Six reasons PR shouldn't ignore radio

Imagine getting your message out to 21 million people in just three hits. Sounds impossible, doesn't it? Here are six reasons to embrace radio.

On live radio, a client’s words can never be taken out of context, argues Megan Carver
On live radio, a client’s words can never be taken out of context, argues Megan Carver
1. Reach
The combined weekly stats for the breakfast shows on BBC Radio 1, 2 and 4 are so impressive that if you can get a story away across all three networks, you could reach a third of the UK population before most people have even had their second cup of coffee. And it’s not just BBC radio that offers this incredible reach. An additional one million people listened to UK radio in the last quarter of 2013. That’s a staggering 90 per cent of the UK population listening to radio on a weekly basis, with an average person listening to 21.5 hours of radio a week. 

2. Control
On live radio, a client’s words can never be taken out of context. Of course, live broadcasting comes with risks as you can’t make edits, but, with exceptional preparation, a large element of control can be taken and live radio interviews can achieve fantastic and instant results. 

3. Multi-platform means multiple hits
With new technology developing every day, radio reaches traditional audiences and generates viewers. Radio 1 not only broadcasts an interview over the airwaves, but it will often film it for its YouTube channel, which has an impressive 1.8 million subscribers. Throw a podcast into the mix and your content gets spread even further, evidenced by the fact that the Scott Mills Daily is the third most popular BBC podcast ever with more than 53 million downloads.

4. Place your experts
Stations such as BBC Radio 5 Live, LBC, TalkSport and BBC London are always looking for contributing guests to take part in topical discussions. These will allow you to put your clients on air to show off their expertise, creating a fantastic and free PR opportunity.

5. Connection 
Radio offers listeners, presenter and guests an immediate reaction. This was demonstrated perfectly last year when DJ Simon Hirst revealed on 5 Live that he was transitioning to female, to be known as Stephanie.  Within minutes both Stephanie and 5 Live were overwhelmed with hundreds of emails, texts, Facebook posts and tweets from listeners, which were responsible for the interview becoming 5 Live’s most downloaded news podcast ever. 

6. Media will follow 
It is unlikely you would get your client on Alan Carr’s Chatty Man one week and on Jonathan Ross’ show the following week. The same applies to most print interviews. But radio is less restrictive, meaning you’ll often hear an artist or guest on Capital FM then perhaps on Radio 2 the next day, or vice versa. This is because while other media outlets tend to be grouped by clear demographics, radio stations tend to have less distinctive borders and understand that despite having different audiences there is often large crossover of what their listeners want to hear, so they’ll be willing to take the same guest, but package them in a way unique to their own audiences.

Megan Carver is managing director of Carver PR and a former producer at BBC Radio 1

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