Social Media Driven Content – a Radio Success Story!

Co-Founder and Insights Director

Social media have changed forever how we connect and communicate at all levels of our life, work and society. Though still a wild-west territory for traditional media and marketing, with well-publicised misfires and below-the-radar success stories.

Print is in fundamental upheaval, while radio as the original interactive, mobile, “wireless” medium has been presented with countless opportunities to regenerate itself (again!), by using these shiny, new tools to connect with your listeners, and drive fresh content.

Leon Byner, long-time presenter of dmg’s FIVEaa morning talk show in Adelaide, is breaking new ground, intensively harnessing the power of social media to source and support his content.

Leon’s 10+ shares are trending 13.8%, 15.7%, 14.6% (#1), 16% (#1), currently 3.1% clear of the next ranked station. And while ratings success in talk radio is multi-faceted, at the very least, this trend runs in parallel with the growth of nearly 6,000 Likes for his Don’t Sell Australia Short Facebook page since January 2011.



His story provides practical insight, no matter what your format or size of market. The tools are CFO-proof. They’re essentially free – the only cost being your dedicated full-time commitment, and desire to win.

“Just being on air now, is not enough! Social media are crucial to being part of the community, and used correctly, a powerful adjunct in the armoury of awareness.

They are now an integral part of the content commitment, and replace the scouring of newspapers, while also a great research tool on terms of what's on people’s minds.

There were, for example, a lot of comments predicting the negative impact of the carbon tax. People said ‘it should have been called a carbon pollution tax'. An obvious marketing point, totally under the radar of the Feds. Or the inadequacy of a bus service, anti social behaviours in public housing – all features spoken about extensively on Facebook.

Social media have made everyone a publisher. People are now empowered to seek clarity, opinion and fact. Ray Finkelstein said in his media enquiry that many people were too naive to figure out what's fact and what isn't. He was talking about newspapers. Most people now get their information by listening, viewing or Googling.

In my view, if you have a job where you wish to engage the public, you must use Social Media as a part of the content template. There's a proviso though, you need to be on the case daily. You will get a feel for issues and subjects in a way you can't from callers. There’s a kind of truth serum with this – no caller nerves, no putting your foot in your mouth. At a keyboard there's a greater confidence you can say your piece. And there's a probability you will get information on a subject that can give you valuable info -a toolkit if you like.

In music formats again, social media can be a very valuable tool in getting to your demographic. I put up a lot of reports on Don't Sell Australia Short. This content elicits great response from all ages, and generates leads for show topics. Once people understand you give a damn, and in a practical way, and are prepared to engage, you set yourself apart from the waxing eloquent who go out for lunch or dinner after a shift, and don't give what they did a second thought.

In the end there are no secrets to success. It’s simple -active listener engagement drives content, which in turn drives ratings and revenue”.

Leon says he runs on 2 mobiles and an iPad, with all constantly accessible throughout his show, checking updates during ad-breaks, and even during interviews to generate questions!

Don’t Sell Australia Short is a smart way to provide an emotive, durable (non-dating) platform for listener engagement. I suggest you go to the page, Like it to get the News Feed and see it in action.

Music stations can just as easily use an umbrella theme that people care about – it doesn’t have to be serious, it could be entertainment-related.

The main point is to create your own creative, individual method of committing yourself to 24/7, one-to-one engagement with your listeners.



Eriks Celmins is Managing Director of Third Wave Media, Adelaide-based consultant for media research, strategy and content.


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