The Live and Local Difference
How Radio is Changing and What We Won’t Budge On
Most of the time when you turn the radio on today, what you’ll hear is pre-recorded. Some media companies even use the same voice in every one of their markets. They’re using talent that’s not only not local—but located nowhere near the majority of their listeners.
This wasn’t always the case. For decades, radio stations were required to have a main studio located within the principal community they served in order to meet its inherent function— serving the needs and interests of the residents of the station’s community. This was known as the Main Studio Rule, which was recently voted down by the Federal Communications Commission in a 3-2 vote. Some stations and associations are applauding the action, saying advances in technology have made the rule outdated. Others are taking a stand—vowing to remain live and local.
Where do listeners stand? Do they even notice a difference?
Let’s take a moment to compare a few more live and personalized experiences:
- You like dancing at a wedding or event with a great DJ, but you might feel a very different vibe when there’s a live band.
- Of course, you enjoy listening to your favorite artists’ albums. But you probably also spend hundreds of dollars going to see them live in concert.
- No matter how great a movie is, watching a screen will never be the same as going to a Broadway show.
Why is this exactly? Because there’s a different energy to a live performance. There’s a synergy created between the one producing and the one enjoying and participating in it, together creating an experience.
You might argue that radio is different, because the radio personality and listeners aren’t all in the same room. But consider the following.
3 Things You Sacrifice When You Lose Live, Local Talent
1. A Genuine, Local Feel
Real, on-air personalities connect with their audiences. They also know their particular market. That means they’re experiencing the same weather as their listeners. They can relate to (and react to) the traffic, local events, news, community concerns, and more. And they’re around the same local businesses.
2. A Level of Trust
We already know that radio personalities can help persuade and influence listeners. More than 50% of listeners are influenced not only by their favorite personality’s opinion, but will consider or purchase products advertised during their show. Radio personalities also draw listeners. More than 70% of listeners say they turn on the radio because their favorite personality is on the air. A similar percentage will talk to their friends about their favorite personality and what they heard on their programs.
This is important for local businesses across industries. As one example, in a 2014 RAB study focused on healthcare, those who are influenced by radio advertising showed a 55% increase in trust in a healthcare or medical product or service based on local personalities’ testimonials.
3. The Magic of “Live”
As we explored above, there’s a big difference between experiencing something live versus recorded. Someone discussing timely events will connect with their audience on a higher level than a recording of someone in another location and time frame—even if they’re ultimately saying the same thing.
On the radio station’s side of things, there’s a huge distinction between hitting “record” and flipping the “live” switch. Radio personalities know it’s not the same—and sometimes listeners can pick up on that, too.
Radio and television journalist David Spencer noted, “Radio needs to be live to create the magic. I have voice-tracked many shows over the years and despite my best efforts, they never have the same feel as live radio. I also think the listener notices.”
Don’t Lose Out on the Live and Local Difference
Some radio stations may save money by following the pre-recorded trend. But ultimately, it’s advertisers and listeners alike who will lose several important benefits. At Hubbard Chicago, we use top local talent to spread your message at scale but with the power of local media and content. We know the power of radio—and we won’t budget on live and local.
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