The BBC’s plans to drastically scale back their local radio services in England have drawn a lot of criticism. Sadly, many jobs will be lost among the broadcasters. Also sadly, millions of listeners will be losing their friends.
Have a listen (see right) to Sally telling BBC Radio Lincolnshire about what the radio station meant to her while her husband was in hospital and she was all alone at home.
I’m biased. I’m a radio evangelist, but radio is uniquely placed as a media to make friends.
A good radio presenter is talking just to you. That creates such a bond. They’re not addressing the nation or a room full of people. They’re talking just to you.
A radio presenter will make you smile while you’re browsing round a store, make you think while you’re having a coffee or amaze you with some fascinating fact while you’re out walking.
That’s what a friend does. A real friend thinks about what you’d be interested in hearing about and they tell you.
Radio listens to what you have to say in a way that TV shows or YouTube stars can’t do. Most radio presenters love it when listeners get in touch. They’re sitting alone in dark studios. Contact is how they know people are listening! Radio presenters and listeners enjoy a friendly two-way relationship like no other.
💬 'You're a good friend'— BBC Radio Lincolnshire (@BBCRadioLincs) January 14, 2021
Your BBC Local Radio station. Here for you. pic.twitter.com/JC9FndjdkQ
Good friends always have your back. Look at the waves made by BBC local radio presenters when Liz Truss appeared on their shows in September.
If she’d appeared on breakfast TV, the then Prime Minister would have been asked questions designed to make headlines. The BBC radio presenters asked questions on their listeners’ behalf. From local fracking issues to investment in town centres, they pushed her on what mattered to their friends.
The listeners won’t forget that. There’s a small chance they’ll remember what Liz Truss was asked by Laura Kuenssberg. What will be long remembered is when Rima Ahmed on Radio Leeds asked, “where have ya been?”
Like your best friends, radio is there when you need it. The presenters become part of your routine. There when you get in the car to go to work, there when you do the ironing on a Sunday, there covering the football on a Saturday afternoon.
Who’s doing the six o’clock news on TV tonight? Who’s presenting Good Morning Britain tomorrow? When is Charlie D’Amelio’s next TikTok coming out? I’m not sure.
I do know Greg James will be on Radio 1 when I wake up, that Mike Sweeney will be on Radio Manchester later in the morning and John Pienaar will give me the news if I listen to him at 6pm. My reliable radio friends.
When we create radio stations at AVC Immedia, we’re creating connections that are much harder to make through digital screens or posters or newsletters. We’re making friends, building loyalty and generating warmth.
It’s truly a pleasure to do.
If you have an extra three minutes, listen to the rest of Sally on BBC Lincolnshire, it’s such a joy.
Written by Euan McMorrow, Content Director at AVC Immedia.