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Radio 4 and the #airspace trend

When NATS in Swanwick suffered a computer failure on Friday dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed across Britain’s airports.

It was the lead news item of the afternoon and as the story curve built BBC Radio 4 jumped in with this useful, relevant and timely tweet, complete with the trending hashtag of the hour, #airspace.

BBC Radio 4 had recently run in an off-peak evening slot a documentary about the modernisation of Air Traffic Control. That’s business-as-usual for the UK’s intelligent speech network but when the subject of Air Traffic Control became the major trending story on social media Radio 4 inserted itself quickly into the trend.

The hashtage #airspace reached 5.5 million timelines (Source: hashtracking) within four hours and Radio 4’s tweet was published right as the momentum was building.

Tweets and deliveries for the #airspace hashtag between 3pm and 6pm on Friday 12 December 2014

Tweets and deliveries for the #airspace hashtag between 3pm and 6pm on Friday 12 December 2014

BBC Radio 4 is the ninth most-followed radio station on Twitter in the UK with 210,000 followers and on this occasion was the third most influential twitter user to engage with the #airspace trend. (Source: Hashtracking).


Just one tweet showed BBC Radio 4 to be instinctively responsive and living in the same field of reference as its followers. Linking to relevant content meant the promotion added genuine value for people who were alert to the story but wanted more depth and understanding.


BBC Radio 4’s Debbie Sheringham has been in touch to explain, modestly, how it came about:


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