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Promotional ideas and technique. Always radio, always positive.

The reassuring role of radio in a crisis

Looting in London

Of all traditional media, it is radio which consumers say feels closest to them. Ofcom research says people trust news on radio more than that on television or the web. So what positive, leading role can radio take now when the people who so trust it are surrounded by fear?

It’s easy to believe that today’s national, corporate, brand-led radio finds it harder to properly understand and serve individual communities than the small stations with big teams of the past. But radio listening is higher than ever and the intrinsic value of the medium remains. Now’s the time to use it, be bold and, if it helps your listeners, break format.

Capital FM in London flipped to rolling news during the 7th July 2005 terrorist attacks. Metro Radio and Real Radio in the North East have good form in news specials. Today, BBC Radio 5 Live has been so heavily dominated by live news coverage of the London riots that even talkSPORT’s lobbyists couldn’t argue with its content mix.

So whatever size radio station you’re at, put aside your carefully balanced market positioning and your brand personality for a moment. Forget your marketing plan. Don’t attempt some cackhanded ploy to gain reflected glory. It’s time to think only about your listeners and what they need most right now.

Listeners tomorrow morning will be turning on their favourite station and trying to make sense of the news and what it means for them. In crisis we all need leadership and radio remains “a trusted friend”. There’s no better time for radio to reward the trust it has earned from its listeners.

Picture: Looting in London by ssoosay, on Flickr, used under licence.