meets their needs in new ways?
Even if you don’t keep your personal new year’s resolutions…maybe your station can help your listeners to keep theirs!!