The Reality of Radio

Written by Lahra Carey

In comparison to the glamour of television and the tangibility of print, radio is often relegated to the role of the “poor cousin” in the media family. Consequently, it’s the medium that gets the least focus and practice.

Yet, in an increasingly digital world radio has an edge: it connects directly with listeners and offers an intimacy and an authenticity that words on a computer screen cannot convey.

If you’re going to take advantage of radio as a medium to get your message across, here are a few tips to getting the most out of your airtime.

  1. Be dramatic. The cardinal sin of radio is to be boring. The dial is always within reach and it’s too easy for listeners to switch over to another station. The same rules of controversy and relevance apply to radio – so exploit them!
  2. It’s all about the voice. No-one cares what you look like on radio – only how you sound. But if you don’t have any light-and-shade in your tone, you will ends up breaking the first rule of radio: Don’t be boring. So ham it up (a little) and let what you say be reflected in how you say it.
  3. Clear messaging. Your audience is preoccupied with other things. Mostly, people listen to the radio whilst they are driving their cars, involved with household chores, or at their desks at work. They are not focused 100% on what you are saying, so make sure your message is clear.
  4. Keep it simple. Because of rule number 4 (above), statistics and complicated ideas tend to get lost on radio. Ensure you have worked out your numbers to reflect the ‘close to one third…’ and ‘half ‘ statistics rather than getting bogged down in detail.
  5. Right of reply. Unlike the news-style of interview where journalists are mostly looking for a brief ‘grab’, talk radio allows for a longer conversation in which you get a right of reply. But don’t let having more time to talk make you feel complacent – get you key message in early and often.